Which buttons to push in low light!

Pure Panache taking it all in prior to galloping at the Cambridge Training Centre this morning

I took a camera course recently and this morning was a good opportunity to try out my Nikon D7200 in low light.  There are only 1000 buttons on the camera, so easy as (not!).

Subject horse is Pure Panache (2YO bay filly by Alamosa ex Ormond Road), an unraced filly being raced by the Challenge No.9 Syndicate from the stable of Shaune Ritchie.

She galloped in company this morning & will trial at Cambridge on Tuesday.  She is coming to hand well and shapes as a staying type who might well prefer some cut in the ground (her mum won 4 on heavy tracks).

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Quality filly at sensible price

The SHOWCASING filly from SARAJAY, seen here at Curraghmore last Friday, 09 March. She is being sold on an unreserved basis on Gavel House, an online auction which closes next Monday.

If you are looking for a genuine quality weanling filly at a sensible price, I can highly-recommend the filly above.

She is elegant, athletic, correct and sensible.  She’s by Showcasing who currently leads New Zealand’s 2YO Premierships for both individual winners AND individual Stakes Winners.  Her dam won two Gr.2 races, was Gr.1-placed and her progeny have sold up to $320,000 at Karaka.

To view the full Gavel House listing CLICK HERE

To view a video filmed last Friday CLICK HERE


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Eight years with Nearco Stud concludes

My lifetime career in the racing and breeding industry enters a new phase this month, with my time as Bloodstock Consultant to Greg Tomlinson’s Nearco Stud Ltd concluding last Wednesday.

My involvement with Nearco began in 2010.  Developing the brand from scratch to a position where it is now recognised as a significant Australasian breeding industry force, has been very satisfying.

I purchased TIP THE WINK as the foundation mare for Nearco.  A week later she had her first start under new ownership and won at Awapuni.  She went on, under my management, to win two Listed Races and was placed third in the Railway Handicap-Gr.1.

I purchased one crop of yearlings for Nearco and QUINTESSENTIAL – who I selected for $70,000 at the 2010 NZB Karaka Select Sale – was amongst the five fillies.  I placed her with John Sargent & managed her entire career.  She won 6 races, A$778,559, with the most important victory being the 2012 Queensland Oaks-Gr.1.

I purchased numerous mares for Nearco; one of them was Betwixt.  I planned a mating with Zabeel & the 2016 Queensland Oaks winner PROVOCATIVE was the result.

Another Group One winner I planned the mating for on behalf of Nearco was BEAUTY GENERATION – winner of December’s Longines Hong Kong Mile.

Other black type winners that I planned the matings for during my time with Nearco include SECRET SPIRIT (4 Black Type wins in succession) and AVISTO (3 black type wins in succession).  I purchased the dam & planned the mating of the dual Group One-placed BELLE DU NORD and I also planned the mating of the dual Group One-placed STRADA CAVALLO.

Nearco’s best yearling sale price during my time as its’  bloodstock consultant was $550,000 paid for the High Chaparral ex Alagant Satin colt at the 2014 NZB Karaka Premier Sale.  I purchased Alagant Satin privately and planned the mating of the colt.

I’m excited about what lies ahead – even though I don’t know exactly which direction within the industry I’ll be heading.  I’ve been in this position before, after my fifteen years with Trackside Television and the three I had as CEO of New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing.  I’ve had a chance to refresh and re-focus and from here it’s all about the future.

Quintessential (Michael Walker) and Silent Achiever (Glen Boss) working together prior to the 2013 Caulfield Cup

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Desert Gold next for Swiss Precision

Swiss Precision (Swiss Ace ex With Ice) seen here winning her Maiden last month











After impressive back-to-back wins, plans have been made for Swiss Precision to contest the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (3YO fillies – 1600m) at Trentham Gardens, 20 January.

Bred by Nearco Stud and raced by the Challenge No.7 Syndicate, Swiss Precision ran out yesterday’s 1400m Rating 65 assignment strongly and should be well suited by the black type assignment at Wellington.

John Bary prepares the filly from his private training complex near Hastings.

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Sarajay retired from breeding

Today I took a visit to see Sarajay, my lovely dual Group Two-winning and Group One-placed mare who has spent much of her time as a broodmare at Gordon Cunningham’s Curraghmore property near Te Awamutu.

