Day At The Track

Alabar boss on Southland trip

10:09 AM 20 Feb 2019 NZDT
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John Curtin, Andrew Seabrook and Alan Galloway,harness racing
John Curtin, Andrew Seabrook and Alan Galloway on the SBSR Bus Tour
Photo Bruce Stewart

The owner of Australasian stud Alabar Alan Galloway, was in Southland last week on the SBSR bus trip. He was also here on other harness racing business in particular to secure the down under breeding rights to kiwi bred stallion Lazarus.

Southland was his first port of call and I suspect possibly the easiest part of his journey to New Zealand.

Galloway was last in Southland over twenty years ago when he came here with John Coffey to conduct breeding seminars.

“The place is beautiful. I’ve just sent some pictures of the big round bales to my son and said ‘you have to lift your game,” he said when I spoke to him at Dave and Dawn Kennedy’s Bayswater property in Western Southland.

Alabar was founded in Adelaide in the 1950s by Alan’s parents Alan senior and his wife Barbara. The name is derived from the letters of their first names. The main breeding operation is based on 2000 acres in the Echuca area, but plans are afoot to move into the New South Wales market.

“When we do, we’ll be eligible for their stakes races there. You have to look at the states in Australia as individual countries because they’re individually funded. To get access to the money you’ve got to have a stallion base in that particular state so that means buying a property and setting up a base and moving stallions there.”

Galloway says he was born into the business. 

“I knew what I wanted to do when I was six years old.”

Before taking up the reins from his father, who is 92, he travelled the world expanding his knowledge and experience, but he still likes to be hands on. 

“At one point we bred three thousand foals in four months. I think that would be a record. I like to be hands on. I’ve got scars all over my wrists and teeth marks where horses have had me on the ground trying to kill me.”

Bloodstock agent John Curtin, who was travelling with Galloway, says the Australian is world renowned for his technical knowledge of breeding and semen transportation.

But perhaps the most important business for the Alabar boss is to meet Duncan Taylor one of the brothers that bought and raced New Zealand champion racehorse Lazarus.

“We’re trying to negotiate a deal as are all the other big farms. We’ve been interested in him since his three year old days.”

The process has been going on for a while but Curtin, who is helping to broker the deal says it should be done once the yearling sales are over.

During the process Galloway has gained a lot of respect for the way in which Taylor Made Stallions do business.

“Not many school me on the breeding industry but the Taylor boys have. They took him (Lazarus) up there, raced him, and syndicated him for about four million American. So they’re out already. They won a million up there with him and now they’re bringing him back here and they’re going to sell him for another four million. He’s one of those horses you see every decade.”

Lazarus which won 37 of his 51 starts and amassed $4,125,988 is currently standing in the State of New Jersey which New Zealand Bloodstock agent John Curtin described as being dead in the water until they got a big cash injection from the government. Lazarus is the only stallion standing in the State and has a full book of mares in this first visit to the breeding barn.

Galloway is hopeful that Alabar can win the down under breeding rights but says it may have to be in partnership.

“You can’t give him to anyone because you need the infrastructure to manage a horse like that. I feel as though we’ve got the advantage with location here and in Australia and we’ve got sixty percent of the market.”

Alabar has certainly grown since the early days when they stood Kentucky, Windshield Wiper, Whats Next and Golden Greek.

In recent years Art Major has been on their books and in 2011 they merged their stallion operation with The Stallion Station which meant Mach Three and Courage Under Fire were added to the Alabar roster.

Their quality breeding bloodstock now includes A Rocknroll Dance, He’s Watching, Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe and Sportswriter. More recently Always Be Miki joined the breeding barn in a deal struck with Nevele R Stud.

Galloway says Alabar Australia now wants to venture into the syndicate of racehorses and copy the model Graeme Henley from Alabar New Zealand has used with success through the deeds of Chase Auckland.

“We’re copying Graeme. We need to promote that. I kind of dropped the ball there. We left that to private enterprise. We’ll be going to the public with the colt and the filly we bought in Melbourne, we want new people coming into the game.”

Galloway is excited about the new venture and sees the syndicate attracting new faces to the harness industry.

“It’s the first time it’s been done in Australia for a while. You need a dealer’s licence which are hard to get these days. Too many crooks in the past have given it (syndication) a bad name and the government have made it very very difficult. We’ve got industry backing with HRA and Harness Racing Victoria because they know Alabar is a blue chip company which stands by it’s name.”  

The filly Alabar purchased for $42,000 is by Art Major out of Mint Julep.

Mint Julep is a daughter of Jadah Rose the winner of thirty one races including the 2005 Vicbred Super Series for two year old fillies and the 2006 Vicbred Super Series for three year old fillies. So there’s a nice pedigree there.

The colt which will be syndicated is by Bettor’s Delight out of Rye Hanover which was purchased for $65,000.

“We thought he was way undervalued. We thought he was a hundred to a hundred and twenty thousand dollar colt.”

Rye Hanover was initially bred from in America leaving four foals before she was bought to New Zealand where she left Blazin N Cullen the winner of twenty six races and Rockin Roll Lad which won nine.

Rye Hanover was one mare bought here in a package deal organised by Curtin. 

“She was one of the best bred mares and cost $300,000 US which was big money back then,” he said.

The syndicates will be managed in Australia by Brett Coffey.  

Alabar is also upgrading its broodmare band and this week purchased Nike Franco which won thirty two races, paced a mile in 1-48.0 and was the fastest mare in North America in 2017.

“We spent a million bucks in the last twelve months just on mares in the Australian and New Zealand market but we’re looking at the US market as well. We’re seriously making some bids on some well-known mares at the moment.”

So exciting times ahead as Alabar continues to expand its business and who knows, Lazarus could be part of that.

 

Bruce Stewart

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