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JOURNAL I S S U E O N E / W H AT W E L I V E F O R


JOURNAL


Contributors Pippa Chittick Design Davinia Proctor and Mark Bridgwater, Blend Creative Editorial Brian de Lore Photography Nicole Troost Photography Mark Bridgwater, Blend Creative Sharon Lee Chapman Photography


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for Contents


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Contents Welcome What we live for

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The Farm Sustained success is no coincidence

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Our History From humble beginnings

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Our Family A passion for animals through the generations

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Karaka The moment of truth

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Our Team Culture unifies its passion for horses

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After Hours The experience beyond the pastures

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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for Welcome


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Welcome What we live for

The Journal you have in your hands is our heartfelt attempt by all here at Waikato Stud to draw you into our world. It is a genuine undertaking to share with you our life with thoroughbred horses which we believe possess an inherited grace and beauty unequalled in the animal kingdom. For myself and my team at Waikato Stud to simply claim ‘we love the thoroughbred horse’ falls short; they are words that we felt did not convey the actual message. The Journal you hold serves to give that understanding and justify our claim about the majestic qualities of this equine hybrid that man has evolved from selective breeding over the past 400 years. At Waikato Stud, we are very proud of our success. The Journal is an opportunity to share that success and acknowledge the significant role our Waikato Stud extended family has played in taking the Stud to new and exciting levels of achievement. The passion for horses is the driving force. At Waikato Stud we are highly motivated by the success we have achieved in the past and our desire to stay successful in the future. Our history of more than 50 years has been spent developing bloodlines, building the broodmare band, improving the stallion roster and nurturing the land as well as systems we use to operate effectively and professionally.

We are proud to be among the world’s leading producers of elite thoroughbreds. Waikato Stud has bred an impressive 39 Group One winners of 76 Group One races since 1967. Success with thoroughbreds does not happen without quality partners. We love nothing more than seeing our wider stud family including breeders, bloodstock agents, trainers, owners and many others, create their own legacies of success from Waikato Stud horses. In the following pages, we are attempting to take you on a visual journey - providing a glimpse of how we go about our routines with our highly valued team and why success has come so often to Waikato Stud. All facets of the Waikato Stud operation are depicted. We are proud to offer our clients and guests genuine care and hospitality when they visit the Stud and this ethos extends throughout the business. We believe we have created a unique community through our passion for horses here at Waikato Stud and it’s a privilege to have this opportunity to share it with you. Finally; please sit back, relax and enjoy. Thank you for being part of our journey. Mark Chittick


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for The Farm


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The Farm Sustained success is no coincidence

The WS ideology is to maintain its position as a highly competitive commercial stud operation, while retaining a personal feel for staff members within the ‘family run’ business structure. To achieve this mix of professionalism and personal touch; WS makes a conscious effort in looking after and safeguarding its highly valued staff who are considered extended family. At WS we believe the key to an efficiently run stud farm is a supreme level of internal communication and cooperation. We encourage our staff to feel part of the WS family by taking ownership of the role they perform while retaining a certain versatility to assist in any aspect of the stud’s day to day operation. Great teamwork also comes from people who have a genuine love for thoroughbred horses and are appreciated for a job well done. At WS we strive for that synergy.


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The caring of thoroughbreds at WS involves both a routine of exercise for the stallions and a kind hand from staff which builds up a bond of trust between man and horse

Promising young stallion Tivaci displays a keen interest in his surroundings while out for some exercise on a cool spring morning


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Waikato Stud Journal

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Horse and handler together form an understanding in the process of a young horse’s education where patience reaps the best results


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for The Farm


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High quality, well-maintained equipment and safe facilities are vital components in the prevention of injuries at WS


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The scanner displays another positive pregnancy for WS vet Dr. Chris Phillips while the boss Mark Chittick evaluates another day’s results


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Horses and humans at WS develop trust through contact by way of grooming and care. They show signs of recognition when approached which allows the formation of a special bond


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for The Farm


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for Our History


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Our History From humble beginnings

