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FEATURE: Celebrating NZ breeder Jeanette Broome

You know someone is special when well over one hundred people from all around the country turn up to their 70th birthday party.

That's what happened at Te Rapa Racecourse on Saturday 1 April, to celebrate the 70th birthday of Jeanette Broome, ONZM.

Jeanette Broome with Jezabeel's 1998 VRC Melbourne Cup
Jeanette is regarded with great affection and respect by her fellow members of the NZTBA, as someone who has contributed in large and small ways to other people's success.

She is a much loved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to many. And she's one of New Zealand's very best private thoroughbred breeders, responsible for major winners in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and England.

The party was a surprise organised by Jeanette's good friend Faye Bax, with help from Jezabeel's owners, Adrian Burr and Peter Tatham, who generously supplied the music and champagne for the evening, and Joe Walls, who hosted a "This Is Your Life" presentation for Jeanette. Faye has kindly made the script for the evening's presentation available to us, and it is the basis for the following summary of Jeanette's life – at least so far!

Jeanette was born Jeanette Buchanan in Ross on the West Coast of the South Island on 4 April 1936, the daughter of Emma and Gilbert Buchanan. She was the middle child in a family of three, with two brothers, Ian and David.

Jeanette completed her schooling in Ross and worked in the Post Office where her father was the Postmaster. This is where she first met her future husband Jack, but before settling down Jeanette travelled to Australia with Jack's sister Helen.

Helen and Jeanette became great friends and Helen was bridesmaid for Jeanette at her wedding to Jack in Christchurch, where Jack and his brother Rex owned a lunch bar in Colombo Street.

From there Jeanette and Jack moved to Wellington in 1963, where Jack's parents built the Olympic Hotel in Lower Hutt, a business which involved the entire family. Although busy with two young children, Paul and Carey, Jeanette would fill in for the hotel cook. She also had time to meet hotel guests attending the National Yearling Sale at Trentham – contacts who sparked her interest in thoroughbred breeding and racing.

Jeanette later purchased two ten-acre blocks in Moores Valley, Wainuiomata, and began farming on a small scale.

Well-known Waikato owners, breeders & vendors Sally & June House
Lois Clark & NZTBA Life Member Norm Hawthorne of Paramount Stud

After selling their interests in the Hotel to Rex and Helen in 1973, Jeanette and Jack purchased 97 acres at Eureka near Hamilton, and Jeanette began to pursue her now full-blown passion for horses, under the name of Loch-Haven Thoroughbreds.

Jeanette purchased broodmares and began a long involvement with the Waikato branch of the NZTBA. She was on the inaugural committee that organised the inaugural Group One dinner, along with Mary-Lynne Ryan and David Benjamin.

Jeanette served on the NZTBA Waikato committee for some 20 years, working alongside Presidents John Aubrey, David Benjamin, Jim Otway, Ron Ladd, Gordon Calder, Russell Warwick and Mark Wilson.

The highlights of Jeanette's career as an owner, breeder and yearling vendor are numerous:

  • She has the honour of breeding winners of two of the world's greatest races: the Melbourne Cup at Flemington and the Grand National at Aintree.
  • In 1991 Seagram, bred by Jeanette, and trained by David Barons for the chairman of Seagram's Distillery, won the Aintree Grand National in England. He is one of only three New Zealand-bred horses to win the race.
    David Barons, right, with the NZTBA's Michael Martin, owner-breeder Ngaire Fraser & Anna Barons
  • That year Jeanette was a very popular winner of the inaugural BMW New Zealand Breeder of the Year title and she remains one of only three women to win the award in her own name.
  • Six years later Jezabeel, bred and sold by Jeanette to trainer Brian Jenkins for Adrian Burr and Peter Tatham, won the Auckland Cup, and in 1998 won a memorable Melbourne Cup.
  • The best horse Jeanette has raced herself is undoubtedly her homebred mare Moire, who won eight races from the stable of Carl Petersen, including the ARC Easter Handicap G1 and prizemoney of more than $165,000.
  • Jeanette has had a very successful partnership with Hawke's Bay owner-breeder Don Gordon, who incidentally shares her birthday. Together they bred and raced Full Noise, winner of seven races including the STC Stayers' Cup LR in Sydney. In 2000 they sold her half-brother by Zabeel for $200,000, and a year later a half-brother by Entrepreneur for $120,000. Named General Booth, the Entrepreneur colt later won the MVRC JRA Cup LR.

Lorna Moore with Highview Stud's
Brent Gillovic
Dual New Zealand G1 winner Bazelle, and Australian G1-winning filly Unearthly, bred by Jeanette's close friend, Victorian-based Kiwi Lorna Moore were both sold through the Loch-Haven draft.

In 2000 Jeanette was awarded the ONZM for her services to the thoroughbred industry, and in 2005 she was named FLAIR Quiet Achiever of the Year at the NZTBA Waikato Group One dinner.

One of Jeanette's unfulfilled ambitions has been to win a Fashions in the Field title, so her final surprise for the evening was to be "awarded" a sash specially made for the occasion.

However, it won't be her final success in racing! As she enters her eighth decade, Jeanette remains actively involved in the industry as an owner and breeder, enjoying recent success with Hong Kong winners Money Strong and My Choice, and in New Zealand this season with La Memoire and Catalina Lady.

- Susan Archer


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