Warren Thompson was looking for a good workhorse. He had no particular gender or age in mind, mare, gelding, colt, just a good horse to enjoy riding and competing.
He approached Terry Hall who mentioned he had a weaner colt by Conman out of Hazelwood Chiquita Acres, a cutting mare successfully shown by Allan & Brooke Spencer from Rolleston. Terry explained who the colt was and what he thought his strengths were genetically. He then casually mentioned that he was running with a brown colt and the colt was always trying to bite him, but when he went to bite him he was never there.
This remark intrigued Warren and he bought the colt, unseen. He figured if his reflexes and agility were such that Terry would mention such a paddock trait, then this was his horse. Quick, mobile and athletic and Warren is happy to say Terry was right, the horse was all of this and more.
Warren was also intrigued by the name. Terry once again explained that it was a simple choice, he was by Conman and that he would be “a picture to watch”. Hence, Conman and an artist, Hazelwood Con Artist.
Warren took his youngster home with a plan to have him broken and then geld him. When ready, he had him broken by Adam Knowles and then brought him home. He thought he’d have a ride on him before letting him go and this one ride changed Con Artist’s life. Immediately Warren recognised his potential and then, after a second ride, gelding him was off the agenda. He knew immediately he had a top colt on his hands.
After a short break, Con Artist spent three solid years in and out of Warren’s mustering team. Plenty of hard work, long days and sweaty saddlecloths were the making of Con Artist. Warren insists he has a big motor and he needs to use it and this hard work as a young colt put his mind in the right place. He is a horse that still needs work and is at his best when he is happy and working.
Hazelwood Con Artist started his competition career in September, 2013, when Warren started him at Manumbar, running 2nd in the Maiden. Then in 2014 he made the decision that to become the stallion he was capable of being, he needed exposure and a bigger competition calendar.
Steve Comiskey was approached to be his regular rider and the partnership has already produced outstanding results. Con Artist broke his Maiden with a win in the Feature Novice at Clarke Creek in 2015 and followed up with a win in the Stallion Draft and Champion of Champions at Paradise the same year.
Con Artist returned to Paradise in 2018 with Warren and placed runner-up after a very tightly contested final with only one point separating first and second.