Day At The Track

SBSR built from strong heritage

07:13 PM 18 Dec 2018 NZDT
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Southern Bred Southern Reared
Southern Bred Southern Reared

In the last five years harness racing yearlings produced out of Southland, Otago or Central Otago under the Southern Bred Southern Reared banner, have been among the sale toppers at the annual Yearling Sales in Christchurch.

Last year Chicago Cub, a full brother to millionaire pacer Chicago Blues topped the sales, selling to Emilo and Mary Rosati for $190,000. He was bred and prepared by Winton couple John and Katrina Price.

In 2016 SBSR group produced the top two lots in Mach Shard ($200,000) and Honor And Glory ($170,000) while further back Bollinger sold for $200,000 in 2015.

The honour board also includes Titanium in 2013 at $170,000 and Beaudiene Beaufighter which topped the Sales in 2014.  The highest amount paid for a Southern Bred Southern Reared yearling was in 2008 when Tuapeka Mariner sold for $250,000.

This February the SBSR group will present fifty two yearlings at the NZB Standardbred Sale in Christchurch.

SBSR was a concept initially talked about by the late Doug Stiven of Tapanui, and Dave Kennedy of Bayswater and it was in 2002 that Dave Kennedy, Mark O’Connor, Debbie Smith and John Stiven formed the inaugural committee.

“The reason we got SBSR going was to get Southerners working together to raise the profile of the product at the Sales,” Stiven said.

SBSR is open to all breeders in Otago and Southland and one of the highlights of the year is the annual bus tour and yearling parades. 

Stiven says the tour for trainers and buyers is one of reasons SBSR has been successful.

“We get about 22 to 25 buyers each year now and it’s very beneficial for those buyers to be able to come, and of all our vendors. Ken Barron and Michael House have never missed one.”

Dave Kennedy agrees the tour has been a big part of the success story.

“The SBSR tour is the best thing we’ve ever done there’s no doubt about that. You get the main buyers arriving on your doorstep. They see your place and see what you’ve done and what your horses look like.”

This year the tour will be held on 11th and 12th February.

SBSR also promotes substantially through a variety of magazines and websites and employs local TV personality Tom Conroy to film their stock.

Stiven says the SBSR brand is being recognised in Australian with horses like I’m Themightyquinn, Beaudiene Boaz, I’m Victorious, Fight For Glory, Arden Rooney and Galactic Star flying the flag.

I’m Themightyquinn

Outside of the Yearling Sales SBSR is also the group behind The Diamond Creek Farm Classic at Ascot Park Invercargill on Diamonds Day. To date the race has been won by Kept Under Wraps, Lazarus, Mongolian Hero, Aloka and A Bettor Act. It’s sponsored by American heavyweight Diamond Creek Farm. 

“We asked Adam Bowden if he thought Diamond Creek Farm was a good fit for Diamonds Day and We said that SBSR supported the two year old race. He was happy to make a five year commitment through service to A Rocknroll Dance and Sweet Lou with the right of renewal.”

For decades SBSR horses have been proving the importance of the southern region to the Australian racing industry and beyond.

It all started with trail blazers like Cardigan Bay, Robin Dundee, Stella Frost and Young Quinn.

Cardigan Bay - 1963 New Zealand Cup - Addington, Christchurch

Cardigan Bay - 1964 Yonkers Raceway - Stanley Dancer - 1st USA start

Cardigan Bay

Stiven said “Southland has long been regarded as the Kentucky of New Zealand. The SBSR group has managed to work together for the betterment of the Southern region as a platform to show unity in the sale of yearlings from this special part of the world. It also shows the group is (about) more than yearlings with the sponsorship of the Two Year Old Diamond Classic.”

Continuing to put Southland on the map, from now until sale time I’ll write a number of stories about SBSR including what makes the south so good for breeding, the twelve millionaires the group has produced, the SBSR yearling tour in February and I’ll profile six of the well-bred youngsters that SBSR will be presenting at the Christchurch yearling sales.

Bruce Stewart

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