karrotsishere Posted December 12, 2021 Share Posted December 12, 2021 1. Could you tell us a lil about yourself e.g. how are you involved in the industry? I am part of the executive team at Arrowfield Stud specifically responsible for pedigree analysis, stallion selection, matings and research. I was previously co-founder and General manager of Stoney Bridge stallion farm at Karaka and prior to that was a bloodstock consultant/agent and a member of the NZTBA National Council. 2. How long have you been involved? I started following horses at age 11. I learned to ride at 13 and bought my first broodmare and first yearling in 1986 3. You mentioned you had a small involvement years ago in Harness could you tell us about that? I was a registered thoroughbred syndicator and thought a 2-horse syndicate package of a nice thoroughbred and a standardbred would have appeal. I bought a handsome black yearling colt by McGinty out of a half-sister to Champion 3YO Burletta at Karaka 1991. Then a month later with the help of my friend and harness trainer Gary Hackett I selected and bought a terrific Vance Hanover colt out of a former top WA filly named Taipan Trunkey – bred and offered by Sandy Yarndley. The McGinty colt showed promise but got worse with every run and after a few starts we vet checked him and found he had a massive hole in his heart so he became a showjumper. The pacer – named Key Hanover – showed tremendous ability but was very unsound. We only got 8 starts out of him in nearly 3 years but he won 4 (and paid a divvy every time) putting in some unbelievable runs to win. Richard Brosnan drove him a couple of times and assured us he was on a par with Bonnie’s Chance for sheer ability. Unable to keep him sound we leased him to ex-Kiwi Kelvin Harrison in the USA. Kelvin was able to race him on bute and he was sounder up there eventually running 1.52.8 which at the time was among the top 10 fastest times ever recorded by a NZ-bred, winning at the Meadowlands among other tracks. I got to see him again while visiting the USA East coast in the late 1990s once he had retired. His best NZ mile rate was 1.57.5 – remember this was the early 1990s. I also used to do the matings each year for Gary Allen and Reg Caldow, a couple of prominent SB breeders and even purchased a beautifully-bred mare for Reg at the Harrisburg sales who was by Albatross out of a full sister to No Nukes. I also wrote the world’s first ever Standardbred pedigree program. 4. Its been suggested you have run comps for 15 years, how did you get started & where did you used to run them? I started on RC and I will rely on the memory of others but I guess it was at least 15 years. Richie, Jack, Ian, Tom, Pam, Robert – these people were there right from the start as were plenty of others. 5. What was the reason you decided to merge here? Too much BS in the end on RC. It got very toxic. I wanted a fresh start and a better behaved group of people which Pete and Alan have provided here thankfully. 6. How many hours a week do they take you? It’s like this – because of my role at work I, must watch all the major city meetings every week. By running the comps it simply ups the interest for me and I am a competitive bugger no matter what I’m doing plus I like to study patterns and analyse data. I never count the hours because it’s fun. 7. What is the biggest win on the punt? I am not much a punter these days as I have enough emotional investment in the horses I have helped create but like the odd flutter or have a crack on one of my rare days at the races. My biggest win was probably only about a grand and a half when Go Bush, a grey by Three Legs, won the last race at Trentham (Anniversary Handicap) on what may have been Wellington Cup day, 1991. It was one of those days when everything I backed won, so I took out what I had originally arrived on track with and planted the rest on Go Bush which was at 30/1 I think. Trained by John Harris for his father Jock, Go Bush won in a torrid finish with about 5 horses almost level at the line with noses between them but Go Bush got that grey snozz of his home just ahead of Fun On The Run and Olga’s Pal with of course my boyhood idol Noel Harris in the saddle ! Noel later rode a good horse I bred named Galaxy Star to go down only by 2 lengths in an ARC Railway Hdcp and even gave him a mention in his autobiography. I was chuffed. I also once missed a $5200 treble back in 1980 (which was a fortune in those days) by a nose when Sugar Time, the outsider of the field beat Et Tu (brother to Brutus) in the last race of the Canterbury JC Winter meeting on one of the heaviest tracks ever seen at that course – talk about gutted ! 8. How many times have you watched a horse or yours win on replay You Tube or video cassette? A lot ! It never gets boring. My biggest win personally, as a breeder, was Chase Me who won the $1.1m Singapore Derby by 10 lengths (under Jo Moreira) in 2012 and earned me a “Special Recognition Award” as a breeder from the NZTBA. I still get a shiver down my spine each time I watch it. Here it is (he’s in the gold silks with purple seams): 9. What is your fav gallops track? No real favourite. Rosehill and Randwick are great venues, Scone is a lovely country track here in Oz. Trentham was special in the old days. Have a soft spot for Wanganui. My first winner came at Invercargill’s Ascot Park which I have still never been to. Was a steward at Waterlea (Blenheim) for a few years. Other tracks I enjoyed were Ruakaka (great people), Otaki (lived in the house at the top of the straight for a while), Hawera (my grandfather was on the committee there between the wars), Stratford (loved that uphill straight), Tauherenikau and Opaki. Del Mar track is fantastic in California and Keeneland and Churchill Downs are also great. Newmarket is wonderful in the UK and The Curragh in Ireland. 