A place with a special aura, ethereal and sensuous. A land that lends itself to the noble breed of thoroughbreds, rich in nutrients and blessed with a geographical microclimate. A land judiciously discovered for all of these attributes: The Chosen Land. When Texas Oil millionaire, Nelson Bunker Hunt came to New Zealand in 1967 for the first and only time, he was a man on a mission. His three day flying visit to New Zealand with wife Caroline was explicitly to purchase the best thoroughbred rearing land in New Zealand. Bunker Hunt had engaged leading Australian bloodstock agent, Jim Shannon from Melbourne to do the homework and once completed, the astute agent pointed the millionaire in the direction of Tower Road, Matamata. The advice was carefully considered and not given lightly, but as the next 50 years unfolded it revealed Shannon’s chosen land was an inspired choice and one which would be profoundly influential for the New Zealand thoroughbred industry. Bunker Hunt, in that flying visit, knocked on every farmer’s door on a stretch of Tower Road but found only one willing seller; the dairy farmer who owned the original home block comprising of 188 hectares, which consequently he bought and thus named Waikato Stud.

Waikato Stud’s humble beginnings had been prompted by Bunker Hunt’s prior success in buying New Zealand fillies and mares, then successfully returning them to the USA for both racing and breeding. He concluded that New Zealand’s ideal climate and soil types made it the perfect location for expansion to his thoroughbred breeding operation. To execute this plan he needed to locate, identify and purchase a unique place; The Chosen Land, Waikato Stud. Bunker Hunt was a rancher, he understood the concept of rearing horses on the best land and he was one-tracked in his determination to secure the best patch of dirt on Shannon’s advice. The Bunker Hunt era of Waikato Stud built the foundations and set the scene for future success. Some initial facilities on the home block included aspects of Kentucky’s famed Claiborne Farm to establish the Waikato Stud legacy. The Stud’s modest rate of early success would increase exponentially in the second half of its 50-year history, as gradual phases of property expansion were undertaken in unison with a stallion line up which increased both numerically and in quality.


Our History Issue One What we live for Waikato Stud Journal

Doutelle’s highly performed son, Prétendre, became the Stud’s first stallion and Australasia’s first ever shuttle stallion when Bunker Hunt brought him out in 1970. He was a high-class performer who came within a neck of winning the 1966 English Derby and in shuttling Prétendre, Bunker Hunt, who owned in the vicinity of 1000 horses, proved he was a man ahead of his time. Prétendre had commenced his stud career in Kentucky and from his first crop in 1968, sired the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Canonero. In 1970 he also stood the Northern Hemisphere season in England. At Waikato Stud he had just two crops of foals in 1971 and 1972, but then tragically died at only nine years of age when in quarantine at Alton Lodge, returning for his third season. Waikato Stud’s early stallion roster following Prétendre included; Decies, My Friend Paul, Brigand, Magnesia, Barcas, Ace Of Aces and Zephyr Bay. Then came Pompeii Court and Dahar in the public company era before the arrival of the Chittick family in 1994 who, with them, brought the highly successful Centaine. Later sires came in the form of Danasinga, O’Reilly, Pins, No Excuse Needed and Fast ‘n’ Famous prior to today’s roster. The Decies presence at Waikato Stud was significant, siring Rosehill Guineas winner, Lefroy in his first crop and W.S. Cox Plate winner, Dulcify in his second. Pompeii Court came later and sired the Waikato Studbred, Courtza; the first New Zealand bred Golden Slipper winner who later came back into Waikato Stud’s ownership and presented her first foal in 1993 which was O’Reilly. When Bunker Hunt’s empire faltered in the 1980s; Waikato Stud was taken over by Elders Finance, publicly listed and went through a transformational phase in the late eighties and early nineties.

