This week in Dunstan Horsefeeds Meet the Breeder, we catch up with Mapperley Stud principal Simms Davison who bred Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes winner, Campionessa.
How did you get into thoroughbred breeding?
My grandfather started Mapperley Stud, this amazing property has been in the family for 3 generations, so its naturally been in my blood. After finishing my rugby career, I was excited to get home and add to it's great legacy.
How many mares do you breed from?
When I was first started at Mapperley I had 2 mares, and with the establishment of our stallion roster we needed to grow our broodmare band to support them, so we are now around 80 mares.
Tell us about some of the success you have had.
Campionessa has obviously been a highlight, not only did I breed her, she's by our stallion Contributer who I bought and syndicated back in 2016. It's great to have a mare like her flying the flag for our stallion and we now look forward to her knocking off a Gr.1 win this summer.
Tell us what the feeling is like to have group-level success with a stallion you are standing.
When I took over Mapperley, one of my main goals was to rebuild a quality stallion roster, and to have Contributer doing what he is doing is massively rewarding. He's a proven sire now, and he's been producing some top class stakes horses early on in his career.
Do you breed to trade or breed to race? How do you decide on what to keep or sell?
We generally breed to present them at a sale as yearlings, but there are many different avenues to sell bloodstock now, so we look at all the different options and select the best option for the individual horse. We always like to retain half a dozen fillies to race, with the intention of them retiring into our broodmare band at the end of their racing careers.
Do you seek advice on your breeding decisions?
It's a long process when you have 80 mares and 3 stallions to support, so it's a team effort making sure you get the right combination of physical attributes and genetics in each mating.
Best breeding advice you have received?
Always focus on breeding an athlete, keep it simple by ironing out faults with your mare by choosing an appropriate stallion.
What do you love about the thoroughbred breeding industry?
The incredible highs it can give you, whether it's racing a top horse or breeding one you get an incredible buzz.
What advice would you give someone entering the industry as a breeder?
Start off small and work your way into it. While you're learning the business, make sure you don't over extend yourself. Do as much research as you can and more importantly ask a lot of questions.
Proudest moment as a breeder?
Buying and syndicating my first stallion.
Finish this sentence: The best part of being a thoroughbred breeder is…
Watching your stock perform on the racetrack.