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Philip and Catherine Brown featu finalists again for the Mercedes Breeder of the Year award

Philip Brown finds the fact that a number of smaller breeders are in the running for the Mercedes Breeder of the year award intriguing.

"It is interesting that none of the major studs are there and that a lot of small breeders won major races during the season," he muses. "From my point of view, I have a handful of mares and some of the big studs will have up to 160 and you just compete with the numbers. Still, the smaller breeders have come up with the results this year," he adds.

Philip also agrees that seeing names among the nominations which do not appear regularly could help those who only have a handful of mares maintain the dream of one day hitting the giddy heights of Mercedes Award nomination.
"It's nice to see," he says.

Despite the fact that El Segundo, the horse whose deeds assured Philip and Catherine Brown a place on the list of nominations, is a solid four generation product of their Ancroft Stud, Philip isn't claiming sole responsibility for the success thus far.

"When that bird is on your shoulder it does help," he says. "They do say that an ounce of luck is worth a ton of judgement!"

He is, though, thrilled that El Segundo improved on a Cox Plate second placing to gain victory this season.

"I ran third in the Cox Plate as an owner (with King Delamere) and now with a second and win with El Segundo I have the trifecta!" he enthuses.

The story of El Segundo began back with Philip's father Bill who leased a mare called Miss Spy from Ted Laxon and put her to Battle-Waggon, who stood at Ancroft.

The result of that mating was Chiquatito, a more than useful winner of four races and also featured in filly-of-the-year events, filling placings on two occasions.

As a broodmare Chiquatito produced six winners from her nine live foals, among them Gold Deck (by Decies) who was a multiple winner of listed races and placed fourth in the VRC Derby.

Another of Chiquatito's offspring was the Otehi Bay mare Raumancer who was Group Three placed prior to going to stud.

Bred to Oak Ridge, Raumancer produced Palos Verdess, the dam of El Segundo.

"I liked her a lot and pointed her out to Colin Little when he came to the farm before the sales," says Philip."She was a bit small but I told Colin I would like to keep a share and he bought her."

Philip and Catherine Brown raced Palos Verdes along with Don Howell, Phillip Murphy and Ian Hickey and after a racing career which saw her notch up 10 wins, including the Group Three Manion Cup in Sydney, the mare returned to Ancroft Stud.

The agreement between the part-owners was that Philip would plan the matings and colts would be sold and fillies retained.

After leaving a colt by Umatilla, subsequently named The Snake, Palos Verdes missed the next season before visiting Pins.

"I was a shareholder in Pins and thought he would be a good mating for the mare. We've been four times now and every colt has been a nice individual," says Philip.
The first of those colts was El Segundo who, as per the breeders' plan, went through the sale ring.

Philip's partners in Palos Verdes bought the colt and, like his dam, he ended up in the stable of Colin Little.

A younger brother, El Hermano again purchased by the same connections with Philip this time taking a 10 percent share, will unfortunately never race.

"He got a bad infection in the pedal bone and they had to remove part of the bone which caused his foot to contract," explains Philip. "He is paddock sound though and we will be looking to stand him at stud next year. He is a lovely horse. The vet suggested putting him down but he was such a fighter he deserves some girlfriends," he adds.

El Hermano will stand in New Zealand and Philip says he is looking at a couple of options at this stage.

As for Palos Verdes, after contracting Equine Influenza in Australia she is in foal to Encosta De Lago and presently in quarantine having just arrived back in New Zealand.

Philip will have his fingers crossed for a filly as he only has one other female from the family at present, a three-quarter sister out of Raumancer named Forelsa, who is due to foal to Oratorio.

Ancroft Stud now has a different focus with Phillip deciding to concentrate on developing a select band of broodmares rather than continuing to stand stallions.
"
It was a bit of a change of direction for us," he says.

Philip's father Bill started out in the mid-1960s and during that time the family have had Awards success with a Filly of the Year title and Summer Eve being nominated for Broodmare of the Year.

"I feel like we're just making up the numbers this year," says Philip. "But we have served our apprenticeship!"

- Mary McCarty