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Waikato NZTBA Branch Member John Bromley has an adrenelin rush with Kingdoms

Kingdoms wins the Listed Mercedes Benz Centenary Mile at Eagle Farm - Photo NZTM website
Kingdoms wins the Listed Mercedes Benz Centenary Mile at Eagle Farm

Photo NZTM website

Taupo based entrepreneur John Bromley, principal of Bromley Bloodstock, entered the thoroughbred game as an owner around 11 years ago.

He didn't come from a racing background, he doesn't bet, but as an adrenalin junkie he was up for a new challenge. He is passionate by nature, and believes that words that best sum him up are; wow, passionate, intuitive, and synchronous and he believes in fate.

His son Jamie suggested horse-racing as an interest for him as he is "a competitive bugger who loves an adrenalin rush", and like most challenges he has faced in the business world, he confronted it with the same principles and acumen.

Recently he achieved a major milestone with Bromley Bloodstock, owning his 100th winner when Wow Whata Princess (Darci Brahma- Owhata Princess), a filly he also bred, won at Otaki on June 20th, then a day later win 101 came when Kingdoms, a High Chaparral [IRE] gelding, bred and part-owned by Bromley, won the listed Mercedes Benz Centenary Mile at Eagle Farm.

"The thrill is seeing my colours go across the line first. I had them specially designed, and I wanted them to be distinctive. My intuition told me to have some bright pretty colours and not the traditional stripes and stars etc. I was on my way to see Duncan Crawford and driving to his office it hit me I wanted the Flying Pegasus and the colours purple gold and red. Every time my colours cross the line, the satisfaction and the adrenalin rush is huge," enthused Bromley, a member of the Waikato branch of the NZTBA.

Kingdoms win came just a couple of weeks after Julinsky Prince (Darci-Brahma-Julinsky Princess) had recorded two Listed wins and Bromley Bloodstock's gallant open handicapper Thorn Prince had shown a welcome return to form winning at Awapuni. All these recent winners carry the distinctive Flying Pegasus brand owned by Bromley Bloodstock that is also the logo on their distinctive colours.

Kingdoms was recording his third win, his second at stakes level and his first for his new trainer, expat New Zealander Brian Smith.
Bromley bred Kingdoms from his O'Reilly mare A Real Princess, a mare he bought as a yearling and raced to win two races. She is a sister to the Group winner Unique Jewellery, half-sister to Marju Snip, and Do Ra Mi, and descends from the champion three-year-old filly of her year Candide, the dam of Nadeem and Billion Win.

He is the first foal of the mare and is by High Chaparral.

"I am an intuitive person by nature, and I developed a strong attachment to certain stallions. I believed in High Chaparral right from the start, from when I saw the first DVD put out by Coolmore, I know his race record by heart. He performed outstandingly against the best horses in Europe and I supported him right from the start," enthused Bromley.

"He was a nicely conformed little colt and sold for $470,000. I made it known to a number of potential buyers at the sale that I would buy back a 25% share. John O'Shea confirmed this with me before he went into the ring, but he was outbid by Bart Cummings. It was a dream result - who wouldn't be happy about selling a horse to the master.

"I talked to Danny Roulston and asked him to find out whether Bart and his client were interested in selling me back 25% - Roulston came back and said they had checked me out. They found that I had had a lot of success in a short time and they hoped that might rub off on the horse. I was ushered into Sir Patrick Hogan's tent, and seated at a round table and granted an audience with Bart. I asked him why he purchased the colt and he simply said "because John, he ticked all my boxes."

"As a minor shareholder I don't have a say in things, but I know there was no bad blood when the decision was made to give him to John O'Shea After all he was the under bidder," according to Bromley.

Under O'Shea's care he won a race and then ran fourth in the Rosehill Guineas, before running third in the Derby behind Dundeel.
"I was there that day" recalled Bromley, "and felt as though I had won the race, such was the thrill of having a horse placed in the Australian Derby. This is the thrill I get out of racing. The worst possible feeling is to see your horse going backwards in the straight in a race."

Kingdoms went on to win the Listed City Tatt's Cup and was set for the Lexus in Melbourne, but was injured in the race and returned to the Hunter Valley to spell.

When John O'Shea was appointed Darley's trainer, the three owners were asked to consider trainers, and Michael O'Keefe (who has the majority share 65% in the horse) wanted to go to Brian Smith. Bromley asked around and learnt that Smith is a good trainer and has a way with stayers, and of course he did train the mighty Balmerino to run second in the Arc.

"Brian rang me some weeks ago and said that he had been to see the horse in the Hunter Valley and he regards himself as a horse chiropractor and that straightaway he saw something wrong with the horse not being square in the backend. The New South Wales jockeys had all said he was not the easiest horse to ride and had a tendency to hang. Brian did his work on the horse and the staff at the farm were amazed at the difference in the horse. They felt he had done his magic.

