The New Zealand thoroughbred breeding fraternity came together on Saturday night to celebrate a stellar season of elite-level achievements at the Property Brokers National Breeding Awards at Karapiro.
New Zealand breeders produced 35 individual Group One winners across Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand over the past 12 months.
Powerhouse breeders Waikato Stud were awarded the Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan New Zealand Breeder of the Year title for a phenomenal ninth time, but there was a diverse and broad range of breeders that contributed the overwhelming success of the Kiwi-breds this season.
The Seton Otway Horse of the Year was Lucky Sweynesse, with the Hong Kong superstar the highest-rated sprinter in the world. Bred by Paul Dombroski, Luigi Muollo’s Explosive Breeding Ltd and Allan Sharrock, Lucky Sweynesse’ dam Madonna Mia was voted the Eight Carat Broodmare of the Year.
Rich Hill Stud’s boom sire Proisir, who was responsible for five individual Group One winners this season — Legarto, Prowess, Levante, Pier and Dark Destroyer — claimed his first Grosvenor Award as Champion New Zealand Sire.
The mighty Savabeel claimed his eighth Centaine Award for worldwide progeny earnings and seventh Dewar Award for combined Australian and New Zealand progeny earnings.
The headline act for Savabeel this season was outstanding sprinter I Wish I Win, who sports the colours of Waikato Stud and typified the underdog theme of the night.
The four-year-old gelding was born with a well-documented severe knock-kneed deformity that meant he was never a candidate for the commercial sales ring, but he has gone on to be judged by his deeds on the racetrack.
Major Beel, Atishu and Icebath were other top-flight winners this season bred by the Matamata nursery and Waikato Stud’s Mark Chittick acknowledged it was the result of a massive team effort while flanked by members of his family on stage.
“Waikato Stud is a big family and a big group. It takes a whole community to run it and to get the results like we do. I’d love to have everyone (from the stud) up here on stage. It is such an incredible night,” Chittick said.
“Everybody puts in a huge effort and we appreciate it immensely.
“It has been a great year and a great night and when we see the outstanding results of these horse on the big screen, and there are horses from all over the country and breeders from all over the country, it is very heartening.
“I know how much we enjoy and get carried away about winning any race, let alone Group One races and I hope everybody else is as proud breeding horses like that as we certainly are.
“Seeing New Zealand breds winning Doncasters, Derbys and Oaks as well as Group One winning two-year-olds and sprints, man New Zealand is bloody good at it (breeding thoroughbred racehorses) and we should be really, really proud.
“I reckon the equivalent night in Australia might be a pretty short night, because all of the Australian Group One races are up on that big screen.”
The New Zealand Small Breeder of the Year, which is restricted to those with a broodmare band of five or less, was taken out by Tauranga’s Warwick Jeffries, who bred both Legarto and Dark Destroyer.
A sheep and beef farmer, Jeffries was loath to reveal too many of his secrets, but credited his family background operating a Romney Sheep Stud with providing transferable skills to the thoroughbred breeding game, while also paying homage to his wife and children who share his racing and breeding passion.
“We were Romney breeders for 30 years, but the old fashion way,” Jeffries said. “Each ewe had a card with her family tree on. 700 ewes would take four days to put in their breeding mobs and Dad would do it all and we learned. I think back to Dad and what he taught us.”
The victory of Legarto in the Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in March was a clear highlight for Jeffries, watching the Proisir filly get off the canvas from a near impossible position.
“Just like Ken Kelso (trainer), we were really proud of her and thought she’d run a good race, couldn’t get out and she was going to be running fourth or fifth. That last 100m was just holy heck. My heart was racing. I don’t know how she did it but she’s outstanding,” he said.
Jeffries said Saturday afternoons involved sitting in front of Trackside TV watching the races with his early adulthood children.
“The old man’s got the pedigree pages sitting in front of him watching on Saturday afternoon, there is no doubt about that and everybody’s got to shut up,” he said.
Novara Park’s Luigi Muollo couldn’t attend the awards as he is in the United States at present, but was represented by Don Edwards who accepted Group One breeder trophies for both Explosive Jack and Lucky Sweynesse, with the latter voted Horse of the Year.
“Luigi would have loved to have been here tonight,” Edwards said. “This is what he is trying to achieve and he has got there so it is onwards and upwards for him.
“Madonna Mia is in foal to Sweynesse and then she is going to Savabeel.”
One of the more memorable speeches on the night came from Rich Hill Stud’s John Thompson, who is also the President of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.
The affable Thompson was voted the Entain NZTBA Personality of the Year and lived up to the criteria, regaling the audience with his misadventures working in the United States as a young thoroughbreds enthusiast with long-standing friend and well-known fellow breeder Gordon Cunningham.
