Paying dividends for new breeders
A decision taken just on 18 months ago to try and establish themselves in the competitive world of thoroughbred breeding is about to pay some serious dividends for Cambridge couple Craig and Steph Dunphy.
Originally from King Country, and both with a farming background, the Dunphys had spent 14 years in the dairy industry on family-owned properties in Southland before deciding to return north with their two children in 2015.
While still actively involved in managing their farms in the South Island, the Dunphys purchased the Kara¯piro property formerly known as Darley Park, now rebranded Oakfield Farm. Set on 20ha of fertile grassland, the Dunphys run a beef fattening operation along with a thriving farm-stay accommodation business and now a boutique thoroughbred nursery.
An interest in thoroughbreds that was sparked by Craig Dunphy’s father, who had co-owned useful sprinter Spring Easy who ran third in the 1988 Gr.1 Railway Handicap (1200m), went to a new level when the couple decided they would begin to assemble a small broodmare band.
“When we shifted back here from Southland it provided the opportunity to move in a different direction,” said Craig Dunphy.
“We are still heavily involved in the three farms in Southland that we co-own with an uncle but we have long-term managers and staff in place that run the operations on a day-to-day basis.
“It was always in the back of my mind to get involved in the breeding side of things, particularly having the set-up we’ve got, as thoroughbred breeding has always been my interest.”
The decision was made to attend the annual New Zealand Bloodstock Broodmare Sale in May last year to get the ball rolling.
“I went there basically just looking,” he said.
“I had a dozen or so highlighted in the catalogue including a No Excuse Needed mare who had a good pedigree and was a nice enough looking mare with a great nature, so we bought her out of the Waikato Stud draft for $1000.
Matt Cameron salutes as he guides Madison County to victory in Saturday’s Group 1, Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.