Life doesn't get better than it is for the Whitelock family this week. And it's anchored on those staples of Kiwi life - rugby, racing and beer.

Last Saturday, Braeden and Caroline Whitelock's horse Dancing Diamonds won the $200,000 yearling sales fillies' classic on a protest after crossing the line second.

It was the horse's eighth win and brought her earnings to $331,000.

Proudly looking on at Addington with their parents were Crusaders players George, Sam, Adam and Luke.


Tomorrow the beams will be on the faces of mum and dad when their four sons take the field together for the Crusaders for the first time.

All four are in the starting 15 for the preseason match against the Hurricanes at Mangatainoka, 25 minutes from the Whitelocks' Manawatu dairy farm and close to the Tui brewery.

The family connection tomorrow extends even further - their cousin, hooker Ben Funnell, is on the bench for the Crusaders.

When they put their heads together after training yesterday, the Whitelock boys worked out that the last time they had played together was in 2004 for the Feilding High School hostel against the day boys. Oldest brother George was a seventh former and baby Luke a third former.

"It was a pretty awesome game," recalled Adam. "Luke was only a third former but we'd run around and thrown the ball around with each other on the back field so knew what each other was going to do."

George said tomorrow would be "pretty cool for mum and dad", but not something he'd ever imagined when he came to Canterbury.

Coach Todd Blackadder was more blase about this piece of footie history.

"It's probably quite nice for them and really nice for their family, but us, we don't really look at it like that, we've got a real team focus. It's sold out, I think, which is fantastic, isn't it?"

The four brothers were probably happier than anyone in the squad to return to training this year. When they went home for Christmas, dad had them all doing the milking.