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Six outstanding finalists for 2006 Breeder of the Year title

The 2005-06 season produced another rich harvest of international success for New Zealand thoroughbred breeders whose achievements are well-represented by the six 2006 finalists for the NZTBA's highest honour, the Mercedes New Zealand Breeder of the Year award.

Two are previous winners, while four are first time-finalists, from Canterbury, Hawke's Bay, Central Districts and Waikato. Collectively they have bred 23 winners of 34 Group & Listed races in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore & Europe. The tally includes ten winners of 13 international Group One events.

Nominations for the award are made by the NZTBA Council and branches, and the Council votes by secret ballot to select the winner(s), who will be announced at the Mercedes New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Awards dinner in Auckland on Friday 8 September.

The finalists are:

GARRY CHITTICK, Waikato Stud, Matamata

Garry's roll of honour this season is headed by four international Group One winners: Glamour Puss & Starcraft, bred in his own name; and Legs & Marju Snip, bred by Waikato Stud 2001 Ltd, of which he is a director. Together, these four horses have won five Group One races in England, France, Australia and New Zealand. In addition Garry is responsible for another five Group & Listed winners last seaso: Arenti in Singapore, Bashful, Crepe De Chine & Hazard in New Zealand and Breezy in Australia.

The undoubted star has been the Australian-owned Starcraft, retired to stud in England and Australia after brilliant victories at Newmarket and Longchamp in September 2005. These performances earned him a Timeform rating of 128, although were inexplicably not enough to win him a single vote as Australia's International Performer of the Year.

Waikato Stud, owned by Garry with his family, has also had another highly successful season with its stallions and yearling sale results. The Stud sold 56 yearlings for a total of $4.1 million in Australia and New Zealand, achieving a top price of $A400,000 for the Pins-Zeffi filly at the Australian Easter Yearling Sale. Waikato Stud sires O'Reilly and Pins ended the 2005-06 season in third and fourth positions on the New Zealand General Sires' list. O'Reilly is currently fourth on the equivalent Singapore table, and concluded the Hong Kong season in fifth place on the sires' list. No Excuse Needed was the leading New Zealand-based first season sire at the 2006 NZ Premier Sale. Waikato Stud's past champion sire Centaine won the New Zealand Broodmare Sires' title for the first time, and made the top ten on the Australian Broodmare Sires' list. Garry is a previous winner of the New Zealand Breeder of the Year title, in 1993 and 2005, and was also a finalist in 2002, 2003 & 2004.

Group One winners GLAMOUR PUSS (bred by Garry Chittick), ZARIUS (Bob Emery)
& SNAZZY (Jack, Shirley & Les Georgetti)

BOB EMERY, Belvedere Farm, Cambridge

Bob Emery became well-known in New Zealand thoroughbred racing initially as a part-owner of the brilliant Mouawad, and then as the owner of the outstanding Group One-winning mare Champagne and Group 3 winner Palia in the late 1990s. Four years ago he established Belvedere Farm, on 90 acres near Cambridge, as the base for his private thoroughbred breeding operation, and in a very short time, working with around 20 mares, he's achieved notable success as a breeder. His principal performers this season have been Australian Group One winner Mr Celebrity, G2 winner and Group One-placed Zarius (also raced by Bob) and smart stakes-winning three-year-old Dr Green.

Belvedere Farm also sold six yearlings in 2006, for an average price of almost $40,000, and achieved a top price of $130,000 for Zarius' half-brother by Viking Ruler at the New Zealand Premier Sale.
JACK, SHIRLEY & the late LES GEORGETTI, Marton, Central Districts

The Georgetti family has compiled a marvellous record as thoroughbred owner-breeders and trainers over more than 40 years.

It's appropriate that the two headliners for Jack, his wife Shirley and late father Les this season include Kew. She is the fifth Group winner the Georgettis have bred from the excellent family established by their 1965 yearling sale purchase, Havering, herself a Group winner.

Kew is raced by her breeders and trained by Geoff Georgetti, while Snazzy was a $30,000 New Zealand Select Sale purchase by Don Frampton. Their dams Spurs and Ballini are among the six broodmares currently owned by the Georgettis, who are based near Marton.

Jack and his son Geoff have also enjoyed success this season as the part-owner and trainer (but not the breeders) of Avondale Cup G1 winner Creil.

Group One winners GEE I JANE (bred by Kieran McCarthy), BEST GIFT (Jessica & Robert Thomas)
& DARCI BRAHMA (Peter & Philip Vela)

KIERAN McCARTHY, Hastings, Hawke's Bay

It's fair to say that one horse, Miss Distinction, has changed Kieran McCarthy's life.

Around a decade ago she fulfilled his lifelong ambition to become a racehorse owner and, on lease from Trevor & Delma Hurley, has made him the owner-breeder of a brilliant dual Group One winner in Gee I Jane. She, her winning half-brother The Silence Sir, and a two-year-old half-brother by Spectatorial are the only horses Kieran currently owns.

From ten starts (four in New Zealand, six in Australia) this season, Gee I Jane has won twice and been placed five times, all in Group races. She is the only New Zealand-bred, -owned and -trained horse to win a Group One race in Australia during the 2005-06 season.

Kieran and his wife Margaret live on 48 acres near Hastings.
JESSICA & ROBERT THOMAS, Ashburton, Canterbury

Formerly a trainer, most notably of Group 2 winner Bonsai Pipeline, Robert Thomas switched to breeding horses with his wife Jessica, and they elected to concentrate on just one mare, Shock Attack. The Thomases leased her as a weanling in 1990 and later exercised their right of purchase after she'd won three races, including a stakes race.

At stud Shock Attack has proved herself the proverbial gem, leaving four winners from five foals to race, including this season's Group-performing brothers, Hurrah in New Zealand, and Best Gift in local and international company in Hong Kong. Between them, these two horses won four races, three at Group level, and compiled ten placings from 18 starts in 2005-06.

Jessica and Robert pursue their breeding business with three mares (Shock Attack, one of her daughters and a half-sister) on a fifty-acre property near Ashburton.
P.J. & P.M. VELA LTD (Peter & Philip Vela) Pencarrow Stud, Hamilton

This year Peter & Philip Vela claimed Group One classic winners on both sides of the Tasman: 2000 Guineas winner Darci Brahma, who also won the Otaki-Maori WFA, in New Zealand, and Australian Derby winner De Beers. Their list of major performers in 2005-06 is completed by four Listed Stakes winners, three of them two-year-olds.

Under the banner of Pencarrow Stud they also enjoyed remarkable success in the sale-ring, selling eighteen yearlings at the New Zealand Premier Sale for an average price of more than $300,000. That included the top-priced lot of the sale, the Stravinsky-Grand Echezeaux colt, purchased by David Ellis for $2.2 million.

Peter and Philip won the New Zealand Breeder of the Year award in 2000 and 2002, and were also finalists in 1994 and 1995.

Pencarrow Stud, established in 1979, now comprises 300 acres between Hamilton and Cambridge and is home to around fifty high-quality broodmares, among them Peter & Philip's 2001 Melbourne and Caulfield Cups winner Ethereal.

- Susan Archer


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