THE CORNER WITH GARRY CHITTICK
We are this week heading towards our annual life blood, the NZB Yearling Sales. As breeders
we at Waikato Stud offer for sale annually 80+ yearlings. Our domestic sale is of great
importance, here we display the results of decisions not made two years ago but many
years of investment in sire prospects and retention of fillies to eventually replenish our
broodmare band. It’s not easy and it’s not an exact science; if it was, the big money would
dominate. Therefore, regardless of what you seven may think, every breeder who has a go is
entitled to the respect of buyers who should approach the sale looking for a reason to like a
horse rather than a starting point of what they can find unacceptable.
I have said earlier that I recently read the Bart Cummings book. I recommend the read
considering where we learn of the grounding he endured before the greatness he achieved.
This grounding taught him the search for the perfect horse would have left a major dent in
his record. As is so often the case, looking for a reason to buy may mean a so-called fault
needs to be lived with.
As a much younger man I came across of series of photographs of horses selected by four of
the so-called gurus of the European racing fraternity. They were allowed to select the same
horse as there was no disclosure prior to publication. Two selected the horse which turned
out to be Brigadier Gerard, the other two I no longer remember – not that weren’t
memorable I just can’t be sure, this was fifty ago! However, I do recall it had been rammed
into me that short pasterns were imperative, so I was surprised to see to these gurus were
more flexible. The slightest splaying of the front legs caused no concern. Now I was studying
photos, but I have no doubt every shot was intended to show their choice to the horse’s
So the one of you seven readers who may buy: Don’t listen to too many, in particular don’t
waste your time on those who never buy. The number of underbidders we have always
outnumbers the number of horses we offer for sale, go figure.
I attended Matamata Races on Wednesday, I always enjoy the local club which is
particularly well run with well-bred horses on display. The day was rounded off with one the
characters of racing training his first winner. Now Lou Te Keeti it is well known was
fortunate enough to win a lotto of a dollar or two, I am sure his whanau benefited but it’s
none of my business. He shared a horse or two amongst professional trainers, racing the top
filly Aalaalune. Matamata have the benefit of a Waikato Stud-sponsored winners’ room, the
club present a bottle of the finest Mills Reef wine to the sponsor and winner which requires
a response. Lou’s few words were classic, his bucket list was to be owner/trainer of a
winner. I don’t know his age but the next on the list is to now train a black-type winner.
Fantastic. So, his dreams are ours only he’s doing the hard yards himself. I hope I’m there
when it happens.
Back to the sales, this is our first opportunity in four years to renew acquaintances one-on-
one, can’t put a price on our racing friends, we have our wonderful animals in common. Be
like Lou, another horse may the next one. Unlike Lou, you don’t have to train it there are
plenty of keen trainers, starting your day at 4am doesn’t have to be part of your dream.
Garry & Lou Te Keeti in the Waikato Stud winners circle…
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