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The land quality (although restricted by size at the start of its thoroughbred stud use) produced a succession of high-class performers; a precursor to the Stud’s potential and one recognized by Garry Chittick when the stud came up for sale in 1993. Waikato Stud climbed to a new level with judicious stallion selection and broodmare retention. Today, a significant proportion of the Stud’s 200 odd broodmares trace back to the best families bred, raced and retained in earlier days at Thornton Park Stud at Longburn in Manawatu. When adjacent farms eventually came up for sale, Garry and Mark seized the opportunity to expand and the result is the Waikato Stud you see today. A stud which has been transformed into one of the best-appointed facilities in the world, all on thoroughbred-rearing land of exceptional quality. The original 188 hectares after land parcels were added at various intervals increased gradually to 688 hectares, comprising of eight separate land titles. As the Stud expanded in land area, so too did horse numbers in unison with the quality of yearlings and a new level of stallion success from careful selection policies. These factors undoubtedly propelled Waikato Stud to the number one producer of Group One winners in New Zealand with a strike rate that is highly competitive by international standards. Centaine was 14 years old and the country’s leading stallion when he arrived with the Chittick family from Thornton Park Stud in 1994. He was Champion New Zealand Sire in 1992/93, Champion Two-YearOld Sire in 1988/89 and again in 1999/00. He won the Dewar Award in 1993 and became highly influential with ongoing success as a leading sire of broodmares.


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Waikato Stud for the next 25 years would never be without the luxury of a top stallion in the roster as home-bred O’Reilly, after a brilliant race career cut short by injury, joined Centaine for stud duties in the spring of 1997 and made an immediate impact. In the next 18 consecutive breeding seasons, O’Reilly would sire the winners of $134 million in stake earnings amid winning both the Grosvenor and Centaine Awards on three occasions each and the Dewar Award twice. With almost 1,000 individual winners, his 14 Group One winners included performers of the calibre of Silent Achiever, Alamosa and Sacred Falls. Three years hence, in the first year of the new millennium, Pins added further stallion power to the roster in commencing his stud career, which proved a remarkable success through a total of 18 seasons. He quickly established himself as one of the great stallions and went on to twice win the Centaine Award for combined progeny earnings worldwide with winners in five countries. He was Champion Sire of Hong Kong in 2011/12 and had total progeny earnings over $95.5 million. In 2005 Savabeel was secured for stud. He has added the biggest and most successful chapter in Waikato Stud history; Champion sire since season 2014-2015 and for the same sequence taking the Dewar Award. In addition, he has been a Centaine Award winner on numerous occasions and the most successful sire at yearling sale time in New Zealand for a decade. In the first decade of the new millennium, Waikato Stud was recognized as the leading breeder of Group One winners. In 2008/09 alone, the Stud produced

No resting on the laurels of awards. At WS we are continually searching for a way to improve our systems and collectively we are striving to be the best we can be

six individual Group One winners of nine Group One events throughout Australasia. Two years earlier, in 2006, it created history as the first New Zealand stud to breed a Group One winner in Europe. Starcraft triumphed in two Group One events in Europe which earned him the title of World Champion Older Turf Miler. His Waikato Stud owned dam, Flying Floozie subsequently won three consecutive, ‘New Zealand Broodmare of the Year’ titles. Consistently Waikato Stud has averaged 12 stakes winners per year, and from year one has bred 40-odd individual Group One winners. Since 2014, the stud has achieved the mantle of leading vendor at the Karaka Yearling Sales on aggregate on every occasion. Other milestones for the Waikato Stud include; the record of eight stallions that have been awarded Champion Sire status from the 21 Group One producing stallions that have resided at Waikato Stud in the first 50 years. Waikato Stud and Garry Chittick has been six times New Zealand Breeder of the Year, Garry has twice been honoured with a Racing Excellence and Outstanding Contribution Award and ten years after the second of these awards in 2006 Garry was inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame. Waikato Stud has enjoyed a magnificent first 50 years and as the Stud rolls into the second 50 years, the outlook is as exciting as any time in the Stud’s history. An upward spiralling quality of broodmares, coupled with promising young stallions in the form of Ocean Park, Tivaci, Ardrossan and Super Seth augurs well for the next generation of Chitticks.


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for Our Family


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Our Family A passion for animals through the generations

The infectious nature and magnetism of farm life, animals and especially thoroughbred horses has been a seamless transition for three generations of Chitticks. The desire to be with, understand and breed the best horse, is an ongoing pre-occupation that’s continued to strengthen since the mid-1970’s. Hard work with a passion for horses has been a simple recipe that continues to succeed and evolve the ethos that is WS. That ethos has reaped an honour-roll of results: Six individual Gr.1 winners of nine Gr.1 races in one season alone; the first NZ stud to breed a Gr.1 winner in Europe; 12 stakes winners on average every season; eight sires awarded champion status; 21 sires which have sired Gr.1 winners; six times Breeder of the Year; and leading Karaka vendor for five consecutive years.

