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From The Broken Shore to a major breeding operation

4 min read
A near $2 million broodmare buy was the catalyst for Jonathan Munz’s GSA Bloodstock becoming involved in the breeding industry on a major scale. The operation continues to go from strength to strength to be firmly established at the top level.

The purchase of The Broken Shore (Hussonet {USA}) and a partnership with Arrowfield Stud was a defining moment for Jonathan Munz's GSA Bloodstock. When GSA Bloodstock Manager Dean Hawthorne signed for the blue-blooded mare for $1.9 million at the 2014 Magic Millions Sale it represented a new approach that’s subsequently paying huge dividends.

“That’s when we decided to invest heavily in breeding and the partnership has been extremely lucky,” Hawthorne said.

“We identified her as a target mare, she was the one we wanted and we got her. We obviously had to pay a lot of money, but the first foal is likely Australian Filly of the Year and in The Everest so you couldn’t ask for much more.”

“We identified her as a target mare, she was the one we wanted and we got her.” - Dean Hawthorne

Dean Hawthorne following his purchase of G2-winner, G1-placed Showtime from Magic Millions

He was referring to the Anthony Freedman-trained Shoals (Fastnet Rock), the winner at Group 1 level last season of the Myer Classic, Surround S., and the Sangster S.

“She’s won $2 million herself and her brother made big money ($2.3 million) at Easter,” Hawthorne said. “Tides, who followed Shoals, is in work and he’s showing promise as well.”

Size and strength

GSA is now involved in around 100 broodmares spread across New South Wales, Victoria and New Zealand. “We’ve got 12 in partnership with Arrowfield and the balance are in the Hunter Valley with Bhima Thoroughbreds, while the New Zealand ones are based at Haunui Farm,” Hawthorne said. “We’ve also branching out in to the Northern Hemisphere in a small way with a couple of mares to be bred up there.

“The partnership with Arrowfield has been great and we’ve purchased Omei Sword and Abbey Marie and they will be going to Japan to be mated with Deep Impact. We’ve got (Group 1 winner) Fenway and she’s off to Snitzel and so is Lucky Raquie, who’s from the Redoute’s Choice family.

“We’ve purchased Omei Sword and Abbey Marie and they will be going to Japan to be mated with Deep Impact.” - Dean Hawthorne

“Breccia (dam of Group 1 winner Tivaci) has a Brazen Beau colt and she’s going to I Am Invincible and Zurella is in foal to him. It will be quite a late foal so, depending on that, she’ll maybe go back to I Am Invincible or Fastnet Rock.

“Of New Zealand interest, we bought Amathea, the dam of the Oaks winner Savaria, and she’ll be going to Pariah. We’ve got a share-holding in him and I understand he’s got a full book in his first season at Arrowfield.”

New Zealand Oaks winner Savaria will visit first season sire Pariah

A commercial enterprise

GSA Bloodstock’s mating plans are a result of a joint effort with a heavy emphasis on the sale ring. “They are done between Jonathan and myself. He has a very strong input and is very good with the pedigree work,” Hawthorne said. “It’s a commercial operation and no matter how much money you throw at it, it’s still got to pay its way.

“It’s a commercial operation and no matter how much money you throw at it, it’s still got to pay its way.” - Dean Hawthorne

“Over the last two or three years we have had very, very good results in the ring, hence we have reinvested a lot of the profit into upgrading the broodmares.

“People may say how can you pay seven figures for a mare and make a profit, but anyone in the breeding game realises it’s not based on the short term. It’s about building families and looking at retaining fillies out of the good, proven families.

“We’ll be breeding to 32 different stallions - it’s a big operation and we’ve got 75 foals due this season and probably about 50 yearlings to sell.

“We have extremely well-bred fillies racing and they come off the track each year to be bred. We supplement now and again from the sale ring and it’s all about upgrading and dropping some off. There are some mares that just don’t fit our breeding plans.”

"It’s a big operation, we’ve got 75 foals due this season and probably about 50 yearlings to sell." - Dean Hawthorne

Star mare Shoals, who resumes in the G2 Mitty’s McEwen S. on Saturday

Other racing investments

In addition to a major breeding operation, Munz has significant racing interests with horses in training with Freedman, Hayes amongst others. His investments include the magnificent training facility Pinecliff on the Mornington Peninsula.

The state-of-the-art 40ha facility has swimming pools, treadmills, with Armour track grass and sand surfaces.

This is the facility where Anthony Freedman prepares the star GSA and Arrowfield mare Shoals, plus fellow Everest slot-holder and three-time Group 1 winner Santa Ana Lane.

Gallery: Pinecliff on the Mornington Peninsula