"Bred To Win"

NZ On Screen is the online showcase of New Zealand TV and film; fully funded by NZ On Air. Editor Paul Ward very kindly contacted us to provide the link to a classic 1960s National Film Unit documentary "Bred To Win", about the NZ thoroughbred industry.

Paul noted that "Bred To Win is a documentary looking at thoroughbred racehorse breeding in NZ, an industry appraised as producing "the world's finest racing thoroughbreds" (e.g. 1966 Melbourne Cup winner Galilee). Made in 1968, when racing could be described as our "national sport" the film visits leading stud farms including Te Parae and Trelawney to follow the life of a foal, from its birth through yearling sales and training, to Wellington Cup race day when roads are gridlocked with "a congregation whose bible is a racing almanac".
Footage includes a 'good citizenship' school for jockeys". Note the trackwork gallops - not a crash helmet in sight and hair flowing in the breeze. Another thing that amused me was the 'clear to go' signal to the Starter - a red and white tin raised up on a rope!

The documentary features plenty of legends of thoroughbred racing in NZ: Le Filou, Alcimedes, Bart Cumming, Agricola, etc I was particularly delighted to watch it as much of the footage was filmed at Te Parae Stud in the Wairarapa near Masterton, my old home town. Alistair Williams, a founding member of the NZTBA features, along with good looking sons Tom and Ritchie Williams. My father-in-law Jim Wallace was an integral part of the Te Parae team during the stud season as the resident veterinarian. Imagine my delight to see him crop up on screen doing the vet work at Te Parae; he may have had his sleeves rolled up, but no overalls for this vet - a shirt and tie no less. I must ask him if the tie was part of his 'daily attire', or a one off for the cameras? Jim was a ''handsome devil' back then and is still going strong in his late 80's. The legacy of the Wairarapa Thoroughbred continues on. Marg and Jim are still breeding and racing horses after all these years as too is Alistair's grandson Sam at Little Avondale.
If you are on broadband, make yourself a coffee and check it out:
Click here to view

- Janine Wallace


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