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Madison making it all happen

3 min read
The emergence this spring of Madison County has been savoured by relative newcomers to the thoroughbred scene.

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained 3-year-old Madison County (NZ) (Pins) went to the highest level on Saturday with victory in the G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton for owners the China Horse Club.

And for Waikato breeder Craig Dunphy and his wife Steph their chance purchase at New Zealand Bloodstock’s May Sale at Karaka last year has gone from bargain buy to blue chip investment.

China Horse Club Chairman Teo Ah Khing and daughter Johannah pose alongside Andrew Forsman and jockey Matt Cameron after the trophy presentation for the G1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas

Delicious price

They only had to outlay NZ$1000 to secure Madison County’s mother Red Delicious (NZ) out of Waikato Stud’s draft.

“We went down for the race and we’re obviously rapt. It’s turned out to be quite fortunate.

“I didn’t go and look at the mare out the back at the sales, but I saw her in the ring and I liked her pedigree, a good Waikato Stud family going back to Courtza.

Madison County made $36,000 as a yearling, out of a mare who cost $1000

“She was a nice type of mare and for that sort of money I thought why not.” – Craig Dunphy.

“She was a nice type of mare and for that sort of money I thought why not.”

Red Delicious was subsequently served by the ill-fated duo of Atlante (Fastnet Rock) and Jakkalberry (IRE) (Storming Home {GB}).

“We’re going to retain the yearling filly by Atlante, who won the Guineas in 2013, and she had a colt, a big boy, by Jakkalberry about 10 days ago so we’re very lucky,” Dunphy said.

Red Delicious will now be left empty and all stallion options will be looked at in 2019.

"We've decided to stand her down this year and we'll get an early serve next year," Dunphy said. "We might even look across the ditch."

Stallion shares

Dunphy, who comes from a farming background, also has shares in both the Brighthill Stud stallion Preferment (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) and Westbury Stud’s Tarzino (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}).

He became involved in thoroughbreds in more recent times and has his interests based at the former Darley Park property on the outskirts of Cambridge.

“I’ve been in farming all my life and share-milked in the Waikato and had 14 years in Southland, which is where we still farm even though we live in Cambridge,” Dunphy said.

Oakfield Farm

“My Mum and Dad bred and raced Spring Easy and had a bit of success (he won seven times) and that first got my interest going.

“We bought this property three years ago and renamed it Oakfield Farm.” – Craig Dunphy.

“We bought this property three years ago and renamed it Oakfield Farm. We’ve got 50 acres and we’ve got seven mares now.”

“We’ve also had foals this year by Pins, Turn Me Loose, Burgundy and Tarzino.”

Dunphy has also expanded his involvement by joining the committee of the Waikato branch of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association. “I’m really interested in it and if I can help out I will,” he said.