The youngest of all Chitticks already displays his fondness of animals albeit of the smaller variety


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Young George Chittick now leads the stallions, while his youngest sibling Charlie just loves ‘the boss’


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Waikato Stud Journal

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Six times Breeder of the Year and WS patriarch Garry and the rock behind the success, Mary, have been inspirational to the succeeding generation of Chitticks


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Waikato Stud Journal

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Karaka The moment of truth

Karaka Yearling Sales time is the moment of truth when the quality of the Stud’s teams work is judged by the thoroughbred community in the fleeting moments of the sales ring. It is a time of putting the final touches on the finished product; the yearling. A time of anxious anticipation and always a time of hoping for the feeling of ecstasy and fulfillment following a successful sale. Even the best nerves of steel are tested in these brief but crucial days. For Waikato Stud they are the days of judgment; the days in which the benchmark for success is determined for the entire year; the days where 80 percent of your livelihood for the year will be in the hands of a relatively small group of agents, trainers and owners. An inordinate amount of preparation precedes the anxious selling days. A team of sixty are assembled for 80 yearlings for sales ground parades in the final week including actual sale days. This well briefed and experienced yearling team is accommodated, catered for and presented in Waikato Stud uniform. As well as parading yearlings to their best advantage to buyers, the yearling team does everything possible to put the final touches on each yearling’s preparation. Which includes keeping them calm, happy and as stress-free as humanly possible.

They fully empathise with the temperament of young horses which are being subjected to the commotion of sales ground noise and its activities for the first time. The team knows all too well, the smallest changes can make the most significant differences in their objective to relax and coax these valuable yearlings through the sales ground experience. Operating in small and well-drilled teams, the Stud will run as many as eight parades simultaneously to accommodate buyers and prevent wait time for yearling inspections. They run the parades like clockwork using a system devised from trial and error over many years. As the team show yearlings to discerning buyers; entertaining other potential clients occurs simultaneously as standard sales ground procedure. Pedigree updates and each yearling’s history are made available to buyers hunting down the next champion; and these are supplied with the offer of refreshments as well as an opportunity to sit and relax leading into those apprehensive moments when a Waikato Stud yearling enters the sales ring. Before the arrival of horses and staff on the Karaka Sales grounds; preparation of the yearlings is a culmination of an average of 16 months of rearing foals into yearlings, which is preceded by breeding the


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for Karaka


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mares to produce foals after 11 and a half months of gestation. The return on all that work and investment is realised for each yearling in a few fleeting seconds when the gavel falls in the Karaka sales ring. Nothing is guaranteed; no sale of any single yearling is a surety and the rising of blood pressure for both management and the staff who have prepared them and lived with them for 16 months, is inevitable. The best bred and prepared yearlings are offered for sale to the entire Waikato Stud team’s expectations and dreams. Stud boss Mark Chittick is philosophical about the outcome of each sale but is empathetic towards his team, who he knows have developed an emotional attachment to each yearling. Always thinking of his loyal employees, Mark says, “If it’s a good result at the yearling sales, it’s tears all around and then from me, it’s beers all around.” The yearling team develop a strong unity and hone their systems to present the young horses in the best possible light to buyers and in peak condition on sale day. They are led by Yearling Manager, Jaimee Gowler, who admits to sale day nerves but also relishes the responsibility of her role. Jaimee says, “The yearling preparation becomes more intense when they are boxed from the first week of November. They come into the box in the morning and go out again in the afternoon. We want it to be as natural as possible, so we try and let them be a horse; we do some hand walking and parading and a lot of education.” “As the Yearling Manager, I have a team of 18 staff and then at the sales we have a team of around 60 staff for 80 yearlings. We probably have a higher ratio per horse at the sales, but we cover every possibility; so as well as looking after the horses, we are also looking after the people who are looking after the horses.” “It’s a nervous time at the sales. It’s the first time the yearlings have been off the farm, you see them sold in just seconds in the sale ring after a whole year of preparation and you do have a personal attachment to them because you have looked after them for so long.” “The satisfaction is knowing that from conception, to the sales ring, we have put our whole team effort into every minute of these horse’s existence and although their future then passes to someone else’s hands, we will follow their progress and delight in their future racetrack success.” “What we have learned at Waikato Stud after a lot of years; is that with the best systems in place and with the best people running them, you will achieve the best end result. Some things happen that are not always controllable, but on those occasions, you roll with it, adapt and do your very best.”