10. Who is your fav horse, could be a horse you have owned or been associated with or any other? Difficult to answer but I guess Dundeel, who I selected and bought for Arrowfield, after convincing John Messara he was the one to have. Since then, I have had the privilege of giving him the most suitable mares we can find and he has rewarded us with 5 Gr1 winners from his first two crops. Many other faves over the years including Glengowan and La Mer (whose box I sometimes use to muck out). 11. What is your most vivid memory in industry? So many so hard to say. Being on track to see Tiz Now beat Giant’s Causeway by a nose ione of the greatest Breeders Cup Classics of all-time in 2000 was very special. Watching Anabaa win the July Cup was terrific. Being able to travel the world and buy mares at Keeneland and Newmarket was always a buzz as was meeting some terrific people involved in the industry. Bob Baffert, Arthur Hancock, George Moore, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Henry Cecil, Burt Bacharach, Cubby Broccoli, the list could fill a page. Meeting such legendary horses as Sadler’s Wells, Nureyev, Danzig, Mr. Prospector and the opportunity to work with greats such as Redoute’s Choice and Snitzel. 12. What is a happy or sad memory or both re industry? In late 1992 I had leased and was owner/partnership manager of a Kingdom Bay filly who was a granddaughter of the great Challen (Champion NZ 3YO). Trainers Garth and Craig Ivil (who had trained a slew of Gr1 winners) said she was the best filly they had ever had. They planned to give her one trial to qualify her and then one debut start, and then straight into the NZ Oaks. We went to Wanganui for the trial and she threw an off fore plate getting off the float. The local farrier re-shod her. Turning for home she moved off the rail where she had travelled midfield, powered to the front in a few strides and was coming away to win by several lengths when the plate spread and in the next stride flicked off the plate sending it flying backwards where it scythed through her off hind cannon slicing her leg in half. She staggered on a few more strides on 3 legs before finally collapsing and sliding across the finish line upside down with the remaining 3 legs in the air. I was on the birdcage fence and immediately ran down the track to try to catch her as she gamely tried to regain her feet. Needless to say, she was immediately put down. Craig phoned the breeder Bruce Mitchell who ruefully told us that she was Challen’s last female descendant and now the breed of his father’s great mare was lost. I drove home to Levin with tears in my eyes the whole way and an empty head collar on the seat beside me. I nearly gave it all up that day. Happy ? Dundeel’s subsequent Gr1 wins after we bought him. I told John Messara in August I thought Dundeel would win the Queen Elizabeth the following April and he did beating Sacred Falls. Big wins from matings I have planned: Estijaab’s Golden Slipper win – a real dream come true; back-to-back Caulfield Guineas wins with The Autumn Sun & Super Seth; Rising Romance’s Australian Oaks; Habibi’s NZ Derby. 13. What is something we don’t know about you your willing to share? I am a co-author (along with many others) of Great Thoroughbred Sires of the World (an industry encyclopaedic reference tome). I have survived two major car accidents, a helicopter crash and three aircraft emergencies (plane hit by lightning, one engine catching fire on a two-engine turboprop and an emergency landing in a private jet with undercarriage failure at Mangere airport). I spent 7 years in the RNZAF as a medic doing helicopter search and rescues (often via winch), hurricane relief in remote Pacific islands and worked on detachment with the SAS. I have flown nearly all the way to Antarctica on a P3-B orion (actually flying the plane for 30 mins !) and circumnavigated the North Island on a RNZN frigate. I once was boss of a quarter horse ranch in Utah – total immersion in modern-day cowboy culture. I was also once offered an unopposed candidacy for the National ticket in Kapiti in 1990. I turned it down and instead Roger Sowry took it and won and went on to be Deputy Nats leader. I have two terrific kids – one a lawyer in Wellington and the other an equine geneticist in Scone. I once held at gunpoint by 5 heavily armed police at Dulles Airport, Washington DC but that’s a whole other story ! 14. Are you based in NZ or Aus? Grew up in Taranaki. Later lived in Palmy, Levin, Otaki, Christchurch, Blenheim, Manurewa, Otahuhu, Pukekohe and moved to Oz in 2008. Currently live in Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley. 12 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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