Words of Wisdom: Gary Chittick

The Thoroughbred Report chatted with Garry for their new series, Words Of Wisdom.

The Chittick family have been an integral part of the growth of the New Zealand breeding industry and with Garry at the helm Waikato has eight times been awarded with the Breeder Of The Year title with an exceptional average of 12 stakes winners a year.

What advice would you give to a 20-year-old just starting out in racing today?

“The logical bit of advice is to be patient.

“And to breed not for money, but for winners. When you get the winners, the money will follow.

Garry Chittick

“Get a nice young mare from a good family and upgrade her, you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get going.”

Are there any figures in the racing industry who you feel deserve more recognition for their contribution?

“I think that everyone does what they can and nobody gets into racing and breeding for recognition. There are lots of people I could name – such as the Baker family; it is always pleasing to see the hard work of such people rewarded.”

What has been the biggest obstacle you faced in your career?

“When I started standing stallions there as a definite stigma attached to colonial horses – there was a general acceptance that Europe had the quality.

“New Zealand studs had enjoyed a lot of success importing second class European racehorses with good pedigrees and there were good locally bred horses as well – but we were amongst the first to make the conscious decision to concentrate on the colonial stallion.

“And it was not easy.

“We decided on Centaine and it was hard to get support. There were only 42 foals in his first crop and 33 in his second.”

The late Centaine

Centaine won the Dewar Award (Champion New Zealand based sire by total progeny earnings within New Zealand & Australia) for the 1992/93 season whilst the Champion New Zealand based sire by total progeny earnings worldwide is named in his honour – the Centaine Award. During his long and successful career he was represented by 61 stakes winners, 11 of whom were successful at Group 1 level. The G3 Autumn S. winning son of Century also proved his worth as a broodmare sire with a further 121 stakes winners including 27 Group 1 winners.

Can you share a story that had a lasting impact on you?

“That would be Centaine again, he changed our whole life.

“That small first crop of his had 13 two-year-old winners in it – a New Zealand record at the time – and nine stakes winners.”

Fast forward a few decades and Waikato is still enjoying great success with Australasian bred horses with the great Savabeel leading the way whilst the new boy Super Seth is showing plenty of early promise.

What person influenced your career the most?

“My wife Mary will tell you that I like to make my own mistakes!

Mary Chittick

“I have had a lot of support from lots of different people but I think that when it comes to advice you can get too much – you have to make your own decisions and live by them.”

This article was written by Kristen Manning for TTR AusNZ.

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