Sunline ScholarshipScholarshipBreeders' BulletinNew Zealand BloodstockCovid-19Rich HillHaunui FarmCambridge StudWaikato StudBelardoCheveley Park StudIrish National StudBreeders BulletinCoolmoreGavelhouse PlusBrighthill FarmBruce SladeRITATaylor MadeBruce's BlogBulletinMatt's BlogMatthew ScownPearl SeriesWeanling SaleJamie RichardsMapperley StudMatt ScownOcean ParkRobert DennisThe Oaks StudTrelawney StudWindsor Park StudBevan SmithDavid Morris BlogFirst Crop Sire FocusHighden ParkIffraajLittle Avondale StudNZTRWentwood Grange2020 New SiresBevan's BlogHolly RossHolly's BlogJamie's BlogKiwi BredLance Forbes BlogRaise The FlagRobert's BlogTavistockWellfield LodgeWestbury StudWhite Robe LodgeBenji KingBenji's BlogCameron Ring BlogDanielle Southey BlogEminentGavelhouseHannah AireyHannah MeeNovara ParkNZB Pearl SeriesPer IncantoSatono AladdinSavabeelValachi DownsAlmanzorCharm SpiritDylan TreweekDylan's BlogGrangewilliam StudHannah's BlogInglewood StudKeith and Faith Taylor Equine ScholarshipKoldingLaura McNabNZB South Island SaleReliable ManSam BergersonSouth Island SaleSweynesseTime TestVadamosVespaAide MemoireBagalolliesCameron RingChris LuoniCoronavirusCurraghmoreDalgharDarci BrahmaDavid ArcherEtah JamesHello YoumzainJon SnowMelody BelleMilan ParkNational Breeding AwardsNewmarketOcean EmperorPrefermentRichard WrightRoad to RockShamexpressShockingShowcasingSir Patrick HoganSuper SethWaikato Stallion WeekendWroteWyndspelleAce HighAlamosaAtlanteAuckland Breeder AwardsBeauty GenerationBLOODSTOCK TAXATIONBreeding AwardsCatalystCEO BlogChief Executive's BlogContributerCoolmore IrelandDean McKenzieDennis BrothersEmbellishFalkirkFrankelGerry HarveyGingernutsGordon CunninghamHall of FameHealthy RiversHighviewIgraineJoan EganJomara BloodstockKaraka MillionLance ForbesLisa LattaLloyd MonehanMare ReturnsMark ChittyMark LuptonMembershipNearco StudNick KingNZTBA Waikato BranchPattern CommitteePear Tree FarmPinsPolly GreyRacing Industry BillRangitikei Gold CupReady To Run SaleRibchesterRoaring LionRock 'n' PopRyan StaceySacred FallsSneaking To WinStallion paradeStallion parade 2019StaphanosTarzinoTe AkauTe Aroha Breeders DayTen SovereignsTheileria equiTivaciToffee TongueTony PikeTurn Me LooseVanbrughVerry ElleegantWar DecreeWarren PeggWinston PetersYearling SalesYearn2015/16 Handicaps2017 Waikato Stallion Parade2020 Service feesAblazeACC ForumACC LEVIESAdvantageAerovelocityAl Basti EquiworldAlan GrovesAlan WindleAllan SharrockAllureAlphastarAndrew SeabrookAndrew StewartAnne-Marie KingAnother DollarArthur AvisAternatinAuckland Stallion ParadeAuckland Stallion Parade 2017AzamourBaggy GreenBansha House StablesBarbara PerryBelle familyBernard SaundryBessBeyond the BarriersBohemian BluesBonnevalBonniegirlBostonianBoticaBradbury ParkBRANCH CAPITATIONBreeder Of The Year 2016Breeder ProfileBreeders Bulletin Winter 2016Breeders' Bulletin Summer 2016/17Breeders' StakesBrent and Cherry TaylorBrian CollinsBroodmare Of The Year 2016Bruce HarveyBruce PerryBryerley ParkBuckinghamBurgundyCallsign MavCancer SocietyCareers DayCarol MarshallCathay PacificCatWalkCelia CrawshawCharles RobertsCharmontCherry TaylorCheveley ParkChiantiChocanteChris GraceChristopher GraceClearview ParkClyde BuckinghamColdplayComplacentCoolmore AmericaCouleeCountofmontecristoCovCylinder BeachDan MyersDanny RolstonDavid EllisDavid GreeneDavid MillerDavid MorrisDavid WalshDawn PatrolDe GruchyDeloitte ReportDerrynDezDijon BleuDivine ProphetDolcettoDon GoodwinDormello StudDr Frances PeatDunstan FeedsDunstan Feeds Stayers ChampionshipDunstan Feeds Under The RadarDunstan Horse FeedsDylan JohnsonEducationElusive BoxersEmblemEmma EvansEnglandEnvironmentEpisode OneEquibreed Seminar 28th AugustEquifibreEquine Property OwnersEvent StarsExplosive BreedingExportsFabulousFanaticFarriersFasig-TiptonFastrack Breeder ProfileFasttrackFasttrack Breeders ProfileFerlaxFerrandoFiona BassettFirst Season Sire ReviewFive to MidnightFlemmington FarmFlying MontyFlyingflynnFoal NZFoalsFormidableFoster FoalFoxbridgeFrank ConwayFree Handicaps 2016-17Full of BeautyG1 DinnerGalloping GerteGary WallaceGermanicusGift Of PowerGilltown StudGina ShickGoffsGore GuineasGraham de GruchyGreg TomlinsonGus WigleyGuy LowryGypsy FairHappy StarHard MerchandizeHe's Our RokkiiHe's RemarkableHEALTH & SAFETY ACTHeniHigh ChaparralHighview StudHiyaamHoney RiderHorse ambulanceHoward Be Thy NameHumidorI Am A StarIain RentonImmigrationImposing LassImposinglyInfantryInside AgentIrelandIts Time For MagicJakkalberryJanine DunlopJeanette BroomeJen CampinJennifer EcclesJericho CupJezabeelJimmy ChouxJohn BergerJohn FokerdJohn Messara Report Release Date 30 August 2018John ThompsonJohn WoodJustamaizKaraka 2021KawiKay HoodKaye SandersKeanoKeenelandKevin HickmanKevin PrattKhalesKick BackKinaneKoru ThoroughbredsKyla RobbKyla Robb BlogKylin 500 ClubLa DiosaLa RomaneeLasarlaLegless VeuveLet Her RipLib PetagnaLibby BleakleyLifesaverLightning StakesLincoln BlueLincoln FarmsLion's RoarLiz AllenLloch-Haven ThoroughbredsLondon ExpressLong Acres StudLorna MooreLuigi MuolloMakfiMakfi StakesMangaroa Flo JoMansfield FarmMarch 2016Marie LeicesterMark CorcoranMark TreweekMaster PaintonMay SaleMcQuadeMeeska MooskaMembersMiami boundMichael MoranMichael O'KeefeMichael SheridanMichelle SabaMick PrestonMiss Three StarsMiss VistaMiss WilsonMonovaleMontoyas SecretMonty RobertsMPINahkleNew zealand racing hall of fameNight's WatchNitrogenNot An OptionNurse KitchenNZ Bred G1 WinnersNZ Breeder of the YearNZ First season sires 2018NZ Racing Hall of FameNZ Racing StructureNZB AirfreightNZB InsuranceNZB Yearling SalesNZERFNZRBNZTBA Breeders Bulletin Autumn 2018NZTBA OfficeNZTBA RestructureNZTBA Te Aroha Breeders DayNZTROF March 2017OceanexOctapussyOctasongOn The RocksOne One TwoOur AbbadeanOWNERS FEDERATIONPaisley ParkPark Hill StablesPaul GollanPaul MoroneyPaul YesbergPencarrowPencarrow StudPentirePerfect FitPerfectly ReadyPeter and Heather CrofskeyPeter and Sue WestendPeter NewsomPeter WalkerPhilamorPhilip SmythPhill CataldoPiaggioPlatinum InvadorPlusvitalPour MoiPRIMARY ITOPrince Of BrooklynPrincess JenniProisirProisir FoalsProm QueenPucciniPure ChampionPurple SectorQuiz NightRace Fields LegislationRaceFormRacing hall of fameRacing MinisterRacing Reform BillRageeseRaise You TenRavelston StudRaven DarkholmeRed GiantRedwoodRemindRichard CollettRide To TimeRip Van WinkleRiva CapriRoad ShowsRobin ArcherRobt DaweRock OnRodger VarianRodmor Trust Lecture SeriesRomancerRon LaddSacred DaySacred ElixirSaracinoSaratogaSavigneSavile RowScorpzScott BaseSeabrookSeagramSean HawkinsSeason 5SeawayShadwellShane KennedyShannon TaylorShoshoneShout the BarSleeping BeautySophie's ChoiceSouth Island Foster FoalSpanish WhisperSpecial MemoriesSpiethSpyglass Hill SyndicateStakesStallion Parades 2016Stallion Register 2018Start WonderingSteel StilettosStephen AutridgeStranglesSummer PassageSunlineSunset PassSuper EasySupergiantSurprise BabySusan ArcherSusan WalkerSweet LeaderSweet TreatTaranaki Breeders' StakesTattersallsTattyboglerTe ArohaThe Bold OneThe BostonianThe Chosen OneThe InformantThe KingThe Sunlight TrustTivaci ShuttleTofaneTom LaneTomsTony RiderTrain The Trainer WorkshipTravelling LightTrevor LukeTrue EnoughTutta La ClasseUnderthemoonlightUnusual SuspectUpper CutUS Navy FlagVerdiVern TrilloVernanmeVicki PikeVisasVolatile MixWaikato BranchWaikato Regional Council ReportWait A SecWarwick JeffriesWayne PikeWeanling educationWeanling WalkWelfareWell DoneWellington BranchWertherWhat's The StoryWhite Robe Lodge HandicapWho Shot ThebarmanWilliam FellWillie and Karen CalderWinstarWinxWTBAXpressionXpressmymindXtravagantYogiZabeelZacintoZebrowskiZedZennistaZigwig
TAGS

