Coveted stallion service on offer to support spinal cord research

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Microphone

A service to one of Australia’s most sought-after stallions will be on offer in the 2020 edition of the New Zealand Bloodstock Weanling Sale. The annual auction, this year operated online due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, will include a service to Darley stallion Microphone to be sold on behalf of the CatWalk Trust.

A son of Exceed and Excel, Microphone was Champion two-year-old of his year and delivered an exceptional performance to win the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) after finishing runner-up in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m). Standing at Kelvinside, Darley’s New South Wales property, Microphone will make his debut season at stud this year at a fee of A$38,500 and is already fully booked.

The service, to be sold via gavelhouse.com’s new platform Gavelhouse Plus, is the only remaining chance for breeders to secure a spot this season to the exciting young sire. “Sheikh Mohammed and Darley are delighted to offer the last nomination in Microphone which will be sold on behalf of the CatWalk foundation as part of the NZB weanling sale,” Darley head of sales Alastair Pulford said.

“CatWalk raises funds that go directly to spinal research and this has to be a cause close to the heart of anyone that works with these magnificent animals.” “They are big picture people who work for big picture results. It’s not just about one person, it’s about thousands of people. People you and I know. They want to get them out of their wheelchairs and back on their feet.”

Established in 2005 by Little Avondale Stud’s Catriona Williams MNZM, the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust funds research that aims to fix paralysis following spinal cord injury. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of spinal cord injury in the western world and CatWalk has made significant financial contributions to research in the area and helped build awareness and raise funds through events and fundraisers.

As well as funding world-class research in New Zealand,CatWalk has committed A$600,000 to NeuRA in 2020 for a collaborative project with SpinalCure Australia to further develop neurostimulation treatments for people with spinal cord injury. Of all promising avenues of research, neuro stimulation has delivered the most compelling results to date – returning significant feeling and function to people who have been paralysed for many years. “The facility is in Sydney, it is cutting edge and they have hand-picked their staff for the project,” CatWalk general manager Meg Speirs said. “The project has got everything in its favour. The research is fabulous and we think it will have quite an immediate impact on both functional improvement and cure.”

Kiwi jockey Maija Vance has personal insight into spinal cord injury and has been involved in raising funds and spreading awareness of CatWalk and the research it supports. Vance broke five vertebrae and was paralysed from the waist down after a race day fall in 2018. Through utter determination and extensive rehabilitation she was able to walk again in 2019 and earlier this year walked to the summit of Mount Maunganui raising over $5,000 for CatWalk.

“I always knew about CatWalk and when I had my accident Catriona reached out to me,” she said. “I had always wanted to do something for them and when I improved enough I got the idea of climbing Mount Maunganui and sharing it around to get people, especially those in the racing industry, to support me and CatWalk. “You don’t realise how important CatWalk is until you or someone you love is in that situation with a spinal cord injury. It just reiterates we need to find a cure.”

“It is great that the thoroughbred industry is backing CatWalk, spinal cord injury can be common in the industry so everyone knows or cares about someone that has had that sort of accident.”

The auction of the service has been a collaboration between several groups and CatWalk are appreciative of the time everyone has committed to the effort. As well as Darley, contributors include New Zealand Bloodstock, gavelhouse.com and popular group Boys Get Paid who assisted with the creation of one of the promotional videos.

“Darley’s recognition and support of the importance of research into spinal cord injury is something we are very appreciative of and excited about,” Williams said. “We are so close to finding a cure and whoever secures the service to Microphone is not just making a donation, they are making a difference to the lives of the many people affected by spinal cord injury.”

The catalogue will launch on New Zealand Bloodstock subsidiary Gavelhouse Plus on June 11 at 5pm and will run through till the final countdown of bids begin on June 21 at 3pm. Bidders are encouraged to create their accounts well in advance so the New Zealand Bloodstock finance team can grant bidding approval.

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