"I was blown away by the win, days later I am still buzzing, and I can still feel the adrenalin buzz talking about it," he said with infectious enthusiasm. "He ran relatively straight and is a much better horse this time in. Quite clearly his objective for the upcoming season is the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

"I like to think that there is a possibility that I will have two live chances for the Melbourne Cup this year. I have bought a share in a Group Three winner in Europe who is already qualified for the Cup. His name is Singing and he is by Singspiel - he was bought in France but is racing in Germany. He is trained by Andreas Wohler and recently ran second in a Group Two Hansa Preis. He is already qualified but it's just a question of getting weight now.

"We need to get him up and the plan of the management group is to have him ready to go straight into the Caulfield Cup. Kris Lees will train him. I bought him through Australian Bloodstock - they are the same group that brought in Lucas Cranach and Mawingo.

"Their strike rate is very impressive. They search in Europe for these staying types who are not over the odds in their purchase price. He is an entire with a good pedigrees and is a long term breeding prospect.

"But like politics, a week is a long time in racing and you take your chances when you can."

Harking back to A Real Princess, she has an unraced three-year-old filly by Thorn Park, and a two-year-old colt by Red Giant called A Red Prince. This was retained by Bromley Bloodstock and is in work with and rated very highly by Fraser Auret. She has a yearling filly by Cape Blanco but unfortunately recently aborted the Darci Brahma foal she was carrying.

"Thorn Prince is my big red chestnut. I am partial to chestnut horses, partly because of the deeds of Princess Coup. Fraser always rated him and now he has won eight races. He went off the boil after he had won four straight and had five months out. He likes dead to soft tracks, and he came back and won over 1400 metres. He has got a decent win in him and will chase some good races, like the Taumaranui Cup.

"That's one of my big beefs with the state of the industry here. He had won six races by the time he was four and had won about $40,000, crikey dick, he probably cost me the thick end of $80,000. Most owners would give their right proverbial to win six races, it belies belief to race for that sort of money.

"The industry is in an extreme state. The trouble with this industry is that it doesn't listen – it's generally run by old dogs who are not prepared to try new tricks, and an old boy's network. I am an expert on marketing and have offered my skills to NZTR on a number of occasions but they are not interested. It absolutely pains me, people like me want to help but are so frustrated," he stressed.

"This industry at the moment is stifled. It's in a Titanic state and is not helped by the rapidly declining number of foals. If you liken it to the housing industry, when there is a housing shortage you can fix that by hiring a lot of builders and building 1000 houses in six months, but you can't produce 24 top broodmares from nowhere in six months.

"I often think I'm outta here, and then I'll win another a race and even if it's only a $7,000 race it's an adrenalin rush, a bloody expensive adrenalin rush mind you!" he exclaimed.

Julinsky Prince's rise to stakes class is not surprising either. The four-year-old Darci Brahma gelding was placed at two in the Listed Castletown Stakes, and has now won eight races including the Listed Manawatu ITM ANZAC Mile and the James Bull Rangitikei Gold Cup. Also trained by Fraser Auret, who has the majority of the Bromley Bloodstock horses, he has now been put aside for a spell before a preparation aimed at the Hawkes Bay Spring Carnival.

Julinsky Prince is the product of two of Bromley's early successes in the industry as he shared in the ownership of both his sire and his dam.
After his son Jamie suggested he get a racehorse, Bromley ventured out to Karaka to the 2003 Yearling Sales for a look. While there he was approached by Neil O'Styke who was helping parade horses for Ardsley Stud's Jim Wallace. Although he couldn't recall O'Styke at the time he had at one time rented a flat off Bromley in Wellington.

Bromley takes up the story.

"He then said if I was interested in a horse he was putting a syndicate together to race a filly and there was 15% left. I told him to call me next week and I would meet him to discuss it. That filly was Madam Shinko and I ended up being the largest shareholder. Once she ran third in the Castletown Stakes I was locked in for life," he said philosophically.

"In that year I decided that I wanted to really get involved. I am an analytical person by nature and part of the attraction is to eliminate a lot of the risk. Downsize the risk and improve my odds. Breeding is an imperfect science and so I decided to consult a pedigree analyst. I heard Clive Harper was the best, a world authority so I consulted Clive. We became very good friends and I still feel the loss of his death in May 2012. I was one of only two people asked to speak at his funeral.

"In November 2003 we went to the Ready To Run sale and he had earmarked two horses together, both by up-and-coming first season stallions who had proved themselves in Europe. One was by Stravinsky, the other by Cape Cross. The first, by Stravinsky out of Juliette Heights, and traced back to that fabulous mare Juliette Marny was passed in for $70,000. I talked to Sir Patrick and he told me what he thought she would be worth and I paid $80,000 for her.

