Stanley's double shot at Metropolitan Pace 'Pie'

Respected Woolsthorpe breeder-owner Ian Stanley and his son Michael have qualified two runners - Exotic Bushranger and Ubetcha Tigerpie - for the $25,000 Sulky.App-The Future Of Form Metropolitan Pace Final (2240 metres) at Melton on Saturday night.

Harness Racing at Melton.
Harness Racing at Melton. Picture: HRV

However, the father-son combination is undecided as to which is their best chance of lifting the trophy.

"Ubetcha Tigerpie has done a great job but Exotic Bushranger's only had seven starts for four wins and a third," Ian said.

Exotic Bushranger, a four-year-old entire by Pet Rock, finished brilliantly along the passing lane to capture the opening heat of the series last weekend, while the five-year-old Ubetcha Tigerpie (by Betting Line) led and was nabbed in the shadows of the post in the final heat.

On the score of race experience, Ubetcha Tigerpie has a distinct advantage over his younger stablemate, however Exotic Bushranger has the more favourable barrier draw with the No. 3 gate with Ubetcha Tigerpie starting from No. 9.

Both are the products of a carefully planned, well managed breeding program devised by Ian Stanley, a Harness Breeders Victoria committeeman, more than 20 years ago.

Exotic Bushranger's dam Smiley Ella is a daughter of Exotic Strike, one of the best horses raced by Stanley.

"I bought Exotic Strike at the Victorian yearling sales for $5,000.  She won the Australian Pacing Gold final and ran third in the Breeders Crown in the same year. It's been a great family for me," Ian said.

"Exotic Strike passed away a few years ago but I'm breeding from Smiley Ella, a Falcon Seelster mare named Exotic Peregrine and the Shadow Play mare Exotic Shadow. I've also got a granddaughter of Exotic Strike called Exotic Diamond who is a full sister to Exotic Bushranger."

Smiley Ella also ranks as the dam of the brilliant but ill-fated Ellas Puppeteer, who won six of his 14 starts and clocked a then Victorian mile record of 1:52.8.

Another daughter of Exotic Strike to breed on successfully was Exotic Angel, whose only foal is The Shallows, a winner of 24 races including the Tasmania Cup and Easter Cup and $280,939.

Ubetcha Tigerpie is a grandson of another of Stanley's foundation mares, Victoria Street.

"I bought her at the sales with a mate of mine Chris Bird, a Richmond supporter. Victoria Street is the boundary between Collingwood and Richmond. She unfortunately had crook stifles and never raced," Ian stated.

Victoria Street's first foal is Blucolla Tigerpie (by Union Guy), a winner of feature events in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania and now the dam of Ubetcha Tigerpie and Surfsup Tigerpie.

Apart from Blucolla Tigerpie, Stanley is also breeding from her close relative Rockonby Tigerpie, a full sister to this year's Hobart Pacing Cup winner Rackemup Tigerpie.

"Rockonbye Tigerpie won three of her 11 starts and had a lot of ability but had a few breathing troubles," Ian said. "She's gone to the breeding barn and I've bred a couple out of her."

The Somebeachsomewhere horse Soho Lanikai, who stands at Michael Stanley's Burrumbeet property, sired three qualifiers from his first crop as two-year-olds at the Maryborough trials last SundayThe 'Pacing Priest' Father Brian Glasheen bred and races the three-year-old filly Fearless Writer, an impressive winner at only her third start at HorshamBest Deal (by American Ideal), who was bred by Maryborough enthusiast Peter 'Group One' Gleeson and Bruce and Craig Cameron, was a runaway winner of the Tasmanian Sires Produce at Hobart