The Corner with Garry Chittick

Well, the yearling sales are underway. We sent four across to the Magic Millions, averaging $460k. Amazing! How do they do it with a clearance rate of 94 per cent? This is a staggering endorsement of their marketing.

I suppose the Harvey Norman model, one of saturation advertising, rubs off. I am a follower of Sky News, only to tune in at 9pm our time, for a full-blown half-hour on Magic Millions, on the need to be part of the excitement. A late look at 11pm and low-and-behold, there was another 20 minutes with a different team espousing the need to be part of the racing scene. I don’t care who you are, this is infectious!

The great result is the number of participants across all ages. We are in the middle of a pandemic – to be racing at all is amazing, but what a feather in our cap to be able to show the values our sport has consistently presented for 150 years.

I know I harp on about this, but I am proud to be part of this legacy. My view is we need to market our mana because people want to be involved in activities that are positive. Magic Millions is positive proof of that.

The presenting of our crop of yearlings in March will, as it was last year, be very dependent on the internet and NZ agents. I hope it works. Our options were zero and the decision to delay was with the best of intentions. Omicron has stifled these plans, but the practical lessons we have learnt are such that, when the virus is considered manageable, we at Waikato would be keen to stick to this later date.

Our utilisation of our staff and the extra two months for our drafts maturity makes for an enjoyable time.

We have our chance in the two-year-old Karaka Million having bred Wolverine. She has the visitor’s draw, an undeniable disadvantage, but she has experienced hands on the bridle, so we live in hope. The race and event is an interesting conundrum – we breeders have been accused of losing our way, no longer breeding to our supposed strength, then we put up $1million for early maturing 1200 metre horses. I am always amused by those who believe that breeding two milers is our place in the market. I can assure you, I love the drama of staying races but sadly there currently four only 3200 metre races of consequence on the Australasian racing programs.

I was fishing on the Taupo when I listened to a commentary on our new sports channel, when the view was expressed where for a period we lost our way. Sprinting sires were purchased apparently to compete with our Australian counterparts. This of course is a nonsense; I would challenge this view and ask that numbers are presented. In fact, it could be said that a period of dual hemisphere Derby winners did us more harm than good.

Investing in sire prospects is not for the faint-hearted. We have had our share of failures, fortunately, we have had enough success to remain in business. I do know that had our choices been made on the multiplicity of advice we received, there would be bugger-all to comment on in the Corner. 



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