Sunline ScholarshipScholarshipBreeders' BulletinCovid-19Rich HillCheveley Park StudIrish National StudBreeders BulletinCambridge StudCoolmoreBruce SladeTaylor MadeWaikato StudBrighthill FarmBruce's BlogBulletinHaunui FarmMatt's BlogMatthew ScownJamie RichardsMatt ScownThe Oaks StudTrelawney StudBevan SmithDavid Morris BlogHighden ParkIffraajMapperley StudRITARobert DennisWentwood GrangeBelardoBevan's BlogHolly RossHolly's BlogJamie's BlogKiwi BredLance Forbes BlogLittle Avondale StudNew Zealand BloodstockOcean ParkRaise The FlagRobert's BlogWellfield LodgeWhite Robe LodgeBenji KingBenji's BlogCameron Ring BlogDanielle Southey BlogHannah MeeNZB Pearl SeriesNZTRPer IncantoSavabeelTavistockWestbury StudWindsor Park StudDylan TreweekDylan's BlogFirst Crop Sire FocusGavelhouseHannah AireyHannah's BlogKoldingNovara ParkPearl SeriesReliable ManSam BergersonSatono AladdinVespaAide MemoireBagalolliesCameron RingCoronavirusDarci BrahmaDavid ArcherEminentEtah JamesInglewood StudKeith and Faith Taylor Equine ScholarshipLaura McNabMelody BelleNewmarketRichard WrightRoad to RockShamexpressShockingShowcasingSir Patrick HoganSweynesseTime TestVadamosValachi DownsWroteAce HighAlamosaAlmanzorAtlanteAuckland Breeder AwardsBeauty GenerationBLOODSTOCK TAXATIONCatalystCEO BlogChief Executive's BlogContributerCoolmore IrelandDalgharDennis BrothersEmbellishFrankelGerry HarveyGingernutsGordon CunninghamGrangewilliam StudHall of FameHealthy RiversHighviewIgraineJomara BloodstockJon SnowKaraka MillionLance ForbesLisa LattaLloyd MonehanMare ReturnsMark ChittyMark LuptonMembershipMilan ParkNearco StudNick KingNZB South Island SaleOcean EmperorPattern CommitteePinsPolly GreyPrefermentRangitikei Gold CupRoaring LionRyan StaceySacred FallsStallion parade 2019StaphanosSuper SethTarzinoTe AkauTe Aroha Breeders DayTivaciToffee TongueTony PikeTurn Me LooseVanbrughVerry ElleegantWaikato Stallion WeekendWarren PeggWeanling SaleWinston PetersYearn2015/16 Handicaps2017 Waikato Stallion ParadeAblazeACC 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 PacificCelia CrawshawCharles RobertsCharm SpiritCharmontCherry TaylorCheveley ParkChiantiChocanteChris GraceChris LuoniChristopher GraceClearview ParkClyde BuckinghamColdplayCoolmore AmericaCouleeCountofmontecristoCovCurraghmoreCylinder BeachDan MyersDanny RolstonDavid EllisDavid GreeneDavid MillerDavid MorrisDavid WalshDawn PatrolDe GruchyDeloitte ReportDezDijon BleuDivine ProphetDolcettoDon GoodwinDormello StudDr Frances PeatDunstan FeedsDunstan Feeds Stayers ChampionshipDunstan Feeds Under The RadarDunstan Horse FeedsEducationElusive BoxersEmblemEnglandEnvironmentEpisode OneEquibreed Seminar 28th AugustEquifibreEquine Property OwnersEvent StarsExplosive BreedingFabulousFalkirkFanaticFarriersFasig-TiptonFastrack Breeder ProfileFasttrackFasttrack Breeders ProfileFerlaxFiona BassettFirst Season Sire ReviewFive to MidnightFlemmington FarmFlying MontyFlyingflynnFoalsFormidableFoster 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 RiderHoward Be Thy NameHumidorI Am A StarIain RentonImposing LassImposinglyInfantryInside