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for Karaka


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Time-tested systems coupled with unconditional teamwork is the key for Karaka Sales success – a significant aspect of Waikato Stud’s position as the leading vendor every year since 2014


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for Karaka


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Karaka Issue One What we live for Waikato Stud Journal 58

Karaka Yearling Sales time has many components including these moments of contemplation from WS Business Manager Mike Rennie


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Buyer, breeder and vendor together evaluate the sale, and below the ongoing responsibility of keeping the hardworking WS team both well fed and watered


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for Karaka


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for Our Team


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Our Team Culture unifies its passion for horses

The desire to rise before dawn in all weather conditions and work with thoroughbred horses every day within a community of people isolated only by farm boundaries, requires remarkable people, motivated by a special leadership. Waikato Stud is the synergy of those people and that leadership. It’s about a group of highly skilled and highly motivated like-minded people with a strong passion for horses. They are unified and gain strength as a team from a leader who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way: the Waikato Stud way. That leadership style is Mark Chittick. A thoroughbred stud farm requires a superabundance of quality ingredients to make it operate at full potential. It evolves slowly over many years but when the stars finally align, a euphoric energy emanates from quality teamwork and the reward arrives by way of results at the annual yearling sales and continuing success on the racetrack. This journal is a celebration of Waikato Stud’s history of more than 50 years and is a dedication to the team that have made it happen: especially the current team whose dedication and commitment has taken Waikato Stud to the top of this elite class as the leading thoroughbred stud of New Zealand successively for a string of years.

Climbing the mountain at Waikato Stud to reach the summit of New Zealand breeding comes ostensibly through empowerment and inclusiveness of the 40 strong team driven by leadership promoting full involvement of their work-days which regularly intertwines with social events. Waikato Stud balances a philosophy of operating as a commercial enterprise within a highly competitive environment and retaining its personal feel as a family run business. Identifying the ingredients to retain that balance is recognition of its highly valued staff of whom the Chittick family consider their extended family. To make it work; a synergy of total unity has developed between the holistic operating divisions of business, marketing, veterinary, stallions, foaling, broodmares, yearlings, maintenance, farrier, fencing, farm, cattle operation and chef. They are one for all and all for one. Bloodstock Manager, Kerrie Cox, is still youthful but started with Waikato Stud at a very tender age and has never wanted to leave or be far from the action. Her commitment and appreciation of the Chittick family and the love of Waikato Stud as an allencompassing lifestyle is evident in her own personal account of her Waikato Stud experience.


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Bloodstock Manager Kerrie Cox is the epitome of the commitment to the WS extended family. She is one of the longest-serving staff having commenced in her school holidays when aged only 15


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Steve Clark, Farm Manager leaves no stone unturned when talking to the team about the importance of attention to detail on the Stud


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“I was 15 years-old when I started at Waikato Stud and that was over 16 years ago”, remembers Kerrie. “My father came here one day and saw Mark and asked if there was any school holiday work going. He started me with the yearling preparation and from then onwards I worked every weekend and every school holiday.” “Mark is all about family, and that’s really important to me as well,” says Kerrie. “But by family I also mean the Waikato Stud family; he’s really pulled the staff together. We have this honesty and accountability thing happening while we are having a serious amount of fun. When I wake up in the morning I can’t wait to go to work.” “Mark is always saying, ‘No dust and positive people make happy horses.’ I don’t think you can put enough emphasis on positivity when identifying the Stud’s values. The first thing that comes up in our discussions is the word positivity; for your peers, management, horses, clients and everything else.” “Mark has an aura about him that makes him a great leader. I think everyone can tune in to him. With the staff, we have our systems that work really well and he is always looking for ways to evolve and move forward.” Another highly valued 20-year long-term staff member is Sharon Meyer who oversees the broodmares.

