This week deserves a report on the annual awards night for our thoroughbred breeders. Our industry supports two awards nights which, at times, causes some confusion. However, the night we have just been part of was the Waikato Branch Group One Awards. The branch ran a consistently top-class night out, so the inevitable happened, and our National Awards were attached. Full credit to our branch; it was again a great night out at a unique venue, with the inimitable Steve Davis in control, ably supported by Emily Bosson. With the number of awards to get through, giving time to all recipients requires both discipline and humour, and these two had both. Well done.

There were award nights that were shorter; it’s not every year we have the number of Group One successes offshore. Obviously, our NZ Group One events are dominated by local participants, and our international successes fluctuate. This year’s past results are quite remarkable, with twenty-four winners of twenty-seven Group One races in Australia and Hong Kong.

The exciting prospect is that most of these winners will continue racing, hopefully supported by a new crop of three-year-olds. We can continue to retain our long-held reputation as breeders of such high-quality athletes.

The stallion awards are no surprise, as the three awards are there for all to follow through the year. The new kid on the block, Proisir, scooped the Grosvenor Award. Good luck to his shareholders; we are fortunate to have him here. Our old mate Savabeel continues to amaze us here at Waikato. His $25+ million of stakes earned, I would think, would be a record. It has been said, ‘Oh, he sired a winner of a $10 million-dollar race.’ Well, he did, and I have no doubt a number of our rising four-year-olds will be targeting this event. However, if you take the $5 million that I Wish I Win earned off of Savabeel’s total, you are still left with an amazing $20 million. Mary and I attended the Championship week in Sydney; to have bred three winners of the eleven Championship Group One races by one sire, Savabeel, will not be repeated often.

These three, along with Icebath by Sacred Falls, were no doubt why we received our tenth NZ Breeder of the Year Award. This recognition is not to be taken lightly; we believe this award confirms that we are achieving our aims as a thoroughbred breeder. You may say that having the benefit of standing a Champion Sire, we should achieve these results, maybe, but we all know of many who had similar opportunities without adding their name to the trophy.

Lucky Sweyense was awarded the Breeder’s Horse of the Year; he certainly has created quite a record in Hong Kong and is an excitement machine. Good luck to them. We never considered I Wish I Win a contender; however, his international rating as the world’s highest-rated sprinter probably warranted some consideration. We look forward to this year’s racing.

The Small Breeders Award was collected by the Jeffries family. What an achievement to breed two such outstanding performers out of five mares. This is a recent addition to the awards as a result of the so-called domination of the larger operations. To be fair, there are many recipients of our Award in previous years who were not breeders of numbers. Still, it is a good innovation, and good luck to them.

It would be incredible to achieve similar results in the season ahead, but with the number of this year’s winners racing on, who knows.

Incidentally, my comments on the climate last week were not necessarily my opinion if you have read it. No, I simply reported known history. I was surprised that my editors felt the need to create a debate on MY Corner. However, I have been canceled before, but not surprisingly, I normally get little response from the ten of you. Not last week’s Corner; a 90% means all but one enjoyed it. The other one, I doubt, has read it yet.



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