Haunui Farm continuously produces race-winning thoroughbreds

The staff behind the hall-of-famer and race-winning thoroughbreds produced by Haunui Farm.

Mark Chitty’s family has been in the business of producing race-winning thoroughbreds for the last sixty years, and that enviable reputation was recently affirmed with Melody Belle’s recent induction into the New Zealand Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

“It’s not just a horse connection, there is also a very strong people connection.”

A fourteen-time Group One winner, a record for a New Zealand racehorse, Melody Belle was also a two-time Horse of the Year. Born and bred on Haunui Farm in 2014, Melody Belle was bred by Marie Leicester, whose family has a long association with Haunui Farm.

“Melody Belle’s mother is on the farm, and her half-sisters are on the farm, so it means a significant amount when you’ve had so much to do with the horse,” says Mark. “Her mother conceived here, the foal was born here, we developed it, and then it went on to be trained and became the racehorse that she was. She was sold as a yearling for $57,500 at the Karaka Yearling Sales, and bought by David Ellis on behalf of Fortuna Thoroughbreds.”

Mark says Melody Belle’s success as a racehorse is why he and the team at Haunui Farm love doing what they do. “Even though you sell the horses, because you’ve been so heavily involved in the development stages, you feel a real connection to them and hope they go on to become successful racehorses. Because we are a business, you are also really happy for your client. So, it’s not just a horse connection, there is also a very strong people connection.”

In the last few weeks, Militarize, another horse born and bred at Haunui Farm has gone on to win two of the three legs of the 2YO Triple Crown in Australia.

“Jonathan Munz is an Australian client who was a supporter of a New Zealand stallion called Super Seth,” says Mark. “Along with Dean Hawthorne, we manage Jonathan’s bloodstock in New Zealand, and we foaled and managed Militarize as a young horse, who went to the Magic Million sale on the Gold Coast in 2022 and sold for $550,000, and is now a two-time Group One winner.”

Mark acknowledges that when successful racehorses of Melody Belle and Militarize’s calibre come off the farm, there is a significant flow of business benefits for Haunui Farm. “Because we’re in a performance industry, the winning post is a key determinant, and people say, ‘that farm could produce another Group One winner, let’s see if they have another one’. So, there are certainly business benefits when Thoroughbreds do as well on the track as these horses have done.”

Located in Karaka, a small rural area in the south of Auckland, the 202-hectare Haunui Farm is a mix of flat and gentle rolling country and is an ideal horse country. “Currently, we manage 160 brood mares and take 50 – 60 yearlings to the yearling sale market throughout Australasia each year.”

“Fundamentally, we breed and manage Thoroughbred horses. The two stallions that we stood last year were Ribchester, a four-time Group One winner from Europe, and Belardo, an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred. Both stallions have racing progeny and both are doing a very nice job at the stud.”

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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