The four finalists for the Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan Breeder of the Year Award were announced by the New Zealand Breeders Association this week.
Last year’s winner Nearco Stud is nominated, along with The Oaks Stud, Trelawney Stud and Waikato Stud.
The NZTBA have also announced the nominees for the Eight Carat Broodmare of the Year as Bak da Chief, Evana, Meleka Belle and Platinum Elle.
Nearco Stud Limited is owned by South Island businessman Greg Tomlinson, who after a passion for racing, bought his first mare in 2009 with a view to breed quality racehorses.
From a mare he leased at the time, Stylish Bel, Tomlinson bred one of the highest rated gallopers in the world in Beauty Generation, who in the season under review won at Group One level again in Hong Kong.
Nearco Stud also bred the Group Three winners Full Of Beauty in Hong Kong, and Kinane in Australia along with the Listed winners Miss Federer and Sinarahma with Pee Gee Bloodstock. To that list you can add four Listed placegetters and another 22 individual winners in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Nearco’s ambition to breed quality racehorses is certainly coming to fruition.
Dick Karreman’s Oaks Stud under the management of Rick Williams has over the years been a regular nominee for the Breeder of the Year title. Their 19/20 season represented one of the best for their elder statesman stallion Darci Brahma and was highlighted by their home bred gelding Catalyst who during the season won five races in a row all at black type level and finished a slashing second in the Gr.3 C.S Hayes Stakes at Flemington behind Alligator Blood.
His win in the Gr.1 NZ 2000 Guineas was made even more special by the fact that the second placed runner Harlech was another graduate of The Oaks Stud and also by Darci Brahma. Later in the season Harlech was Group One placed in the Levin Classic and went on to win the Gr.2 Waikato Guineas.
The Oaks Stud was also represented by Australian Group Three winners Paint The Town Two and Home By Midnight. In New Zealand they bred the Listed winners Sentimental Miss and Seven Seas, as well 47 individual winners in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and New Caledonia all carried the famous acorn brand of The Oaks.
Steeped in history, the Taylor Family’s Trelawney Stud enjoyed a stellar year especially with their fillies. Although the stud has been home to many great stallions over the years, in more recent times the Taylors have concentrated on developing the farm’s broodmare band and raising young stock and judging by the results of the last season they are achieving that goal.
They bred and raced two top quality group winning fillies in Loire and Two Illicit, along with the Group Three winner Star of the Seas who was twice Group One placed. They had two other stakes performers and a further 24 individual winners in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Macau.
Once again Waikato Stud have had a great season breeding 12 individual stake winners. Probabeel excelled in Australia winning the Gr.1 Surround Stakes and placing second in the Group One Darley Stakes, Vinery Stakes and the Group Two Tea Rose Stakes and Phar Lap Stakes, as well she won the listed Karaka Million 3YO.
Tiptronic achieved Group One glory in New Zealand winning the Herbie Dyke Stakes and Acting and The Reel Beel won at Group Two level. Their Group Three winners include Another Dollar, Killarney, Missybeel and Showbeel. Add to that 10 other stakes performers and 125 individual winners in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Macau and they make a formidable contender for the Award.
The Eight Carat Broodmare of the Year Award goes to the mare whose New Zealand-bred and/or New Zealand conceived progeny, anywhere in the world, in the season under review, most clearly reflect true breeding merit in quality of racing performance.
Bak da Chief, owned by Darrell Hollinshead, is the dam of Te Akau Shark, Te Akau Shark raced eight times at five, winning twice and placing on a further 5 occasions. Opening his campaign with seconds in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa, the Gr.3 Tramway Stakes and Gr.1 Epsom Handicap at Randwick, he then finished third from the outside barrier in the G.1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.
His Autumn campaign began with two Group One victories, the Waikato Sprint at Te Rapa and Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick before finishing third in the Gr.1 George Ryder Stakes and signing off his season with a fifth in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Te Akau Shark was rated 118 on the 2019 World Thoroughbred Rankings
Bak da Chief is also the dam of Melarita a full sister to Te Akau Shark who has won two races in Victoria.
Evana is owned by Christine and Steak Goodin, who purchased her in 2018 before Catalyst hit the racetrack.
Catalyst raced seven times at three for five consecutive victories and one second. He opened his spring campaign with a four length win in the Listed El Roca Trophy at Hastings, a 3 ½ length win in the Gr.3 Northland Breeders Stakes at Ruakaka and a 2 ¾ length win in the Gr.2 Hawkes Bay Guineas before travelling to Riccarton and asserting his superiority with a dominant win in the Gr.1 New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas, beating Group Two winner Harlech and New Zealand Derby winner Sherwood Forest.
First up in the Autumn Catalyst produced an outstanding run to come from last to win the Gr.3 Mr Tiz Trophy at Ellerslie before travelling to Victoria to take on the best three-year-olds in Australia. A close up second to Alligator Blood in the Gr.3 CS Hayes Stakes at Flemington, after a titanic struggle all the way down the Flemington straight, was followed by an unplaced run at his final start for the season, seemingly showing signs of a physical problem on pulling up .
Evana is also the dam of Evana Rahma a maiden winner at Pukekohe.
The third nominee is Meleka Belle, a member of Marie Leicester’s fabulous Belle family, she is the dam of Melody Belle the reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year.
Melody Belle opened her five-year-old season with a fourth-place finish in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa before stringing together four consecutive group one victories. She became the first horse in history to claim the Hawkes Bay Triple Crown, convincingly winning the Tarzino Trophy, Windsor Park Plate and Livamol Classic before heading to Melbourne where she beat a big field of fillies and mares in the Empire Rose Stakes and ended her spring campaign with a second place finish to high class international mare Magic Wand in the Gr.1 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington.
Melody Belle had four starts in the Autumn, finishing third in the Gr.1 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield and All Star Mile at Flemington before an unlucky fourth as topweight in the Gr.1 Doncaster at Randwick, before ending her season with an unplaced run in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Melody Belle was rated 116 on the 2019 World Thoroughbred Rankings.
Meleka Belle is also the dam of Exaltation a winner of two races at Riccarton and Hastings from only three starts.
Cambridge couple Peter and Sue Westend, who trade as the Westend Partnership, are the owners of Platinum Elle, the dam of this year’s NZB Filly of the Year.
Jennifer Eccles never finished further back than fourth in nine starts at three, winning four, the last three in succession. Opening her campaign with a second at Taupo, she then finished fourth in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings, third in the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes at Ellerslie and second in the Gr.1 New Zealand One Thousand Guineas at Riccarton before finally shedding her maiden status in the Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie. Third in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes at Trentham, Jennifer Eccles then showed her staying prowess with consecutive wins in the Gr.2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic at Te Rapa, the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes at Hastings and the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks at Trentham.
This year the NZTBA has commissioned beautifully crafted perpetual bronze trophies for the Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan Trophy and the Arion Pedigrees Eight Carat Broodmare of the Year. They were produced by renowned sculptor Jane Lewis and donated by Waikato based breeder Joan Egan. Due to Covid-19 a decision is yet to be made as to whether the trophies will be presented at a public awards ceremony. -Michelle Saba, NZTBA