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Breeders dig deep for prime land

Wentwood Grange's Des Hawkins

Wentwood Grange's Des Hawkins

Two prominent Waikato thoroughbred operations have signalled a major vote of confidence in the future of the industry.

In a multi-million investment, Tony Rider’s Milan Park and the Hawkins family’s Wentwood Grange have paid a record price of $11.1 million for a Cambridge dairy farm.

The 92.5-hectare operation, located between Maungatautari Road and the Waikato River, was recently sold at auction and will be split into two properties.

“It’s on our boundary and fits in nicely with our farm,” Wentwood Grange’s Des Hawkins said.

“My boys are running the business now and they want to keep growing. We’ve been searching for more land for a year or so and this came up so we had a chat with Tony and we did the deal.

“It’s a lovely bit of land, free-draining soil, and it will be split in half between Tony and us.”

Hawkins said Wentwood Grange, who became the first New Zealand breeder of a Group One winner at Royal Ascot when Little Bridge triumphed in the 2012 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m), required more land to accommodate growing numbers.

“It’s positive because we’re getting more horses, not just our own, but clients we’ve got are willing to invest more and expanding their broodmare bands.”

A Group One-winning breeder and owner, Rider said the new land acquisition would serve a dual purpose for his operation.

“We bought it to expand, to spread our horses and to grow more cattle.

“We always knew it was going to come up one day, and when it did, Des and I worked together and it’s worked out well for both of us.” – NZ Racing Desk.

Milan Park's Tony Rider

Milan Park's Tony Rider

photo Tara Hughes



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