"She was my first little star and won nine races. She put up a brilliant performance in the 1000 Guineas when she ran third. She got injured and missed the whole of the next year. She epitomised what racing is about. She stood 15 hands high wringing wet but she had a huge ticker and a will to win, and that drive to the line.

"The other filly was Cape Princess who won three races and was stakes placed twice. She has left the stakes placed A Fashion Princess.
"Julinsky Princess's first foal is Julinsky Prince and following his win in the ANZAC Mile, I dedicated my acceptance speech to Clive Harper.
"Her second foal is Foreign Prince (High Chaparral). I sold him at Karaka for $100,000. He is small like his mum and you just don't get the money for small yearlings. David Payne bought him and I bought back 5%. He may be little but he has already won two races, leading all the way on both occasions and running cracking times. I went and saw him recently at Rosehill and David Payne, who is a pretty up front sort of guy, said to me, 'John this is definitely a black type horse.'"

"Painfully she missed to Lonhro and then missed twice to Darci Brahma, but thanks to the care of Scott Eagleton and wisdom of Marks Ewen she is safely in foal to Darci Brahma, effectively a full brother or sister to Julinsky Prince. I have to decide what to do with her this year, send her to Australia where she mates up well on paper with Redoute's Choice, High Chaparral and Street Cry, or leave her home and send her back to Darci."

Shortly after his purchase of Julinsky Princess, Bromley took a 10% shareholding in a Danehill(USA) colt being syndicated by Te Akau Racing's David Ellis as a colt with stallion potential. That colt out of Grand Echezeaux was Darci Brahma and he has provided Bromley with some of his biggest thrills in the short time he has been in the game.

"The way he won the T J Smith thundering down the outside, I led him back to scale after that win. That was my biggest thrill. My son called me before the Sires Produce Stakes and told me to stop being such a woos and to have a bet, so I put $100 a place on him. He ran fourth, so that was the end of my punting, I didn't back him in the T J Smith when he paid $37.00. Winning the 2000 Guineas and the Telegraph were huge highlights," he said reflectively. I still have a 10% share in Darci and can send eight mares each year.

It was while on that trip to Brisbane and his association with Ellis that lead to the ownership of his other early champion, the outstanding Group One-winning mare Princess Coup.

"Clive and I selected her out of the June sale at the Magic Millions. I was over there to watch Darci win the T J Smith. The day before the sale I told David Ellis what lot numbers I was interested in. However I was only prepared to go to $175,000 for her and I was going to give her to John O'Shea. It soon became obvious she was going to go for more than that. David asked me if I was still interested in buying the horse, and if so, Ray Coupland was interested in joining me. I knew Ray slightly from sharing in the ownership of Darci so I said yes and Ray and I bought the horse 50/50.

"The highlights and the thrills with the horse were huge. When she won her first Kelt when it was almost a quadruple dead heat, I thought she had run fourth, I was with Jamie my son and we were walking downstairs when he said she had won, and it was on the screen I couldn't believe it. The next year she won easily.

"The New Zealand Oaks, where she had one of the greatest winning margins ever in that race, and that was exciting. The most excitement however, was when she ran in the Cox Plate, it was all the hype surrounding the race, the breakfast on the Tuesday before, the little commemorative Cox Plate which still has a pride of place in my trophy cabinet, that was exciting. Winning the Filly of the Year, and three or four Horse of the Year awards were also tremendous highlights."

In his bloodstock portfolio, as well as a great number of racehorses, Bromley has 10 mares and plans to send at least four to Australia this spring visiting the likes of High Chaparral, Redoute's Choice (AUS), Street Cry (Ire) and Snitzel (AUS). He believes the New Zealand stallion ranks are getting a bit thin.

"O'Reilly didn't even get offered this year and he is 21, Pentire is about 22, and Pins is 17, so that leaves Savabeel, Darci and Ocean Park - things are looking a bit thin.

"Clive Harper was like a father figure to me and we got on extremely well. He was a huge mentor to me. Now I use Henry Jooste and Earl Feck. I also consult the Brain system and I have developed the Bromley stallion bank. So I work out a score from Henry, Earl, Brain, Goldmine, True Nicks and colour code it all and finally add conformation and type. I make the final decision based on that system. My philosophy in striving to breed successful black type performers, is to minimise the odds, carefully listen to the experts, study my scores, and follow my intuition with stallions like High Chaparral, Thorn Park, Darci, etc.

"Gary Player once said 'The harder I practice the luckier I get' I hate the word luck. I believe you make your own luck, so I would say, "The more intellectual input and detailed analysis the more fortunate I hope to be", and so proves the case for John Bromley and Bromley Bloodstock in hitting a centenary of winners.

- Michelle Saba


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