Highden Park paving a golden road of success

•Sam & Libby Bleakley. Photo: Trish Dunell
•Sam & Libby Bleakley. Photo: Trish Dunell

In defiance of the testing times of 2020, Sam and Libby Bleakley’s Highden Park has extended its journey of success this autumn with a brace of Australian results to reinforce its preeminent position as the pride of the Manawatu, and further elevate its status amongst the best producing thoroughbred nurseries of New Zealand.

Their roll of honour now includes last Saturday’s Gr.1 Australasian Oaks winner, Toffee Tongue, who was foaled and reared at Highden Park and sold for $500,000 out of their 2018 Karaka Yearling draft. The three-year-old lost her maiden status at Group One level in brilliant fashion after seconds in the Gr.1 ATC Australian Oaks, and the Gr.3 Adrian Knox Stakes, and in doing so, shook off the tag as the best maiden performer in Australia.

Two weeks earlier at Randwick, Highden Park reared Kinane, who like Toffee Tongue, is also trained by Chris Waller, decisively won the Gr.3 Frank Packer Plate at his fourth race start. Kinane was a first-year Highden Park pinhooking success after Sam and Libby selected, purchased and resold him at the 2018 Karaka Yearling Sale. After a succession of Group and Listed performers, Kinane and Toffee Tongue were Highden Park’s first two Group winning successes in Australia.

Toffee Tongue and Kinane’s victories come on the back of a magnificent run of top-class performers for Highden Park, including Beauty Generation - Hong Kong Horse Of The Year in successive seasons for 2017/18 and 2018/19 and a strong contender in the current season to make it a trifecta of three titles.

