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2012 New Zealand Breeder of the Year finalists announced

Last year's NZ Breeder of the Year Piper Farm is once again a finalist for Breeder of the Year at this year's NZTR Awards to be held in Hamilton on September 12th.

The other three finalists are Karreman Bloodstock, Llannehock Trust, and Colin and John Thompson.

Karreman Bloodstock has featured as a nominee for this award in the past and this year they have been represented by a host of stakes winners coming from their fine band of broodmares, and by a variety of stallions not just those standing at Dick Karreman's stud, The Oaks.

These include Artistic, Single Minded, Zurella and Innovation who race in the familiar white and blue colours of Karreman Bloodstock, along with Platinum Princess and Shuka.

They experienced group one glory with Artistic (Darci Brahma – Artless) when she won the New Zealand Oaks, beating her stable and paddock mate Zurella (Zabeel –Doneze Girl). As well as her group one victory, Artistic also took out the listed SunlineVase and Bonecrusher Stakes, and was group three placed twice.

Zurella may have missed out on a group one win but scored at both group two and three level winning the Sir Tristram Fillies Classic and the Eulogy Stakes. The Bachelor Duke (USA) gelding Single Minded (ex Capacity) had won one race when he commenced his 2011-12 season last November, by March he had won four more races including the group two Queen Elizabeth Handicap and the Avondale Cup.

The Keeper (AUS) mare Innovation (ex Miss Grosvenor) was a maiden at the start of the season and by the end had won five races including the listed Tauranga Classic. Also to carry the Karreman colours with pride and success was Smoulder (Traditionally [USA]- Flying Firebird) who was placed in the group two Rich Hill Mile. She was also second in the listed Seymour Cup behind another Karreman Bloodstock graduate, the Keeper gelding Tiakinui (ex Avelina).

Another of the progeny of Keeper, Platinum Princess(ex Merle Park) gained group two success in the Churchill Stakes, while the Bachelor Duke gelding Shuka showed good ability in three-year-old company winning the listed John Grigg Stakes, and placing in the group two Avondale Guineas and Championship Stakes.

Other stakes performing representatives bred by Karreman Bloodstock and the team at The Oaks include Windwhistle (Traditionally – Ultra Vires), Westsouthwest (Darci Brahma-Southern Sunset), About the Journey (Darci Brahma – Dominant) and Sweet Suitor (Bachelor Duke-Holy Honey).

The deeds of a New Zealand-bred at Royal Ascot have catapulted Llannehock Trust into contention for the Breeder of the Year Award. Little Bridge (NZ) (Faltaat[USA] – Golden Rose) became the first New Zealand-bred thoroughbred to win a Group One race at Royal Ascot by winning the King's Stand Stakes.

The six-year-old gelding is also the reigning Hong Kong sprinter of the year, after winning the group two Sprint Cup, International Sprint Trial, and the group three Bauhina Sprint Trophy. He was also second in the group two Premier Bowl.

As relative newcomers to the breeding industry, Llannehock Trust - the Hawkins Family - own Wentwood Grange, a breeding and agistment property just south of Cambridge where their broodmare band of approximately 35 mares reside.

Besides Little Bridge, they have been represented in the past season by At The Heads (Hussonet[AUS]-The Quarewan[AUS]) who won the listed Chester Manifold Stakes, and the stakes placed runners Perfect Katch (Perfectly Ready[AUS] –Al Katcha[AUS]) and Tropical Punch (Faltaat – Ko Hula Beach[AUS]).

Thanks to the deeds of international group one winner So You Think (High Chaparral[IRE]- Triassic) Piper Farm(Alex and Cecile Smith) is once again a finalist for this prestigious award. Alex and Cecile Smith bred So You Think in partnership with Michael Moran.

During the past season So You Think won three group one races; the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, a repeat of his Curragh Tattersalls Gold Cup, and his Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot in his final race appearance before being retired to stud.

As well, the Smith's Tights (USA) mare Triassic also left the group three Carbine Club Stakes place getter Now You Know by Elusive City (USA).

The final nominee is the father and son partnership of Colin and John Thompson who bred the super racehorse Mufhasa (Pentire[GB]- Sheila Cheval), a previous Horse of the Year and twice awarded Sprinter of the Year.

In the past season the sensational son of Pentire, who stands at the Thompson's Rich Hill Stud, won a further four group one races - two in New Zealand and two in Australia.

He won the Futurity Stakes, Toorak Handicap, Captain Cook Stakes, and the Hawkes Bay Challenge, as well as running second in the group one Waikato Sprint, and Horlicks Plate, and the group three Thames Valley Stakes.

The Thompson's were also represented this season by Shahbab (Bertolini[USA]-Shariat) who was third in the listed Arawa Stakes.


- Michelle Saba