Canterbury based breeders Annabel Wigley and Olly Tuthill are anticipating an exciting spring.
As well as looking forward to the arrival of foals by a host of exciting sires, they will be following talented South Island galloper Milford Sound (Ocean Park – In The Rain) as he tackles the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown.
The couple bred Milford Sound in partnership with Annabel’s parents John and Sally Wigley and trade collectively as Beaufort Downs.
Trained at Riccarton by Andrew Carston, Milford Sound was unplaced as a two-year-old before coming into his own as a three-year-old, racing on five occasions for a win and four placings.
The son of Ocean Park finished fourth at his first start at three in early February before running second in the Listed Southland Guineas later that month. A win over 1600 metres at Riccarton followed in March, before he ventured north to run second in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic in early April. He completed his three-year-old campaign with an unlucky third in the Gr.2 ARC Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes at Ellerslie.
Milford Sound is out of the High Chaparral mare In the Rain, an unraced daughter of the O’Reilly stakes winning mare Irlanda. This is the family of the stakes winning mares Chenille, Chintz and her son Not An Option, all descending from the prolific stakes winning mare Seraphic.
The pedigree is indicative of the calibre of mares Wigley and Tuthill have chosen to breed from.
“To have a horse we bred show that potential is very exciting,” Annabel Wigley said.
“It’s a little bitter-sweet though as we lost the mare and he is the only horse we got out of her.
“We bred him with my parents John and Sally Wigley, and he didn’t sell as a yearling. We were going to race him, and sell him as a tried horse, but then Mum and Dad thought it would be nice to race something themselves and bought us out.
“He really is a family horse though, as Ollie broke him in and did all the early work, he was a bit of a tricky yearling and Ollie took a long time to break him in. It’s very satisfying and exciting.”
Wigley is a name strongly entrenched in thoroughbred breeding in the South Island through Inglewood Stud, run by Annabel’s uncle Nick for forty years before passing into the hands of her cousin Gus and his wife Bianca in 2012.
Her great-grandfather Ken Austin established the North Canterbury property around 90 years ago, and it was owned by him until his death in the late 1950’s.
Austin’s daughter Barbara (Bing) – Annabel’s grandmother, was married to Sandy Wigley and they bred and raced the great mare Seamist, bred at Inglewood Stud by Nick’s foundation sire Beaufort Sea.
That stallion was one of the reasons Wigley and her husband chose the name Beaufort Downs for their own thoroughbred farm when it was established in 2018.
The other being taht Tuthill was a member of the prestigious Beaufort Polo Club, from where he represented England.
“Ollie and I were living in England where I was eventing and he was playing polo,” recalled Wigley.
“We were commuting and spending our summers either in New Zealand or England and when we decided it was time to settle down and have a family, I sold my eventers and we went to a Tattersall’s sale and bought a couple of well-bred mares to start our broodmare band.
“It is not like we leapt into the industry blind, I had helped Mum and Dad prepare a few yearlings when I was a youngster at school. Initially we prepped a couple and put them through the Inglewood Stud draft with Gus.
“One of the first yearlings we prepared was Goodanya (Zacinto-Anya) who was Group Three placed, he was the best we had bred before Milford Sound. But by 2018 we had our own property and presented our first draft at Karaka.”
Having competed and achieved at the top level in eventing and polo Wigley and Tuthill are now turning their ambitions to the breeding industry. Their Beaufort Downs property consists of 100 acres near Rangiora and here they run their mares, and spell racehorses for a small number of clients.
According to Wigley it’s a beautiful property and they were really lucky to find it.
“We love it,” she said. “It’s good fun and we can all be there together, it’s a nice family lifestyle. It’s nice for our three children to not have a father that goes to the office all day and that only sees the children at night.”
They now have 13 mares and buy a couple of mares in Australia each year.
This year they bought a Dubawi mare Lost Diamond (ex Lurina) in foal to Capitalist and Via Venoto (All Too Hard-Valdemoro) in foal to Deep Field. They will foal down in Australia and Lost Diamond will go to Wootton Bassett and Via Veneto to So You Think.
The couple are big fans of So You Think and have done quite well with his progeny this year selling a filly by him out of Dazzling Lady for $200,000 to DGR Thoroughbred Services and John Sargent Racing. In 2020 they sold a sister to that filly to Roger James for $75,000 and a colt out of Wynnstay Avenue for $55,000. In 2019 they sold a colt out of Saint Angers for $200,000.
“The mare market is so strong in Australia; the prices have gone through the roof but we have tried to buy nice mares. We aim to be selling some really good yearlings in the near future. This is the end of the market we want to play in.
“We are sending another three mares to Australia with two going to Brazen Beau and one to Bivouac. And of course, we like to support Gus as well so will send two to War Decree and we have two in foal to him.
Two-year-olds by War Decree were placed first and second at the first two-year-old trials this month. He is among a group of young South Island sires who will have their first runners this season.
“The South Island has got some nice young stallions now and we will be supporting them as our broodmare band grows. The new White Robe Lodge horse looks very exciting.”
Wigley was also full of praise for the new synthetic track at Riccarton and believes that will also help regenerate the industry in the South Island.
“The synthetic track its brilliant and really exciting,” she enthused.
“It makes life a lot easier to provide a consistent racing and training surface. It’s really good when you are preparing a horse like Milford Sound for the Group One races at Hawke’s Bay and there has been good feedback so far.
“We have a couple in work with Andrew Carston as well as Mum and Dad having Milford Sound. We like to keep the odd filly ourselves and race and it’s good to know they have a good consistent surface any time of the year to prepare them on.” -Michelle Saba, NZTBA