By Dennis Ryan
Warwick Jeffries deflects the suggestion that he has a magic formula when it comes to breeding Group One winners.
It’s hardly surprising that more than once lately it’s been put to him that there must something in the water at his Oropi (near Tauranga) farm or that he has some special formula. After all, in the past two months two Jeffries-bred horses have been Group One winners, and all up he is responsible for three elite winners in less than five years.
In the autumn of 2018 Hinchinbrook filly Seabrook (ex Midnight Revels) set the ball rolling when she won the Gr. 1 ATC Champagne Stakes at Randwick. Proisir gelding Dark Destroyer (ex All Can Party) was next with his Gr. 1 Tarzino Plate win at Hastings in September, and at Riccarton on Monday another by the Rich Hill Stud stallion, unbeaten filly Legarto (ex Geordie Girl), completed the set in the Gr. 1 Barneswood Farm NZ 1000 Guineas.
“If I had a secret method I’m not going to tell you!” Jeffries laughed when RaceForm put the question to him. “I don’t want to sound like a smart Alec or anything when all I’m setting out to do is breed good horses.
“You can never be confident that every horse you breed is going to be a winner, but it is very satisfying when it works out that way.”
Even more incredible in Jeffries’ list of achievements is that the broodmare band he runs alongside his cattle and sheep farming activities numbers just six. And it would be an understatement to say that he has ridden the wave of success being enjoyed by Proisir.
“I bought a share in Proisir when he first went to stud and I’ve picked up another one since. It’s worked out pretty well for me.”
Jeffries reports that Dark Destroyer’s dam All Can Party has produced a “gorgeous” Proisir filly this spring and has returned, while Geordie Girl, the dam of Legarto, was empty this year but is now back in foal to the sires’ premiership leader.
Family involvement includes his two older children, Alice (21) and Callum (19), who have combined tertiary studies with employment in the industry. Alice, in fact, was recently announced as one of the two recipients of the NZTBA’s Irish National Stud Scholarship under the auspices of the Keith and Faith Taylor Trust.
If Jeffries has one regret, it’s that his late father Brian, from whom his farming and thoroughbred breeding pursuits stemmed, is not alive to share in the success.
“That’s where it all started and I’m so grateful; if only he was still here to be part of what’s happening now.”