Now you ten all know I have been breeding to sell for a long time. 1975 was my first sale of two yearlings at the Waikato Sale. I grossed $2200, not enough to retire on, so I have had to persevere. Mind you, I first attended Wellington Races and Wairarapa some 70 years ago so you could say I am a tragic addict.

It hasn’t been all bad, in fact it’s been great. The people you meet from all facets of life, the horses you rear and watch either retained or sold, the families both equine and human you develop, the travel experiences enhanced by racing… The racecourses, when visited, there will be many you can share your interest in, taking advantage of the terroir to produce such world-class competitors… Winning… the thrill of being competitive.
After all that, what do I know? Well, I definitely know more than when I sold those two yearlings about how to present and market our product. What eureka inspiration have I been able to apply to our craft? None. And, if I did, I wouldn’t share it.

After all this time the one common denominator is the bull rules the herd. The fact that a sire can produce numbers annually as against the best of the mares who rarely breed annually. I have learnt that sending the best mares available to a new season sire will not change the result if he is one of the 90% who can’t climb the ladder of success.

Centaine was the horse that changed our life and direction; out the 42 foals of his first crop there were 13 two-year-old winners. His quinella of the Group 1 Sires’ Produce was the highlight. A shareholder when watching the weigh-in shed a tear telling me his heart was near bursting, horses can do that to you. Then over the career of that first crop there were nine stakes winners. The quality of the mares covered to produce such a result was certainly not commercial but the bull ruled the herd.

We at Waikato have been fortunate to have had on the property an above average sire to mate our mares to since Centaine. On arrival at Waikato we also added Pompei Court, not too bad, then over time O’Reilly, Ocean Park, Pins, Sacred Falls,  even Danasinga was ok, Tivaci and Ardrossan are now putting up their hands, then those without runners who without knowing it are all hoping to fill Savabeel’s shoes.

An article on the season’s Australian Group 1 winners confirms his place among the very good stallions. Last week I suggested he was on the cusp of $25 million stakes earnings for the year. This week he’s done it. More importantly, his three individual Group 1 winners was not surpassed, let alone the fact they were three of the eleven NSW Championship races. Australia is our market, we would have a very limited industry without them. So, well done you good thing.

Amongst our ten stakes winners for the year we bred four individual Group 1 winners: Icebath, then the three at Sydney all by Savabeel.

I have not yet confirmed it but if any of you ten are historians you can confirm or not if the breeding and racing the TJ Smith and Australian Derby winner has ever been achieved on the same day by any previous owner/breeder. If so, congratulations to them – we know how hard it is, we did it.



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