Steve Brem on Underthemoonlight

Steve Brem

Steve Brem

Sydney based ex pat bloodstock agent Steve Brem is looking forward to returning to New Zealand this summer, and with good reason.

Brem owns Midnight Dip(O’Reilly – Midnight Assembly) the dam of the recent Group Two Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate winner Underthemoonlight, but he has never laid eyes on the mare!

“I actually haven’t ever laid eyes on her, but hope to see her when I return to Karaka this summer, I’m looking forward to seeing her and  visiting the Karaka sales,” said Brem a former National Secretary of the NZTBA.

Brem previously a mover and shaker in the industry in New Zealand, has kept a pretty low profile recently, having had some health challenges for the past four years. However more recently he is much improved and is getting back to business and travelling to race meetings and sales events.

“I didn’t get to Karaka this year, but hopefully I will be there next year, and I am looking forward to the new improved sales format, well from my point of view it will be improved,”

“I think it will be well received by buyers, and will work well. I just hope that all the vendors in the second section, especially those with fillies get x-rays done on their yearlings”.

“I still think New Zealand has some great stallions, and some Australians recognise that, but I think there is a lack of good strong mares.”

Brem left New Zealand in 1997 and up until recently was a regular visitor to the Karaka sales. While he was Managing Director at Auckland’s Haunui Farm and a committeeman on the Auckland Branch of the NZTBA – he had previously been President, he was head hunted by the Australian Breeders’ Association to head up that organisation.

Shortly thereafter his health took a turn for the worst for the first time and he had to give up work for 18 months, and in mid-1999 he went to work for Gai Waterhouse. Until 2005 when he went out on his own as a bloodstock agent.

These days he principally works for Denise Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds selecting horses and writing a column for her website, as well as sourcing stock for a few longstanding and loyal clients.

Underthemoonlight (outside) beats Close Up in the Foxbridge Plate

Underthemoonlight (outside) beats Close Up in the Foxbridge Plate

Brem began his career in New Zealand way back in the late 1960’s when he landed a job at News Media in Auckland.

“I had no capacity for university, and got a job writing copy as an 18-year-old for an advertising agency,” he recalled.

“But I wasn’t really that interested in the advertising world, I was more interested in studying form, one of the account executives who was always working with News Media, organised an interview for me with their Racing Editor and I started at Best Bets writing form on the cards in 1968. I left their employ in 1976 after a stint in Wellington and then the role of editor in the Waikato.”

While in the Waikato he became involved with the NZTBA and held the position of branch secretary on the Waikato Branch. It was during this time that he was tapped on the shoulder to be the first National Secretary of the NZTBA based in Wellington. 

Following that he was approached to be the Managing Director at Waikato Stud, when they were going public and stayed there until it was sold to the Chitticks, and then moved on to Haunui Farm for 10 years.

It was through his association with Reliable Man(GER) that prompted Brem to buy Midnight Dip.

“I was closely involved with Reliable Man in Australia and in sending him to New Zealand, so I was keen to send a mare to him, and my good friend Robert Dawe found her for me,” said Brem.

“I bought her and she has been in the care of my good friend Phillip Brown from Ancroft Stud ever since.”

The McQuades, Hamish and Karyn bred and race Underthemoonlight, along with Cliff Solomon, and she now won five races, three of them at black level.  They purchased her dam Midnight Dip from a Stoneybridge dispersal sale for $4,500 in 2009. A fan of the family they had trained her half-sister Midnight Kiss, who won two races and ran third in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks, before being sold to the States, where she has left two stakes winners.

When they purchased Midnight Dip she had produced two foals to Storm Creek(USA) and was in foal to Cecconi(AUS). Her first Storm Creek was Midnight Paddle a winner of one race, while Gr.3 Rotorua Cup winner Storming The Tower was the second. He has also been placed in the Gr.2  City of Auckland Cup twice, the GR.3 Taranaki Cup and the listed Taumaranui Cup.

Being by O’Reilly they decided to send her to the Pins stallion El Hermano, as a cheaper way of getting the magical proven Pins/O’Reilly cross. She missed the first year and the second year she produced Underthemoonlight. They then sent her to Makfi but she absorbed the foal, and the next season went to Captain Rio(GB) and that’s who she was in foal to when Sydney based bloodstock agent Steve Brem purchased the mare.

The Captain Rio foal was sold to the Thurlows in Waverley as a weanling and showed some promise here when trained by Bill Thurlow. He has since sent her to Chris Waller where she recently won a maiden, and looks like a city class runner.

Brem has bred a Reliable Man filly from the mare who was sold to clients of Henry Field of Newgate Farm and is in work with Shane Nichols in Victoria, and since then she has gone to Pins(AUS).

“Phillip and I have been friends for around 50 years, and now he has a yearling filly by Pins and she is in foal to that stallion again. We will share this one and any subsequent foals.  I leave the matings up to Phillip, he is a shareholder in Pins, that’s how he bred El Hermano and his full brother El Segundo who won a W S Cox Plate. I am happy to go along with what he decides”.

“She may not be a young mare but she is quite a handy producer by the look of it. Underthemoonlight loves the mud and has now won three black type races, and Storming The Tower was quite useful on occasions too,” he concluded.

“She is just a very good O’Reillly mare always been a fan of O’Reilly having bred his mother Courtza while I was at Waikato Stud. Hopefully I get to Karaka this summer and to see the mare. “ – Michelle Saba


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