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Lack of staying opportunities holding back the Kiwi breed

3 min read
Windsor Park's co-owner Rodney Schick believes race programming and a lack of opportunity is to blame for the current lack of NZ stayers. We sit down with him to discuss his thoughts on taking the European model on board.

Rodney Schick believes New Zealand has only itself to blame for a lack of high-class staying horses.

The co-owner of Windsor Park Stud bemoaned the current lack of opportunities to develop the type of thoroughbred the country made its breeding name producing.

“We’ve got great genetics coming here, but it’s so hard for trainers with the programming for them to develop stayers,” Schick said.

“A good example was at Counties last Friday – the first six races were over 1200 metres, the next three over 1400 meters and the last at a mile.

“How on earth can you breed stayers when they’re not catered for in New Zealand?” – Rodney Schick.

“How on earth can you breed stayers when they’re not catered for in New Zealand?”

More opportunities needed

Schick was adamant that more opportunities for staying horses were vital and a lead should be taken from the European model.

“They have Group 1 2-year-old races over a mile and 1800 metres and that’s what we need at the back end of the season for these Derby and Cup horses in the making.

“Staying horses have to learn how to breathe and rate themselves and our trainers don’t have any opportunities to do that.

“It’s disappointing as a breeder and we have to change. It’s about racing to our strengths.” – Rodney Schick.

Rodney Schick with Allan Jones

“It’s disappointing as a breeder and we have to change. It’s about racing to our strengths. The staying races are getting weaker and weaker, the ball is in our court 100 per cent.

“I don’t necessarily believe the European horses are all better, it’s just that they are being developed beautifully with the programming they’ve got.

“It’s so hard for our trainers when they have to start them off in 800 metre trials – we aren’t set up to develop staying horses.”

High-class staying stallions

Windsor Park Stud has, and continues to, offer high-class staying sources on their roster.

“We’ve got Mongolian Khan now and the progeny of these types of horses have to be allowed the opportunities.”

Mongolian Khan on parade at Windsor Park Stud

“We’ve got Mongolian Khan now and the progeny of these types of horses have to be allowed the opportunities.” - Rodney Schick said.

“England has got lovely staying genetics and so have we – Rip Van Winkle had a Timeform rating of 134, the same as Winx.

“We’ve had the best – High Chaparral and Montjeu. Unfortunately, High Chaparral’s service fee got to the heights that Coolmore thought he could command more in Australia.

High Chaparral

“To be fair, Montjeu’s owner didn’t want to travel the horse once he became so successful in Europe, but he did sire two Derby winners in four seasons over here.

“I really believe our programmes have to change and allow our horses to learn to stay, but there’s not enough races.” – Rodney Schick.

“I really believe our programmes have to change and allow our horses to learn to stay, but there’s not enough races.

“Try qualifying a New Zealand horse for the Melbourne Cup. It’s nearly impossible, the Europeans have got all the races over the right distances.

“The Europeans aren’t better, they just get the better opportunities.”