Anna Miles and Michael Simpson are not afraid to go against the status quo to get results.
The husband and wife team set up Pear Tree Farm in Waimate 14 years ago and made the trip north with a homebred weanling for the New Zealand Bloodstock May Sale held at Karaka last week.
“It is the first time we have taken a horse up to that sale,” Miles said.
“We were told we were the first South Islanders to take a weanling up there, usually the South Islanders go up to pinhook so we did things a bit differently.”
That weanling was a colt by Rich Hill Stud stallion Proisir out of Darci Brahma mare Works Wonders. He went through the ring as lot 109 and was knocked down to Manawatu-based David Goldsbury for $40,000 as a potential prospect for the Asia market.
Miles, who was awarded the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Irish National Stud Scholarship in 2001, was confident they had the right weanling for the sale, but admits to some doubts creeping in as they neared auction time.
“We were a bit worried earlier on in the sale but really we should have been more confident in what we were doing,” she said.
“We thought that he was a really nice, correct, athletic colt.
“He had such an outstanding temperament we thought that if we were going to do it with a baby then he was the one to do it with. We were very happy with the result."
The trip of more than 1300km took two days and months of planning.
“It gave me a good appreciation for the size of the trip,” Miles said.
“We prepared him alongside our South Island Sale horses, so he was being hand-walked to make sure he was fit enough for the journey.
“He was given Livamol and Protexin for gut health and I had done a lot of research about what feeds to take with him. I travelled on the truck to make sure he got the same consistent feed all the way through.
“That wee horse just blew me away. He got off the truck and was bucking around his box looking for his feed.”
The Proisir colt is the first foal for Works Wonders, a winner for Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.
She was transferred south to the stable of Daniel Champion and Kezia Murphy but went amiss in a track gallop before she could add to her record.
“I run a syndicate down here called the Waimate Hoofbeats Syndicate,” Miles said.
“Works Wonders came down and we were lucky enough to be part of the group that raced her along with Michael Martin, Susan Archer, Danny and Kezia.
“Michael and Susan then kindly let us lease her when she had finished racing.”
Works Wonders, who is currently in foal to Belardo, is a half-sister to the Group Two placed Buffett and also hails from the family of stakes performers The Youngie and The Townie.
She is part of a small but select broodmare band at Pear Tree Farm that includes Joan’s Girl, the dam of juvenile winner Harlow.
Te Akau Racing principal David Ellis purchased the chestnut filly out of Pear Tree Farm’s South Island Sale draft last year and she was Proisir’s second winner when successful on debut at Te Rapa earlier this year.
“Te Akau think a lot of Harlow and Joan’s Girl is back in foal to Proisir,” Miles said.
“We obviously had to go back to that mating because Harlow was such a beautiful type.”
Pear Tree farm was established to run primarily as an agistment property but Miles said they have had to adapt the 30 acre operation over the years.
“We have had to be very flexible and change with the industry.
“We never set out to do yearling preparation, but that is what has been our main focus up till now and that is what we are good at.
“We do quite a bit of weaning, which Michael and I both really enjoy.
“We like seeing the young babies start off not knowing anything and setting them up for their lives as future racehorses.”
Miles and Simpson contribute to the industry on many levels. Miles is the Clerk of the Scales in Otago in a job share position with both Otago Racing and Gallop South, and runs the south island arm of the foster foal service during the breeding season.
“I have done the Foster Foal Service for the past two years,” she said.
“You hope no one needs to use it but when they do you like to be successful. We fostered and made the connections of around 13 foals down here last year.”
Despite juggling several roles Miles has had time to contemplate a repeat trip north next year for the May Sale.
“I think we would go back there to Karaka,” she said.
“Going up there really drove home that you need to have the right horse.
“They have to be correct, be athletes and have the right temperament. Everything you are looking for in a racehorse. You can’t compromise.” - NZTBA