Mercedes Breeder of the Year Finalists announced

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has announced the four finalists for this year's Mercedes Breeder of the Year award. They are Garry Chittick, the Dennis Brothers, Fayette Park Stud Ltd, and Don & Rochelle McLaren Ltd.

The finalists are chosen from nominations made by the NZTBA Council & Branches. The eleven members of the NZTBA Council vote in a secret ballot to decide the finalists & the winner.

The award was first made in 1991 when it was won by Jeanette Broome, breeder that year of the Aintree Grand National hero Seagram. Subsequent winners and the major performers they bred have been:

1992 Highview Stud (Let's Elope)
1993 Garry Chittick (Kinjite, Slight Chance)
1994 The Dennis Brothers (The Phantom, The Phantom Chance)
1995 Patrick & Justine Hogan(Octagonal, Isolda)
1996 Patrick & Justine Hogan(Octagonal, Marquise)
1997 Patrick & Justine Hogan(Octagonal, Mouawad, Millward)
1998 Windsor Park Stud Ltd
(Might And Power, Catalan Opening)
1999 Susan Archer & Michael Martin(Sunline)
2000 Peter & Philip Vela (Allez Suez, Grand Echezeaux, Sarwatch)
2001 Windsor Park Stud Ltd (Coco Cobanna, Smiling Like, Star Satire)
2002 Peter & Philip Vela (Ethereal, Vapour Trail)

This year's finalists, with their major 2002-03 performers, are:

Waikato Stud, Matamata

Nominated by: NZTBA Waikato Branch

It has been a particularly satisfying year for Garry as the breeder of Group One winner Critic and a remarkable eight other Group & Listed stakeswinners. Furthermore, all but one of these horses are by stallions that stand at the Chittick family's Waikato Stud. Garry can take special pride in the success of 1997 New Zealand Horse of the Year O'Reilly: bred at Waikato Stud, raced by Garry and now one of New Zealand's leading sires.

Waikato Stud was also one of the top 15 leading vendors at Australasian yearling sales in 2003, with 58 yearlings sold for a total of $A2.7 million.

Garry and his family owned and operated Thornton Park Stud in the Wairarapa and Manawatu regions for almost twenty years until they purchased Waikato Stud in 1994. Garry won the New Zealand Breeder of the Year title in 1993 and was a finalist in 2002.

CRITIC (1997 m. Centaine-Benazir)
1st OMRC Otaki Maori WFA 1400m G1
1st RRC Rotorua S. 1400m LR
2nd Cambridge JC Travis S. 1600m G2
2nd BoPRC Japan/New Zealand Trophy 1600m G2

RARE INSIGHT (1999 f. O'Reilly-Escada)
1st AJC Stan Fox S. 1400m G2
3rd STC Research S. 1200m G3

CENTURY KID (1996 g. Centaine-Zeffi)
1st STC Premiere S. 1200m G2
1st MRC Kevin Heffernan S. 1200m LR
2nd STC Civic S. 1400m LR
3rd STC Concorde S. 1100m G3

SYLVANER (1997 m. Danasinga-Isla Bijou)
1st SAJC Marsh Classic 1600m G2
1st SAJC Pope Packaging S. 1600m LR

DANZIGA (1999 c. Danasinga-Khairleigh)
1st Vaal Graham Beck S. (South Africa) 1300m G3

SCAREDEE CAT (2000 c. Tale Of The Cat-Last Lady)
1st MRC Debutant S. 900m LR
3rd MRC Blue Diamond Prelude 1100m G3

FORUM FLOOZIE (1998 m. Danasinga-Flying Floozie)
1st AJC Wiggle S. 1400m LR

RIVER CHANT (1997 m. Danasinga-Crash Course)
1st BoPRC Tauranga Classic 1400m LR

DANASAR (1997 g. Danasinga-Tasman Dancer)
1st MRC Flying H. 1200m LR

Woodlands, Southland

Nominated by: NZTBA Wellington Branch

The Dennis brothers' success story cannot be separated from the marvellous female family they've worked with for the best part of forty years. Their latest stars, New Zealand 1000 Guineas G1 winner The Jewel and Group 2 winner Star Affair, are great-grand-daughters of the brothers' amazing foundation mare The Pixie. She appears in the female line of ten Group & Listed stakeswinners, including five Group One winners: The Twinkle; champion three-year-old The Phantom Chance; 1994 New Zealand Horse of the Year The Phantom; Irish Chance; and now The Jewel.

