May's been a momentous month for Nearco Stud

May 2014 will be remembered by Nearco Bloodstock Limited as a very momentous month, as they took top honours at the weanling sale and bred their first stakes winner.

Established only four years ago by Christchurch entrepreneur Greg Tomlinson, Nearco topped the weanling sale at Karaka with an O'Reilly colt out of Miraculous Miss (AUS) and later in the month she produced their first stakes-winner when Avisto (Tavistock – Miraculous Miss) won the Listed Graeme Thomson Jewellers Great Northern Foal Stakes.

At the New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling, Broodmare and Mixed Bloodstock Sale, Miraculous Miss's weanling colt by O'Reilly was purchased by the astute pin hookers Ascot Farm for $160,000 from the draft of Curraghmore Stud, who also sold on Nearco's behalf, the second and third top-priced weanlings, giving them the title of leading vendor.

The second highest-priced weanling, the Cape Blanco colt, was the second foal out of the stakes winning mare Tip The Wink - the first mare bought for Nearco - and sold to another good judge in Bruce Perry for $100,000, while the third weanling was a Savabeel son of the Group One-placed stakes winning mare Mill Duckie who sold for $95,000.

When Tomlinson, a racehorse owner for many years, decided to become a breeder and establish a serious breeding business he engaged the services of Cambridge bloodstock agent Adrian Clark to secure a portfolio of mares and manage his bloodstock interests. And ironically it was a syndicate managed by Clark that leased Avisto from Nearco.

According to Clark the stakes win by Avisto was a very significant result for a number of reasons.

"It was Nearco's very first stakes winner after being in business for such a relatively short period of time, and Avisto is out of one of the very early purchases we made. As well, not in the least, it was the first stakes winner for Tavistock (Montjeu[IRE]- Upstage[GB]) and it was a great result for the Challenge Racehorse Syndications.

A maiden before her win in the Great Northern Foal Stakes, Avisto had been placed twice in her previous four starts. With the decision by her trainer John Sargent to relocate permanently to Sydney, she has been spelled, and will shortly join the stable of Roger James for a tilt at the early spring three-year-old fillies' races.

She is raced on lease by the Challenge Racing Syndicates with no right of purchase.

"Challenge Racing Syndicates is not a part of Nearco Stud Limited and was established by me," said Clark.

"It is just fortunate that I have access to lease such well-bred quality fillies to race with no outlay. I would say that through Challenge I have introduced 150 people into the industry with very little cost to them, and we have had reasonable success. There are about 50 in this filly and about 25 of them were at Ellerslie to witness her stakes win."

Avisto is the first foal of the Exceed and Excel (AUS) mare Miraculous Miss that Clarke purchased for Tomlinson in Sydney for A$170,000. Her second foal, a colt by O'Reilly, was sold at the Premier Sale to Mick Price for $160,000 and her third foal is the aforementioned top priced weanling. Miraculous Miss is currently in foal to Ocean Park.

"She met our criteria - she was a young mare, straight off the race track. She was a stakes performer and from a strong family. Besides that, she was a good looker and I just loved her physically. And she has done the job.

"We sent her to Tavistock as we had a share in him and it was his first year, then she went to O'Reilly twice as he was more commercial, and the first O'Reilly sold well, and the second was the sale topper. We have decided to send her to Australia this season where she will join half a dozen or so of the Nearco mares although we haven't decided yet which stallion she will be going to."

Miraculous Miss was a winner at two, and was placed in the Listed MVRC William Crockett Stakes. She is a sister to Outdo, also a listed winner at two, being out of the Group One placed Rhythm (USA) mare Galway Bay, herself a winner of seven races.

She in turn was out of the Zabeel mare Ballycairn, herself a half-sister to the Group Two New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes winner Deianira (Taufan [FR]). Ballycairn is also the dam of the Group Two winner Pure Harmony and the stakes placed two-year-old winner Irish Rebel.
Nearco Stud have around 40 broodmares on the books with the flag-bearer being Quintessential (Fast 'N' Famous[AUS]-Florette [USA]), whom they raced until June last year when she ran second in the Group Two Brisbane Cup. Previously she had won the Group Two Eagle Farm Cup and the Group Three Doomben Cup. As a three-year-old she won the Group One Queensland Oaks, and the Group Three Desert Gold Stakes. She is currently in foal to Fastnet Rock (AUS).

"It makes sense for her to reside in Australia, that is where she performed best and that is where we will most likely sell her progeny. She is based at Mike Fleming's Broadwater Farm just outside Scone. We have six or seven mares there and that is where Miraculous Miss will be based as well.

"Nearco has shares in All To Hard (AUS) and Dundeel so it makes sense to have mares based in Australia," he added.

"The rest of the mares are spread between Curraghmore Stud, Wellfield Stud, Bradbury Park and Highden Park, and the yearlings and weanlings get split and sold from those farms as well. We have around 15 young fillies in the system, with six on lease to Challenge Syndicates and the others all raced by Nearco.

"We took 18 yearlings to Karaka last summer and sold 18. We took five to the South Island sale and sold five and we took five weanlings to Karaka in May and sold five. We are serious about selling and we sell at all ends of the market. Despite selling five weanlings we still have 20 yearlings to go to Karaka next summer.

Nearco has also invested significantly in stallion shares and that dictates some of their matings each year. Otherwise the recommendations are made by Clark and discussed with Tomlinson.

"I make the recommendations and then we sit down and work through each one and Greg always puts in his penny's worth. He likes to make sure they are balanced with commercial appeal, and reduce the risk factor. That was the decision we made with Miraculous Miss by sending her to O'Reilly twice and that has worked.

"Greg is a realistic we have had our share of disasters but we just keep working hard trying to place our horses at the right sales and breed to the right stallions, and so far we are ticking along nicely," he concluded.
And no doubt he will be hoping for a few more months like May.

- Michelle Saba


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