Sarajay won nine races on the track and has delivered me up ten foals (without a miss along the way!) – I owe her so much and decided during the season not to mate her again.  She deserves to enjoy her final days without carrying any more babies.

Thank you Sara; your name will forever be on my number plate; your photo will forever be on my website, Facebook & Twitter pages and your style & class will be close to my heart every day into the future.

A special moment for me today with Sarajay, with her 2017 Showcasing filly doing her best to be included in the photo!

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Nearco’s Gr.1 tally grows

Beauty Generation’s magnificent front-running display to win Sunday’s Longines Hong Kong Mile-Gr.1 provided Nearco Stud with it’s second Group One winner in just seven years of business.

It’s important to put this success at the elite level of international competition into context.  Achievement in the breeding industry is usually judged over a period of decades.  Greg Tomlinson’s Nearco Stud has been in business since just 2010 and it’s given me great satisfaction to be a part of that success story since day one as the company’s Bloodstock Consultant.

Beauty Generation (Rock to Rock ex Stylish Bel) joins 2016 Queensland Oaks winner Provocative (Zabeel ex Betwixt) as Group One winners bred by Nearco Stud and carrying the NS brand on their near shoulder.  Other Group One performers bred by Nearco Stud in seven years of business are Belle Du Nord (Reliable Man) Kuro (Denman) and Strada Cavallo (Alamosa).  Group and Listed winners bred by Nearco Stud include Secret Spirit (Swiss Ace), Avisto (Tavistock), Manolo Blahniq (Jimmy Choux) and Celtic Tiger (O’Reilly).

Beauty Generation - with the NS brand clear to see - in full stride at the end of Sunday's HK$23m Longines Hong Kong Mile-Gr.1 - photo courtesy of the HKJC

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My two cents on the Ready to Run Sale

My involvement this year at the NZB Ready to Run Sale was as a vendor; I sold two colts on behalf of Nearco Stud through the consignment of JK Farm.

I am a seasoned sale attendee and have to say I immediately noticed the buzz & level of activity when I arrived at the sale ground on Tuesday.  Vendors were reporting scores of parades and certainly prospective buyers were full bore in their efforts to view the offering.

Nearco Stud had two very good colts to sell, but the level of interest in them took me by surprise.  So did the number of x-ray hits, with some pre-sale scoping happening too.

Lot 58, the colt by Dundeel ex Causeway Queen, made $200,000 to the bid of John Street and Lisa Latta.  Lot 307, the colt by More Than Ready ex Quintessential, made $270,000 to the bid of a new name to me – Yulong Investment NZ from China.

Congratulations to every vendor and their hard working staff for putting forward an outstanding offering; especially given the shocking winter you’ve had to endure in preparing these horses.  NZB you’ve done yourself proud.  You’ve promoted the hell out of this sale – milked every ounce of the success stories – and you got the buyers there, in real numbers.

Clearly the NZB Ready To Run Sale is becoming a must for any discerning vendor.  I’ll certainly be encouraging clients – existing and new – to use the sale as part of their mix going forward.

My photo of Lot 307, the More Than Ready colt from Quintessential

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Zero tolerance of slow or non-performing horses

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Available at Ready to Run Sale

I am attending the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale next week and am available to potential buyers, providing a complete and professional agency service.

To view my tailor-made bloodstock auction purchase service to clients CLICK HERE

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Challenge rebuilding phase ready to pay dividends

The Syndication arm of my business Challenge Racehorse Syndications is in its’ fifth year of operation.  After the first two syndicates provided a flying start with four individual Black Type winners, a few slow ones and a few bad luck stories dictated a need for rebuilding.

That phase is now complete & right now Challenge has a trio of three-year-old fillies who all show enough to suggest that the bottle green & white colours can be prominent again this summer.

Chouxs Wisely delivered in fine style at her second start today and there are two more of a similar ilk waiting in the wings ready to step out.

Chouxs Wisely (Jimmy Choux ex Purpose, by Falkirk) is owned & raced by the Challenge No.8 Syndicate.  I purchased her cheaply ($17,000) as a yearling.  Interestingly her close relative Cismontane won Saturday’s Lexus Stakes-Gr.3 at Flemington and contested yesterday’s Melbourne Cup.  Cismontane is a half-brother to Chouxs Wisely’s dam Purpose.

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