A strong bond of sustainable unity and strength is a feature of the extended WS family

She says, “It’s a special place and you feel you become part of it, and it becomes part of you. It’s a family vibe here at Waikato Stud and that’s why the people here stay for a long time.” “Everyone here works together and assists with everyone else’s job and for me it feels like the Stud is my family and home.” Mark Chittick created a work culture that also firmly resonated with former Newmarket vet, Dr Chris Phillips, who came to Waikato Stud and immediately felt a need to stay. “I had worked in England for 10 years at both commercially-owned and privately-owned studs before I came to Waikato Stud. Here it is a lovely mixture of both and gave me the feel of a combination of those two farms.” “Waikato Stud’s Garry and Mark built the broodmare band up by retaining families and creating the black type in many of those families through the home stallions; and keeping the families through sisters, half-sisters and granddaughters. That was a large part of the reason I was attracted to Waikato Stud.” “As a vet I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed my job as much as I do here and that’s for numerous reasons. The management strategies here are so good as they have been developed over the decades by both Garry and Mark. My job is made so much easier because of this.”


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An early morning ritual that is coffee and a work chat is a feature of the WS start of the day


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The WS ethos of staff inclusiveness, empowerment and happiness is the premise under which boss Mark Chittick oversees his highly efficient and effective team


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“Mark is a great boss. He has shown huge trust in my ability. We work very well together and along with the Bloodstock Manager, Kerrie, with her knowledge and practical ability (she’s as good as any vet I have ever worked with) ensures our team ethos. Mark and I have always had a very strong working connection.” Jaimee Gowler loves her job as Waikato Stud’s Yearling Manager and makes no secret of her emotional attachment to Waikato Stud. “A massive part of being at Waikato Stud is that you are part of a family, a community. Everyone supports each other no matter what area of the Stud you work in and everyone is happy to catch-up after work to talk about it, so you find out what’s needed and how everyone is feeling”, recounted Jaimee. “We have breakfast together as a team and enjoy each other’s company socially. That shows when people see us at the sales and comment about how much fun we are having. It’s hard work, but we always get stuck into it and enjoy it as a team and do the job to the best of our ability.” “To do the job well and enjoy it gives you a massive feeling. The thing for me is that feeling, and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t so enjoyable. I’ve now been at Waikato Stud for six years in total and I’ve worked in a lot of different areas and that’s another cool thing.” “Communication with Mark is great because I can talk to him at any time about anything. If something happens, he’s realistic and always finds a solution, and there is never a drama.”

Mark Chittick prefers to give the credit to the staff and is immensely proud of them, along with the results he has achieved since buying Waikato Stud from his father, Garry, in 2012. He has imprinted his own leadership style on the Stud which focuses on honesty, empowering staff, inspiration, openness, innovation, confidence and opportunities for them to share an involvement in the business. That recipe for the running of Waikato Stud has seen it grow to today’s highest level of excellence and achievement in its more than 50-year history. The foundations for success were cast in stone by the selection of its location in 1967, afterwards by father Garry’s inspirational selection of mares and stallions and today Mark’s continuance of judicious selection and his unique attributes in molding his staff into such a strong unit. Deflecting the credit from himself; Mark says: “Look after your staff and they reward you tenfold. If they feel respected and valued, then they repay you with loyalty and a high work ethic. We trust our staff and they trust us; and we know they give their very best.” “Another thing that binds us is gathering together as a team to watch Waikato Stud owned or bred horses run in big races. When we win, that usually turns into a celebration which only adds to bonding and team unity. We always say success is best shared.” “Our team are the ones that have been at the breeding shed when the mare conceived, foaled the mare down and handled the foal right through to yearling sales time: so understandably when the yearling is sold it can bring them to tears.”