AgentIrelandIts Time For MagicJakkalberryJanine DunlopJeanette BroomeJennifer EcclesJericho CupJezabeelJimmy ChouxJoan EganJohn BergerJohn FokerdJohn Messara Report Release Date 30 August 2018John ThompsonJohn WoodJustamaizKawiKay HoodKeanoKeenelandKevin HickmanKhalesKick BackKinaneKoru ThoroughbredsKyla RobbKyla Robb BlogKylin 500 ClubLa DiosaLa RomaneeLasarlaLegless VeuveLet Her RipLib PetagnaLibby BleakleyLifesaverLightning StakesLincoln BlueLincoln FarmsLion's RoarLloch-Haven ThoroughbredsLondon ExpressLong Acres StudLorna MooreLuigi MuolloMakfiMakfi StakesMangaroa Flo JoMarch 2016Marie LeicesterMark CorcoranMark TreweekMaster PaintonMay SaleMcQuadeMeeska MooskaMembersMiami boundMichael MoranMichael O'KeefeMichael SheridanMichelle SabaMick PrestonMiss Three StarsMiss VistaMiss WilsonMonovaleMontoyas SecretMonty RobertsNahkleNew zealand racing hall of fameNight's WatchNitrogenNot An OptionNurse KitchenNZ Bred G1 WinnersNZ First season sires 2018NZ Racing Hall of FameNZ Racing StructureNZB AirfreightNZB InsuranceNZB Yearling SalesNZERFNZRBNZTBA Breeders Bulletin Autumn 2018NZTBA OfficeNZTBA RestructureNZTBA Te Aroha Breeders DayNZTBA Waikato BranchNZTROF March 2017OctapussyOctasongOn The RocksOne One TwoOur AbbadeanOWNERS FEDERATIONPaisley ParkPaul GollanPear Tree FarmPencarrowPencarrow StudPentirePerfect FitPerfectly ReadyPeter and Heather CrofskeyPeter and Sue WestendPeter NewsomPeter WalkerPhilamorPhilip SmythPhill CataldoPiaggioPlatinum InvadorPlusvitalPour MoiPRIMARY ITOPrince Of BrooklynPrincess JenniProisirProisir FoalsProm QueenPucciniPure ChampionPurple SectorRace Fields LegislationRacing hall of fameRacing MinisterRacing Reform BillRageeseRaise You TenRavelston StudRaven DarkholmeReady To Run SaleRedwoodRemindRibchesterRichard CollettRide To TimeRip Van WinkleRiva CapriRobin ArcherRobt DaweRock 'n' PopRock OnRodger VarianRodmor Trust Lecture SeriesRomancerSacred DaySacred ElixirSaracinoSaratogaSavigneSavile RowScorpzScott BaseSeabrookSeagramSean HawkinsSeason 5SeawayShadwellShane KennedyShannon TaylorShoshoneShout the BarSleeping BeautySophie's ChoiceSouth Island Foster FoalSpanish WhisperSpecial MemoriesSpiethSpyglass Hill SyndicateStallion Parades 2016Stallion Register 2018Start WonderingSteel StilettosStephen AutridgeStranglesSummer PassageSunlineSunset PassSuper EasySurprise BabySusan ArcherSweet LeaderSweet TreatTaranaki Breeders' StakesTattersallsTattyboglerTe ArohaThe Bold OneThe BostonianThe Chosen OneThe InformantThe KingThe Sunlight TrustTivaci ShuttleTofaneTom LaneTomsTrain The Trainer WorkshipTravelling LightTrevor LukeTrue EnoughTutta La ClasseUnderthemoonlightUnusual SuspectUpper CutUS Navy FlagVerdiVern TrilloVernanmeVicki PikeVolatile MixWaikato BranchWaikato Regional Council ReportWait A SecWar DecreeWarwick JeffriesWayne PikeWeanling WalkWelfareWell DoneWertherWhat's The StoryWhite Robe Lodge HandicapWho Shot ThebarmanWilliam FellWillie and Karen CalderWinstarWinxWTBAXpressionXpressmymindXtravagantYearling SalesYogiZabeelZacintoZebrowskiZedZennistaZigwig
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