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Many might’ve thought that losing two stallions a couple of months out from the new stud season would be a real blow for Wai-Eyre Farm. Especially when one of them was Christian Cullen, and the other was his millionaire son Gotta Go Cullen. But the old saying ‘When one door closes, another opens’ rang true for the leading Canterbury stud farm – so when Pepper Tree Farm came calling, Wai-Eyre’s Darryl Brown was more than happy to join forces with highly-regarded Australian stud. “We’re very excited,” Brown says. “Pepper Tree have got a superb line-up of young stallions. They’re sires which are very popular in Australia and are serving big books over there, and now Rob and Julie Vandyke want to strengthen the presence of those sires on this side of the Tasman as well.” Brown says he was humbled when learning of the numerous reasons why Pepper Tree chose to approach Wai-Eyre Farm – most of which centred around how his organisation is already run, and the professional way that Wai-Eyre portrays itself in the marketplace. “Rob and Julie also liked that we’re independent and a family-owned business,” Brown continued. “They’d heard good feedback about our infrastructure as well, and that we had very efficient client contact/communication procedures in place through our Sales Manager John Robinson and Office Manager Sacha Crawford.” Pepper Tree’s Rob Vandyke echoed Brown’s sentiments. “We wanted a partner in New Zealand that believes in the same philosophies as we do,” Vandyke said. “And also a stud that’s got a vested interest in our stallions. “We think we’ve got some really promising sires moving forward, and it’s great that Darryl and his team do too.” The Pepper Tree additions to Wai-Eyre’s roster are Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe, Sportswriter and Always A Virgin. Combined with their five existing sires, this now gives the North Canterbury establishment a line-up of nine and far more punch than ever before. The Australian quartet has indeed been popular at their home base, serving nearly 530 mares between them last year alone. And for good reason. Rock N Roll Heaven is by far the best son of Rocknroll Hanover, winning over $2.7million on the track and taking a time of 1.47.6 as a 3-year-old. He’s about to start his third season at stud after covering books of 185 (Aus) and 32 (NZ) during 2012/13 and 215 and 32 the season before. Roll With Joe is the Cam’s Card Shark full-brother to Bettor’s Delight who won over $1.8million on the track and went 1.48.4 as a 3-year-old. He’s heading into his second season after serving 125 and 15 mares last year. Sportswriter is by Artsplace and collected more than $1.5million in his career, taking his fastest time of 1.48.6 as a 3-year-old. His fourth year approaches, having attracted 80 and 18 mares last year on the back of Aussie books of 148 (2011/12) and 214 (2010/11). Always A Virgin is a son of Western Ideal who won over $1.1million on the track and, like all of Pepper Tree’s sires, paced his fastest time (1.48.8) as a 3-year-old. This is also his fourth season at stud but it’s the first time he’s been available to New Zealand breeders, his Australian books being 138, 84 and 143 respectively to date. Brown stressed that even though Wai-Eyre has entered into a new relationship with Pepper Tree Farm, making a commitment to their stallions and becoming their NZ Booking Agent, this new association is simply an addition to what the Farm already offers its hundreds of clients. “Wai-Eyre is still a Semen and Broodmare Base, first and foremost. “Predominantly, over fifty-five percent of the mares we serve on-farm every season are on behalf of other major studs… like Alabar, Woodlands, Pepper Tree and Empire etc. So nothing’s going to change in that regard. “And of course, we’re also a stud with our own stallions as well – Ohoka Arizona, Klondike Kid, Monkey Bones, The Pres and Angus Hall – all of which are starting to do a really good job here. “So, looking forward, it’s a very exciting time for us. “Over the last few years, we’ve stood three pacing stallions which all belong to the same sire line. And if you don’t address such an issue, eventually you end up breeding your clients into a corner and give them no option but to go elsewhere. “This new arrangement with Pepper Tree just opens up the choices for our customers even more.”   By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)  

The Gold, Green Shamrock colours of the father/son training partnership Mike & Pat O'Brien were dominant at today's (Tuesday February 5) Wairarapa Harness Racing Club meeting run at Manawatu raceway winning half of the eight race card and getting a quinella.

All but one of Wai-Eyre Farm's stallions will be available at the same stud fee as it was last season. The only change lies with the leading Canterbury stud's flagship sire himself, Christian Cullen, who heads into the 2012/13 harness racing season with a $12,000 price tag.

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