Our Team Issue One What we live for Waikato Stud Journal

“When you live and breathe horses as we do, there is a continual learning process going on, and particularly with foals; that’s one of the incredible things for me about this business. It begins here from the day they are born and while it’s harder to implement on a big farm like Waikato Stud, we have developed a system to do it and it has made such a big difference.” “A good rapport between the horse and its handler, especially at a young age, will totally enhance the rest of that horse’s life. I firmly believe there are very positive benefits to it. It’s all about positivity and a happy horse with a great energy around them.” “The feedback we receive from trainers is so positive, saying our horses are willing to work with you, rather than against you, whether it be going into a barrier, being loaded on a plane, or doing something new and different.” “I remember it was 18 or 19 years ago when Sharon first said that she’d like to handle the foals earlier and when we did it, it was ground-breaking. The longer you leave it, the harder it is on the foals and the staff. Another good learning curve was putting the little rugs on the foals both for handling and for the indifferent early spring weather.” “We’d take rugs off in the morning and put them on at night and the foal was being handled and getting

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a pat. Even when the weather warmed up, we kept doing it with rugs we had made without a lining and all the later foals that had proved more difficult in previous years were as good as gold.” “During the breeding season when busy, we put on breakfast for the staff every day and have a meeting each Friday. In the off-season, we still have a breakfast Friday meeting. Our staff are family: We’d do anything for these guys because I know they will respect it and appreciate the care.” “With the stallions, it’s important to have the right people handling them. In the spring, the stallion groom is in the trenches with the horses every day; it involves trust between both the groom and the stallion.” “Over time, we have developed incredible systems here that work and when you have people like Sharon and Kerrie who have been here for 15 or 20 years; they have helped developed those systems.” Mark’s leadership is synonymous with successfully run corporates in big business. It invites a staff inclusiveness, empowers them, invites group decisionmaking and welcomes self-determination. Mark’s style is not so much about leading them; but more about taking everyone on a magical journey together.


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The smile always balances the serious aspect of doing the job well. WS has assembled a dedicated team who share a resolute passion for horses


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Patience and care and an appreciation of the strong herd instinct of the thoroughbred are vital components in the effectiveness of the WS breeding function


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Waikato Stud Journal

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After Hours The experience beyond the pastures

The WS experience for clients and friends exceeds the primary goal of breeding the best quality thoroughbreds. At the edge of our 688 hectares of prime pastures; we are blessed with nature’s waterways and gullies that offer sporting opportunities. The Y-how Inn, where on-farm Chef Steve cooks up a mean barbeque or whitebait fritters, is perched on the banks of the nearby Sacred Falls Stream that feeds the river. Nearby, Game Gully offers a unique fine-dining experience where Chef Steve displays his versatility by serving-up exquisitely prepared dishes, which more often than not is our WS reared beef. Game Gully also offers the chance to test your clay pigeon shooting skills. The overall experience provides a rare treat for WS clients which is enhanced not only from jet-boating and clay bird shooting; but a night or two in our stylishly appointed guest lodges of either Hunza or Bunker’s Lodge.

The wake of the water depicts the WS client-shared philosophy of having fun on the farm


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The WS hospitality guest houses of Hunza Hut or Bunker’s Lodge are both central to the nerve-centre of the Stud


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Issue One What we live for After Hours


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Bamboo Bar provides guests with mid-boatride refreshments at a secret location mid-river amongst the thickets of bamboo

Safety first is the theme preceding a thrilling jet boat excursion with boss Mark steering the ship


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for After Hours


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Young Charlie Chittick holds the floor and table as he discusses stallion matters with Stallion Groom Ryan Figgins. Team bonding at Game Gully strengthens the WS culture


Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for After Hours

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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for After Hours


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Waikato Stud Journal

Issue One What we live for After Hours


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Steve Carson does a magnificent job in all matters culinary for both WS visiting clients and the team of staff


I want to offer everything and everyone the opportunity to be their absolute best. Success is so much sweeter when shared. With such an incredible community around us at Waikato Stud, it enables us to all enjoy that feeling of achievement. I am very proud of our farm and our team. Being able to enjoy all of this together and celebrate when the time is right means so much to us. They are all very special people, living a very specialised day to day life. I raise my glass to them. As this is what we live for!! MARK CHITTICK


www.waikatostud.com

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Waikato Stud Journal / Issue One / What We Live For  

The Waikato Stud Journal is our heartfelt attempt to share with you our life with thoroughbred horses, which we believe possess an inherited...

Waikato Stud Journal / Issue One / What We Live For  

The Waikato Stud Journal is our heartfelt attempt to share with you our life with thoroughbred horses, which we believe possess an inherited...