Brad Molander, the Yearling Manager for Wentwood Grange, was also recognised as the Mary Lynne Ryan Young Achiever on a memorable night for the New Zealand breeding industry. – NZ Racing Desk
2022/2023 Award winners
Eight Carat Broodmare of the Year
Sponsor: Arion Pedigrees
MADONNA MIA (NZ)2009 Bay Mare By Red Clubs – Hill Of Hope. Dam of Gr.1 winner Lucky Sweynesse
Mary Lynne Ryan Young Achiever
NZTBA Personality of the Year
Sponsor Entain AU and NZ
New Zealand Small Breeder of the Year
Sponsor Luigi Muollo
Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan New Zealand Breeder of the Year
Sponsor Dunstan Horsefeeds
Seton Otway Horse of the Year
Sponsor Property Brokers
GROUP ONE WINNERS
Affaire A Suivre, 3f Astern - Laurelling (Highest Honor)
Bred by C P & Mrs M J A Howells
Australasian Oaks (2000m)
Atishu 5m, Savabeel - Posy (No Excuse Needed)
Bred by Waikato Stud Ltd
Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600m)
Belclare 5m, Per Incanto - Miss Rhythmic (O’Reilly)
Bred by D K Woodhouse
NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m)
Callsign Mav 6g, Atlante - Raadisi (Volksraad)
Bred by Windsor Park Stud
Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m)
Dark Destroyer 4g
Proisir - All Can Party (All American)
Bred by WE Jefferies Ltd
Tarzino Trophy (1400m)
Defibrillate 8g, Shocking - Our Chickaroonie (Groom Dancer)
Bred by McInteer Family Syndicate & G N Richardson
Zabeel Classic (2050m)
Dunkel 3g, Dundeel - Kudamm (Cape Cross)
Bred by Pencarrow Thoroughbreds Ltd
South Australian Derby (2500m)
Explosive Jack 5g, Jakkalberry - Extra Explosive (Ekraar)
Bred by Explosive Breeding Ltd
Sydney Cup (3200m)
He’s A Doozy 5g, Zacinto - The Dewdrop (O’Reilly)
Bred by A G, K J, M C & P R Dennis
Thorndon Mile (1600m)
I Wish I Win 4g, Savabeel - Make A Wish (Pins)
Bred by Waikato Stud Ltd
TJ Smith Stakes (1200m)
Icebath 6m, Sacred Falls - Fabulist (Savabeel)
Bred by Waikato Stud Ltd
Empire Rose Stakes (1600m)
I’m Thunderstruck 5g, Shocking - Primadonna Girl (Edenwold)
Bred by T Forlong & Ms J Jones Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m)
Kovalica 3g, Ocean Park - Vitesse (Makfi)
Bred by Nearco Stud Ltd
Queensland Derby (2400m)
La Crique 4m, Vadamos - Destiny Cove (Dubai Destination)
Bred by J & M Cassin Family Trust
Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m)
Legarto 3f, Proisir - Geordie Girl (Towkay)
Bred by WE Jeffries
New Zealand One Thousand Guineas (1600m). Australian Guineas (1600m)
Levante 6m, Proisir - Island Doy (Doyoun)
Bred by L Williams
Otaki WFA Stakes (1600m) Telegraph Stakes (1200m)
Little Brose 2c, Per Incanto - Mohegan Sky (Straight Man)
Bred by David Wallace
Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m)
Lucky Sweynesse 4g, Sweynesse - Madonna Mia (Red Clubs)
Bred by P L Dombrowski, Explosive Breeding Ltd & S A Sharrock
Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m), Chairmans Sprint Prize (1200m), Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m)
Major Beel 3g, Savabeel - Gram (O’Reilly)
Bred by Waikato Stud Ltd
Australian Derby (2400m)
Manzoice 3c, Almanzor - Choice (Mastercraftsman)
Bred by Ms S Hole
Victoria Derby (2500m)
Militarize 2c, Dundeel - Amerindia (Dubawi)
Bred by GSA Bloodstock
ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), Champagne Stakes (1600m)
Mr Brightside 5g, Bullbars - Lilahjay (Tavistock)
Bred by R I & Est late M A G Johnson
Doncaster Mile (1600m)
Mustang Valley 4m, Vanbrugh - Cream of the Crop (New Approach)
Bred by Windsor Park Stud
Livamol Classic (2040m)
No Compromise 6g, Pins - Baggy Green (Galileo)
Bred by G R Cunningham
Metropolitan Handicap (2400m)
Pennyweka 3f, Satono Aladdin - Threepence (Pentire)
Bred by J V & L D Wallace
New Zealand Oaks (2400m), Australian Oaks (2400m)
Pier 3g, Proisir - La Vitesse (Darci Brahma)
Bred by D R & Mrs L M Weatherley & B W P Wright
New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas (1600m)
Pignan 2f, Staphanos - Hirondelle (Sepoy)
Bred by A O Burton & Mrs L A Hunt
Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m)
Prise De Fer 7g, Savabeel - Foiled (Snippets)
Bred by Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd
Captain Cook Stakes (1600m)
Prowess 3f, Proisir - Donna Marie (Don Eduardo)
Bred by Hallmark Stud
Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2050m), Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m)
Roch ‘N’ Horse 6m, Per Incanto - Rochfort (Cecconi)
Bred by Little Avondale Trust VRC Sprint Classic (1200m)
Romancing The Moon 3f, El Roca - Underthemoonlight (El Hermano)
Bred by H G W & Mrs K L McQuade
Levin Classic (1600m)
Ruthless Dame 3f, Tavistock - Ruthless Lady (Keeper)
Bred by Go Bloodstock Australia Pty Ltd
Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m)
Sharp ‘N’ Smart 3g, Redwood - Queen Margaret (Swiss Ace)
Bred by G Harvey
New Zealand Derby (2400m), Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m), Spring Champion Stakes (2000m)
Smokin’ Romans 6g, Ghibellines - Inferno (Yamanin Vital)
Bred by B J Anderton ONZM & Mrs L E Anderton
Turnbull Stakes (2000m)
Ulanova 2f, Santos - The Fairy’s Kiss (Elusive Quality)
Bred by Ancroft Stud Ltd
Sistema Stakes (1200m)