The Grin is clearly maintaining the family's tradition of fine racemares that become very good broodmares. And let's not forget The Son (Noble Bijou-The Twinkle), sire of this year's Wellington Cup G1 winner Oarsman from a 1997 crop of only nine foals!

Ray, Tony, Joe & Martin won this award in 1994 and were also finalists in 1993. Nine years later they're still proving that racetrack success at the highest level is still possible from a relatively modest base in heartland New Zealand.

THE JEWEL (1999 f. O'Reilly-The Grin)
1st CJC New Zealand 1000 Guineas 1600m G1
1st BTC Doomben Roses S. 2020m G3
1st ORC Dunedin Guineas 1600m LR
1st Southland Guineas 1600m LR
2nd WRC New Zealand Oaks 2400m G1
2nd CJC New Zealand 2000 Guineas 1600m G1
2nd QTC Queensland Oaks 2400m G1
3rd CJC Canterbury Belle S. 1200m LR

STAR AFFAIR (1998 m. Star Way-The Grin)
1st Cambridge JC Travis S. 1600m G2
3rd Gosford RC Gosford Gold Cup 2100m G3

Tirau, Waikato

Nominated by: NZTBA Waikato Branch

Three horses, all foaled in 1997, have given Fayette Park Stud a magical Group One season in 2002-03. However, there's been plenty of magic at Fayette Park for some time now, most of it generated by David & Masey Benjamin and their family. Excellence has long been their guiding principle whether in stallion marketing, yearling presentation, racetrack performance or their famous hospitality. That their outstanding contribution to the New Zealand industry should include a season as remarkable as this one is hardly surprising.

David & Masey began work in the New Zealand thoroughbred industry at Blandford Lodge about 30 years ago, set up Fieldhouse Stud in the early 1980s and established Fayette Park Stud in 1988. The Benjamins were also finalists for this award in 2001.

ELEVENSES (1997 m. Star Way-Celtic Joy)
1st equal WRC Captain Cook S. 1600m G1
3rd Waikato RC Travis S. 1600m G2
3rd Egmont RC Fayette Park S. 1400m G3

HAIL (1997 g. Stark South-Valley Court)
1st ARC Zabeel Classic 2000m G1
1st MRC Sandown Classic 2400m G2
2nd HBR Challenge S. 1600m G2
3rd HBRI Kelt Capital S. 2040m G1
3rd Manawatu RC Manawatu Challenge S. 1400m G3
3rd Cranbourne Cup 2025m LR

BODIE (1997 g. Stark South-Ballina Wave)
Bred in partnership with Kevin Mischefski:

1st ARC Auckland Cup 3200m G1
1st RRC Rotorua Challenge Plate 1900m G3

D.G. (Don) & R.B. (Rochelle) McLAREN LTD, Northfields Stud, Auckland
Nominated by: NZTBA Auckland Branch

A trio of 1997 foals from the McLarens' relatively small but select broodmare band has given Don & Rochelle a memorable season in 2002-03: a total of 13 black-type performances by two Group winners and a Group One placegetter.

Piachay capped the year with victory in the Group One Brisbane Cup, while Millennium and Jetski twice nearly pulled off a Group race quinella for their breeders. Jetski ran fourth in Millennium's Japan/New Zealand Trophy G2, and three weeks later the pair filled the placings, a long neck and a half-head behind Sedecrem, in a hard-fought Easter Handicap G1 at Ellerslie.

The McLarens have bred and raced thoroughbreds for more than 25 years and count Australian Group One winner Flitter among their previous successes. This is the first time they have been finalists for this award.

PIACHAY (1997 g. Danasinga-Pleasure)
1st QTC Brisbane Cup 3200m G1
2nd AJC The Metropolitan H. 2400m G1
3rd Gold Coast TC Prime Minister's Cup 2400m G2
3rd VRC Saab H. 2500m G2

MILLENNIUM (1997 g. Prized-Royal Med)
1st BoPRC Japan/New Zealand Trophy 1600m G2
2nd BoPRC Tauranga S. 1600m G3
3rd ARC Easter H. 1600m G1
3rd ARC Lindauer Grandeur S. 2000m G3
3rd Waikato RC Foxbridge Plate 1400m LR
3rd Feilding JC Feilding Hotel Anzac H. 1600m LR

Jetski (1997 g. Jetball-Making Waves)
2nd ARC Easter H. 1600m G1
2nd CRC Metric Mile 1600m LR
3rd CRC Counties Cup 2100m G2



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