Annie Higgins Does Family Proud in Gr.1 Waikato Time Gold Cup

Some unfortunate circumstances and a timely show of personality played their part in well-known racing and breeding identity Marie Leicester retaining an O’Reilly filly out of Diva Belle that she had bred who, named Annie Higgins (NZ), provided Group Three glory for her owner with a win in the Waikato Times Gold Cup at Te Rapa.
“I had her entered in the yearling sales at Karaka and was taking a look at her in the paddock at Haunui Farm when she just stood there and kept giving me this look that said sell me at your peril,” explained Leicester. “I said half-jokingly to Mark Chitty that we might have to pull her out of the sale because I just couldn’t get that look out of my head.

“Ron Chitty and Mark and I were in Australia looking at stallions when Mark got the call that Diva Belle had died while foaling an O’Reilly colt so we immediately withdrew the filly from the sales and the rest, as they say, is history
Leicester inherited her passion for thoroughbreds from her parents James and Annie Sarten who became involved in breeding back in the 1930’s.

There certainly was something special about the filly as Leicester also abandoned a family tradition to bestow a very special moniker on her.
“Annie Higgins was my mother’s maiden name and as I was looking for an Irish name for the filly you really couldn’t get more Irish than that,” said Leicester. “It was the first time we had named a filly with something other than Belle in the title so she really was something special from the start.”

All told, Annie Higgins has now won five starts from 1200m – 2400m, and beyond counting the Gr.3 Waikato Times Gold Cup, is strongly represented by her success in the Listed ARC Sunline Vase also.

Story by NZTM

Recent News
7 June 2023


Well, I attended the recent Entain presentation on their way forward. In essence, it is simply that they will do it better. Their technology, we are told, is the best, sad about the platform that …

Read More
6 June 2023

Smart ride brings out best in Tivaci’s son

A canny ride from Billy Egan guided the well-bred Do I to a second career victory when he wassuccessful at Seymour on Tuesday afternoon. The Michael Moroney-trained four-year-old settled three back on the fence and …

Read More