Invercargill jeweller, Kevin Schuck is on the Covid bounce-back 

 By Duane Ranger 


Invercargill standardbred breeder and manufacturing jeweller, Kevin Schuck, has been breeding for more than 30 years, but admits when Covid hit Southland in 2020, he was forced to restructure his broodmare set up.

Invercargill breeder and manufacturing jeweller, Kevin Schuck


“I had eight horses before Covid hit us, and when the money wasn’t coming in I had to prioritise my spending. When I first started out breeding you could win a few races and more than cover your costs, but it’s not like that today. Then throw Covid on top of that, and it became a matter of economics. 


“I’ll always love the game, and I’ll probably always have one, but for now I’ve put the hand-brake on the number of foals I’m producing. My business is bouncing back, and it’s a job that I’ve done since doing my jewellery apprenticeship as a 17-year-old in the early 1980s,” 60-year-old Schuck said. 


Schuch said he really enjoyed matching stallions with mares, watching the foals develop, and then seeing them do the business on thew racetrack. 


“I’ve always been fascinated by breeding, but generally have been a seller to maintain the breeding stocks. I’ve had a good run. I get a big thrill out of producing winners for new owners. Willangus Lad is no exception. I sold him in April 2019, and I see he’s now won seven races. That makes me real happy for the owners,” Schuck said. 


“I sold the mare – Lady Eileen (Armbro Invasion – Elgin Princess – Paul Evander) mare in 2021. This is the second year in a row that I haven’t bred – but you never say never,” he added. 


The Robert Wilson -trained and Tom Nally-driven, Willangus Lad, proved too smart winning race six – the Ryal Bush Transport R35-R55 Handicap Trot – at the Winton Harness Racing Club’s meeting at Central Southland Raceway, last Saturday (September 23).

Marcoola yearling colt out of Cochy Bondhu pictured just 12 hours old


Willangus Lad is a 7-year-old Angus Hall – Lady Eileen (Armbro Invasion) gelding, who is owned by R E Wilson, P M Scully, G M Davis, J C Dean, K D Cahill, and the Evergreen Syndicate. 


Schuck said he got into Willangus Lad’s family via Kevin Townley. 


“I leased a Gee Whizz II mare named Sylvia’s Star (1993) off him for a year. She was the first foal out of the Townley’s Paul Evander mare, Elgin Princess (1985). 


“I’ve actually got a Creatine weanling colt out of Sylvia’s Star’s first foal – the Chiola Hanover black mare, Cochy Bondhu (2000). She won four races. I’ve also got a Marcoola yearling colt out of Cochy Bondhu, which I have syndicated with family and friends. I’ve also got 2-year old Majestic Son filly still ourt of her as well and I’m looking forward to seeing her come through the racing ranks,” Schuck said. 


He said a lot of her is horses had been from the same family, but different mares. 


“I actually liked the family so much I later bought Elgin Princess off Kevin, and started breeding from her line again.  The Townleys bred the first eight foals out of Elgin Princess (including Sylvia’s Star), and then I bred the last four from her, including Lady Eileen (unraced 2005 Armbro Invasion mare), who is the dam of Willangus Lad.” 


Schuck said he sold said he sold Lady Eileen to Mrs K J Palermo and D J Paterson in September 2021. She had left him  eight foals between 2011 and 2020, and the new owners had bred a Solitaire weanling named Gotabiton, and had the mare served by Bacardi Lindy in December last year. 

“I’d say Willangus Lad (foal four) is probably the best of her progeny, but foal one – De Vito – was pretty good, but had issues. He won six races. 

“Billy Heads trained him for me and then we sold him as a 3-year-old for $45,000,” Schuck said. 

Schuck said he had bred approximately 20 foals since the early 1990s, with several winning between four and 10 races. He said the best horses he had bred were Spotlight The Valley (11-year-old Skyvalley – Streaming Sunbeam – Armbro Invasion 11-win ($116,535) mare; Mr Mayfly (2008 Earl – Elgin Princess 14-wins (NZ and Oz – $97,821), and Cochy Malc (2016  Dream Vacation-Cochy Bondhu – Chiola Hanover six-win ($61,088) gelding.  


Schuck also paid a tribute to Balfour horseman, Robert Wilson. 


“Robert has taken a lot of my horses over the years, and we have bred and owned them together. He is an underrated trainer, and I’m grateful for what he’s done for me,” he said.