Brodie’s NZ Cup starter is a horse that no-one wanted

By Duane Ranger

Ohaupo breeder, Bruce Brodie, is a humble man who has been surprised by many things in his 86 years, but the 2015, 2017 and 2018 Yearling Sales at Karaka, still leave him baffled and left wondering what could have been.

“I’d be lying if I said Marie (wife) and I didn’t feel a bit down and deflated after the first couple of Sales, but when Kango didn’t get a bid in the last one, that really hit us, and we just couldn’t understand why no-one wanted a yearling out of our McArdle mare – Dana Maguire,” Mr Brodie said.

But good things happen to good people, and it didn’t take long for the Brodies belief in their 2008 McArdle broodmare to come to fruition.

As Mr Brodie put it – their Sales rejection soon turned into elation.

In fact, the mare has left them the best horse he has bred since retiring from dairy farming 19 years ago.

The first three foals out of Dana Maguire have won 22 races and just over $300,000 between them – and the fourth a late developing 3-year-old He’s Watching colt is in the paddock and will race next year.

But more importantly, Dana Maguire’s third foal, the 2016 American Ideal gelding, and this year’s Auckland Cup place-getter – Kango – is ranked ninth for next month’s 15-strong New Zealand Cup field.

Bruce Brodie with race sponsor & NZSBA partner, Kylie Unsworth of BetaVet

“He raced in the (NZ) Cup last year (7th), and that was a huge thrill to have him line-up in a race we all dream of. He’s five now and will be much better and stronger for that experience. He’s such a good traveler too.

“The gelding is a real credit to Arna Donnelly (trainer) and her father Brent, who broke him in. He was a huge horse who transitioned very well from Brent to Arna.

“We are so proud of what both he and Arna have achieved. Winning last year’s Franklin Cup was a real thrill,” the Waikato breeder said.

“He’s easily the best horse we have bred and owned. We have had offers for him, but I’m in my mid 80s and money can’t buy you the fun we are having watching him – mostly on TV,” he added.

Kango’s Cup preparation is progressing nicely. The bay resumed from a four-month spell with a ‘next up’ third at Alexandra Park on September 15.

Then last Friday night’s (September 23) 10th race – The Spring Cup, a R60 and Faster Discretionary Handicap Pace, also at Alexandra Park, saw Kango easily win from 15 metres behind.

“That was a lovely drive from Ben and he’s really on target to go well in this year’s big race. He will head to Christchurch on Tuesday (September 27) and then maybe line up in the Methven Cup and then perhaps the Cup Trial.

“That’s all in Arna’s hands. We just take it day by day. Arna has done such a wonderful job with him. It’s still hard to believe that we got no bids at the Sales, and he’s now earned more than $200,000 from less than 40 starts,” Mr Brodie said.

In fact, Kango (1:56.2) has won 11 of his 38 starts since making his winning debut at Cambridge Raceway on August 15, 2020. In less than two seasons he has also placed 11 times and banked $232,445 in purses.

Mr Brodie then paid a tribute to the late Ray Kennedy and his wife Di, who bred Dana Maguire at Jubilee Park.

“We knew when we bought her at the Yearling Sales (2010) that she was well-bred, because Ray and Di bred some real nice ‘Maguire’ horses. “We paid $12,000.

“Sadly, she knocked a leg and only had two starts before we were forced to retire her.

“That’s when we decided to put her to Gotta Go Cullect and in 2013 she produced her first foal, which was a colt we named The CEO (four wins and $24,860).

“She’s now had four foals, and all of them colts. She’s due an American Ideal foal late next month, and I’ll probably take her back to him again next season,” Mr Brodie said.

On September 25, 2015, Dana Maguire left her second foal – an American Ideal gelding named Henry Hu.

“The CEO has gone on to win four races ($24,860) for his Tasmanian owners.

Mr Brodie said he only really ventured into harness racing when he started to retire from dairy farming in 2003.

“I was about 68 when I first got into it. I’ve also had gallopers, but this girl is the only mare I am breeding from.

“Sean McCaffrey helped me a lot in the early days. He broke them in for us and from there I decided to train one or two myself (six winners 2008 – 2012).

“I really enjoy the breeding side of the industry and all the progenies, and all the opinions, you get from people about good sires and bad sires.

“You never stop learning in this game,” Mr Brodie said.