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Breeders vie for prestigious national title

The 2004 Mercedes New Zealand Breeder of the Year will be announced at this evening's NZ Thoroughbred Racing Awards dinner in Auckland. The winner is decided by a secret ballot of NZTBA councillors who consider the relative merits of four finalists:

Garry Chittick, Waikato Stud, Matamata
Garry, who owns and operates Waikato Stud with his wife Mary, son Mark & daughter-in-law Lisa, is this season's leading New Zealand breeder of Australian Group & Listed Stakeswinners with five individual black type winners. Dual Group One winner Starcraft was an undoubted star, winning the Australian Derby G1 and Chipping Norton S. G1 in most impressive fashion. He was named Australian Champion Three-Year-Old earlier this month.

Starcraft was supported by Melbourne Group 2 winners Sylvaner and Scaredee Cat, and the stakeswinners Rule Of Engagement and Plaudits. Starcraft's half-sister Forum Floozie must be considered unlucky not to be among that group, with no fewer than six Group & Listed Stakes placings to her name this season.

In New Zealand Garry was responsible for stakes-placed two-year-old Prickle, Pin High and Magic Pins, all by Waikato Stud's own young sire Pins (AUS), and older stakes-placed performers Baileys On Ice and Danamac. In the sale-ring Waikato Stud sold 51 yearlings at an average price of just over $71,000, achieving a top price of $410,000 for the Zabeel-Jacqwin filly at the New Zealand Premier Sale.

Garry won this award in 1993 and was a finalist in 2002 and 2003.


Haunui Farm, Auckland
Founded in 1955 by Geoff and Peg Chitty, and now operated by Ron and Carolyn Chitty with their son Mark, Haunui Farm is a first-time finalist for this award.

The very good staying mare Legible heads Haunui's list of 2003-04 stakeswinners with her victory in the rich Sandown Classic G2 in Melbourne. She's supported by a trio of Group 3 winners, Natural Woman (also fourth in the Queensland Oaks G1), Pacific Dancer and Ascending, and Melbourne SW Regent Street. Wonderful stayer Ebony Honor added an amazing eighth Group One placing to his 56-start, five-season record.

The sale-ring was also a source of success for Haunui Farm in 2004. The Zabeel-Waihora's Lass filly made $600,000 at the New Zealand Premier Sale, and in all the stud sold 49 yearlings in Australasia for an average of almost $73,000.

Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan, Cambridge Stud, Cambridge
Already three-time winners of this award in the mid-1990s, the Hogans' stage was bigger than ever last season, with major stakeswinners in Hong Kong, South Africa and Malaysia, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Their headliners were Hong Kong champion miler Lucky Owners, and Upsetthym & Galway Lass, responsible for a memorable quinella in the Auckland Cup G1.

The contribution to New Zealand breeding of the Stud's champion sire Zabeel was once again immense, with Greys Inn, Reset, Vouvray and Unearthly boosting his tally of Group One winners to twenty-eight. In the top five on the Australian Sires' list for the eighth time in the past decade, Zabeel claims his ninth Dewar Stallion Trophy, equalling the record of his own sire Sir Tristram (IRE).

Cambridge Stud also stands last season's leading New Zealand first-crop sire Stravinsky (USA), and can take pride in making the new European sire sensation Cape Cross (IRE) available to New Zealand breeders for four seasons.

Once again, the Stud headed the list of New Zealand Premier Sale vendors by aggregate, selling 46 lots for a total of $7.4 million. This season a total of 77 yearlings were sold under the Cambridge Stud banner throughout Australasia, achieving an average price of more than $151,000.

Jo Wilding, Te Mania Thoroughbreds, Canterbury
For the second time in seven years, descendants of Jo's wonderful broodmare Gone With The Wind, purchased in 1975, have put her among the finalists for this award. Jo was also a finalist in 1998.

This time Gone With The Wind's two daughters, Impossible Dream and Proteaceae, and her grand-daughter Sweetliner are responsible for Jo's four stakes performers. The group is headed by six-year-old Surprize Surprize who became the second Group One winner descended from Gone With The Wind, after Zonda. She was joined by her stakes-winning sister Uprize, while foreign-based Palette Natural (Hong Kong) and Sweet Thunder (Australia) added international black type to the family's record.

A long-time New Zealand sale vendor, Jo sold four yearlings at Karaka this year under the Te Mania banner, achieving an average of just over $53,000 and a top price of $65,000 for the Carnegie (IRE)-Whey To Go colt.


- Susan Archer