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New Zealand breeders don't apologise for winning!

With sixteen Group One wins in Australia this season New Zealand breeders have every right to be unapologetic about breeding classic stayers.

Twelve of those 16 wins, including Pantani's South Australian Derby last Saturday, have been at 2000 metres or beyond. And they've been worth a cool $A8.7 million to the winning owners, trainers and jockeys.

Horses that take time to mature and distance to show their best are a challenge for breeders and for owners. Breeders must face the reality of a marketplace that in general prefers precocious speed horses, and tends to discount later-maturing types and stamina-oriented pedigrees. Owners have to be prepared for the additional cost, risk and time it takes to develop classic, Cup and weight-for-age horses.

Yet New Zealand's reputation as a thoroughbred nursery is based on exactly these horses. Sunline, whose three Australian Group One wins this season have been at 1500m and 1600m, is exceptional in this respect as in so many others. Of the nine Kiwi-bred Australian Horses of the Year since 1982-83, Sunline is the only one that has not won a Group One race at 2400 metres or further. (For the record the other eight are Gurner's Lane, Red Anchor, Bonecrusher, Let's Elope, Veandercross, Octagonal and Might And Power.)

So we've bred only a couple of Golden Slipper winners (Marauding and Courtza), and our list of top-class sprinters is not a long one. Australia produces enough outstanding two-year-olds and sprinters to satisfy anyone.

In a season which has so far seen New Zealand-breds win the Melbourne, Caulfield and Sydney Cups, four Derbys, the Rosehill Guineas, the MacKinnon, Metropolitan, BMW and Arrowfield Stud Stakes New Zealand breeders hardly need to apologise for what they haven't achieved!

For an interesting article by John Sparkman of the Thoroughbred Times, USA, about the value of horses that stay, go here: Racing needs horses that stay



- Susan Archer