Beauty Generation’s success heads-up an overall record of 78 percent winners to runners for Highden Park. This record is supported by Hong Kong Derby winner Ping Hai Star, Matchbreaker (Gr.3 Wellington Stakes), She's Poppy (Gr.3 Boehringer Ingelheim 1550 and Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup), Orbity (Listed Ryder Stakes and Listed Fordell O’Leary Stakes), Harlow Gold (2nd Gr.1 VRC Crown Oaks), Milsean (3rd Gr.1 NZ Oaks), Glorious Beijing (2nd Gr.2 Wellington Guineas), Showboy (2nd Listed Penang Sprint Trophy), Vegas Knight (2nd Gr.2 Bill Stutt Stakes) and numerous others.

To May 2020, Highden Park has catalogued 76 yearlings with 61 going to the races (80%). Their winners' tally is 48 (78%) with 12 performing at Stakes level.

Within the first few years of its existence, Highden Park oversaw the mating, foaling, rearing, and eventual sale of Beauty Generation. He made $60,000 at the 2014 Karaka Yearling Sale and has subsequently carved out the remarkable record of 20 wins from 38 starts with record breaking prizemoney of over HK$100 million.

Sam and Libby started Highden Park in the second half of 2010 when the couple was newly married, had bought the property and commenced the business of managing mares and preparing yearlings for sale.

Libby grew up in Martinborough in a family with no connection to horses and never had a pony opportunity. But she remembers a strong attraction to all things equine and says the desire she felt in her youth has remained strong to this very day.

"I wrote a project about a horse at school and eventually got invited to Newbury Park for a weekend, and I knew it was me straight away," explained Libby. "I watched a mare foal, went to trackwork and went to the races, and I was sold. I was head over heels and have never looked back."

Sam was a mechanic living in Taupo and, despite his parents owning a farm, had no interest in farming or horses. They met on one of Libby's weekends off from her job at Wellfield Lodge, dated for a couple of years, and then became a permanent item when Sam moved south to Palmerston North to be with Libby.

“It was very, very fortunate for me that Sam was a natural with horses," recalls Libby. He's learned a lot and is a wonderful leader, and today there's not a lot that Sam can't do when it comes to horses.” 

•Toffee Tongue as a yearling. Photo: Sarah Ebbett Photography
•Toffee Tongue as a yearling. Photo: Sarah Ebbett Photography

The business began without a single client, but Libby says, "Full credit to Sam because he just believed in me. I'd never run a business and didn't have anyone I could ring and say 'send me some horses,' so it was an advertisement in The Informant that got me my first client - Alistair Murdoch - he sent an in-foal mare and then about a week later Adrian Clark rang and asked me to take ten mares for his client Nearco Stud, and I knew that could pay the mortgage.

"We did five yearlings for William Fell because he was short of boxes, and three for Scott and Jude Preston, and then Alistair Murdoch gave us another two – just like that we had a little draft; we weren't expecting to kick-off so quickly. And to get one into the Select Sale – we were over the moon."

Sam and Libby concentrate on a high standard of communication with their small group of clients for which they are widely acknowledged. At Karaka in 2020, Highden Park again achieved the mantle of the leading vendor in Book Two – for the third year in succession.

"We don't have a glorified broodmare band to manage,” continued Libby, “and currently have only 16 mares on the farm, including dual NZ Broodmare Of The Year Bagalollies, who is the dam of 2015-16 Hong Kong Horse Of The Year Werther and Group One winner Toffee Tongue.

"We must be doing something right," says Libby with a laugh before adding, “we have had some freakish success with weanling pinhooks including Australian Group Three winner Kinane and Group Two placed Vegas Knight from our first three weanlings purchased. We back our judgment while perhaps taking bigger risks than others might generally take.

"You have to evolve in this business and continually look at ways of improving," explained Libby. “The need to have an excellent relationship with clients is essential – much more than a bill in the mail. We pride ourselves on communication.”

As Highden Park prepares to hit the ten-year mark of being in business, Sam and Libby can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the milestones already achieved by their boutique operation, “It has been amazing to witness so many Highden Park graduates go on to do incredible things,” reflects Libby.

“It has always been important to us to limit the number of horses on the farm. We believe that each individual should receive careful care and attention to ensure they develop to their full potential so it’s very rewarding to see our philosophy translate to racetrack success.” 



 

This product has been added to your cart

CHECKOUT