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Bloodstock sector on the up.

Tags: Rural Rural Insight

Increased local and foreign interest in New Zealand bloodstock is delivering a welcome boost to provincial towns where horse breeding and training have long been a tradition.


That interest has included recent high profile visit to the Karaka Bloodstock sales from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s bloodstock buyer.

The sheik is attributed with the creation of ultra-modern city of Dubai, and regarded as one of the biggest players in the world of horse breeding and stud ownership.

Ryman Health care co-founder Kevin Hickman has also bought some serious local investment to the industry, as the man behind the boutique stud farm Valachi Downs. Mr Hickman has been consolidating his ownership of prime horse properties in the Waikato region.

Bayleys Cambridge real estate agent Alistair Scown said just as the town was growing strongly from new residential investment, the bloodstock sector was also buoying that growth.

“Overall there are about 15,000 people directly employed in the thoroughbred industry within New Zealand, and $500 million is generated in wages and salaries by the sector. Here within the Cambridge district alone we would have several thousand people who owe their livelihoods to the horse industry.”

The New Zealand thoroughbred racing and breeding industry contributes $1.2 billion a year to the economy, chasing hard on the heels of the higher profile wine industry, including exports of 1613 horses last year valued at $130 million.

“The New Zealand thoroughbred racing and breeding industry contributes $1.2 billion a year to the economy, chasing hard on the heels of the higher profile wine industry.”

Alistair said in recent years Cambridge has reinforced itself as the breeding capital of New Zealand, and interest in blocks either committed to horses, or suitable for them was proving strong.

“Any block that has good free draining soils and is in a good location in relation to town. The price really depends upon the level of infrastructure found on the block. For example if it is all wire fencing, you may have to allow for installing wooden railings, and of course you would have to look at the quality of buildings, barns and stables on the place.”

Alistair said New Zealand is typically the shop front for the Australia racing sector. Over the last five years New Zealand bred three-year olds have won 45% of derbies and 40% of Oaks races in Australia.

Cambridge’s appeal is shared by its sister town to the east, Matamata where high value thoroughbreds jostle with dairy cattle on some of the country’s most expensive pastureland.

Matamata Bayleys agent and successful horse breeder Justine Sclater is proof bloodstock can provide a means of making a small block in the country viable.

She established Kirkwall Thoroughbreds as a boutique stud on a smaller land holding where she has successfully bred and raised thoroughbreds together with “pin-hooking” yearlings in preparation for sale at the Karaka sale complex.

“There is a very successful community of stud owners, breeders and trainers benefitting from the superb conditions this region offers, and the wide sales opportunities our horses are earning in Australia and beyond.”

She believes the small land footprint such operations require make it an ideal opportunity for younger equine owners to make a name for themselves in the industry. Committing to a block means it could become a land bank, ultimately lifting in value as subdivision opportunities arise.

“The small land footprint such operations require make it an ideal opportunity for younger equine owners to make a name for themselves in the industry”.

“Our district also offers location to specialised amenities such as dedicated equine veterinary clinics and hospitals , water walkers, swimming pool and training facilities. ”

This season also has 13 new stallions are coming to stud in New Zealand, with 10 of them in the Waikato.

Interest is also growing from an increasingly wealthy Asian market and the bloodstock industry has recognised this. This year New Zealand Bloodstock’s sales series will be focusing upon this market, and many Chinese investors will be bought down for the summer sales series.

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