Outstanding stallion Savabeel’s dominance has translated into yet another clean sweep of stallion titles for the 2021/22 season, headlined by an eighth consecutive Grosvenor Award as Champion New Zealand Sire.
Waikato Stud’s superstar resident also claimed his seventh Centaine Award for worldwide progeny earnings and sixth Dewar Award for combined Australian and New Zealand progeny earnings, while the late O’Reilly, also a lynchpin of the Matamata nursery, claimed another Champion Broodmare Sire title.
Savabeel’s unprecedented deeds were acknowledged at the National Breeding Awards, sponsored by AGrowQuip, which were presented at the Sir Don Rowlands Event Centre at Karapiro on Saturday evening.
“It’s been incredible for Savabeel with 19 stakes winners and the highest stakes producer in Australasia and long may it last, he’s a legend,” Waikato Stud’s Mark Chittick said.
“He’s healthy, looks great and last year he served 130-odd mares and got 120 in foal. He turns 21 on September 23 and we will certainly be honouring that, it’s in the planning.
“He is very important to us and very important to New Zealand. The (stallion) awards have been sitting with us on seven or eight occasions and it is lovely to have them again.
Chittick thanked those shareholders and supporters who enabled the farm to purchase the keenly sought-after Graeme Rogerson-trained Cox Plate winner upon his retirement from racing.
“17 or 18 years ago, it was a pretty big job to secure the horse and there was a fair bit of competition,” Chittick said.
“I want to thank those that originally stepped in. The deal happened in about an hour and the next day we were on the phone and got the horse syndicated and good on everyone who has supported the horse from day one. It has been an incredible ride but if it wasn’t for them, we couldn’t have done it.”
Overall, Zabeel’s peerless son Savabeel has a career tally of 125 stakes winners with 27 of them at Group One level, including 2021/22 elite level winners Mo’unga, Noverre, Probabeel, Savy Yong Blonk, The Chosen One and The Perfect Pink.
His contribution was immense to another stellar season for Waikato Stud, who celebrated 13 home-bred stakes winners, including five at Group One level and 17 black type-placed horses.
The Matamata farm’s efforts were acknowledged with the prestigious Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan Breeder of the Year Award, the eighth time it has been so honoured, with Waikato Stud, Garry Chittick & Chittick Investments (& Partners) receiving the accolade.
Its elite level winners featured Mo’unga, successful in the Winx Stakes (1400m), Probabeel who won the Might And Power Stakes (2000m), Noverre claimed the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), Never Been Kissed triumphed in the Flight Stakes (1600m) and Tiptronic won the Zabeel Classic (2000m).
“It is another season that we are extremely proud of and to get this award again – Garry and I and Mary and Pip and the big Waikato Stud family – it means so much to us,” Mark Chittick said.
“It is what we do (breeding horses), and it is actually only what we do.
“It has been an incredible year and the efforts of so many people go into getting an award like this and we are very thankful.
Chittick was loathe to single out a season highlight, but the racing heroics of Savabeel’s son Noverre and the farm subsequently securing his return to join his father at Waikato Stud was hugely satisfying.
“Noverre was a product of the farm and he’s back here, albeit a bit prematurely due to an unfortunate injury, but we’re very happy he’s on our stallion roster,” he said.
“In the 2000 Guineas, he was last on the turn and buried back on the rail and talking to Opie (Bosson), he just said once he got him out the race was won, which was pretty incredible.
“Any Group One is a good one, but that was very special for us.”
The Seton Otway Horse of the Year was Verry Elleegant, with her octogenarian breeder Don Goodwin named New Zealand Small Breeder of the Year – NZTBA.
Verry Elleegant’s dam Opulence shared the honours for Eight Carat Broodmare of the Year with Galileo mare Baggy Green, dam of Tofane, No Compromise and Benaud.
The Mary Lynne Ryan Young Achiever Award went to Waikato Stud’s Bloodstock Manager Jaimee Gowler.
Haunui Farm Managing Director Mark Chitty was named NZTBA Personality of the Year, with the third generation stud master and veterinarian making a broad contribution to racing and breeding via a host of voluntary roles which include as board member of the Racing Hall of Fame and the Equine Health Trust, in addition to playing a pivotal role in the merger of the Auckland Racing Club and Counties Racing Club to form Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, where he is Vice President, having previously been President of the Counties Racing Club.
Chitty has also served as the Vice President of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and on the Board of New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing