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Dick Karreman on the Breeder of the Year shortlist

For the first time in the award's history, the New Zealand Breeder of the Year award could go to an Australian.

Queenslander Dick Karreman has made the shortlist of four finalists for the award, and if he wins he will take the award outside New Zealand for the first time in its 17-year history.

To do it, however, he will need to defeat a four-time winner of the award (Sir Patrick and Justine Hogan), a three-time winner (Garry Chittick) and a small breeder who from a broodmare band of 10 last season produced group winners in Hong Kong and Australia (Tom Jamison).

"That would make it a year and a half," Karreman says.
In normal circumstances some may question whether an Australian winner of the award is a good thing. But in Karreman's case there can be no doubting his commitment to the New Zealand industry.

He paid a very good sum to buy The Oaks Stud in Cambridge from Terry Jarvis in 2002, and he has invested a substantial amount into it since. And he's done it while having almost no horses in his own country.

"I think we have one horse being trained by Bevan Laming up here in Queensland and another in Victoria, but that's it really,'' he said.

"I wouldn't want to have my horses anywhere other than New Zealand. It's the only place to grow horses – and it rains! We hardly get any rain here and it doesn't do much for raising horses.

"I told an interviewer that my aim when buying The Oaks was to breed group one winners, and I think New Zealand is the place to do it."

The 2006-07 season has been a very good one for Karreman. He's bred three black type winners, who have won in three different countries.

Unlike his co-finalists, Karreman bred a group winner in Japan in the past 12 months – Roc De Cambres, winner of the Radio Nikkei Sho (G3-1800m) in July. He also bred Keep The Passion, winner of the Royal Stakes (G2-2000m) at Ellerslie.
But his greatest moments have come with the outstanding mare Seachange, a strong contender for Horse of the Year. She was the dominant horse of the Hastings spring carnival, winning the Mudgway Stakes (G1-1400m) and the Stoney Bridge Stakes (G1-1600m), and unlike her Horse of the Year rivals she had group one form in Melbourne, running second in two group one weight-for-age events there.

"She is just sensational and I know we have been very fortunate to have the mare that we do," Karreman said.

Adding to the season has been three black type placegetters – Chant, Keepa Cruisin and Diamond Deck, the latter of whom has great hopes held for her this season.
Karreman, however, says he doesn't deserve too much kudos for the nomination.
"All of the credit has to go to my stud manager Rick Williams," he said.

"I am the supplier of the cash and I am also delighted to be able to be part of Rick's fulfillment of his dream. He's had the skills and knowledge and he's now got the capital and wherewithal to help him achieve that.

"I feel the results are starting to show what he can achieve."

Karreman also had a good year with one horse he didn't breed. He was one of the partners in the million dollar yearling Darci Brahma, who became worth millions more after a successful racing career which brought him five group one wins, one of them in Queensland. Now he is able to stand him at The Oaks Stud at a $30,000 fee, and he is already heavily booked.

"He's a great horse to have," Karreman said. "But I'm also excited at the way the first crop of Spartacus are going at the trials, and at how the Bachelor Dukes are selling in France."

Karreman says his biggest decision now is whether to attend the Mercedes Awards himself. "As of the moment I'm staying here, but by the weekend I'll be thinking about it and probably by Thursday morning next week I'll be looking for a flight."


- Alastair Bull