Bromley continuing to build on his early success

8 min read
After deciding to take the advice of his son and invest in the thoroughbred industry, Taupo-based property developer John Bromley was out of the gates like a flash. Success came his way early on the track and, under his Bromley Bloodstock banner, he is now fully immersed in his racing and breeding operations.

John Bromley is a proud Group 1 winning breeder and owner with his sizeable team based at Marton with his trusted trainer Fraser Auret and the majority of his broodmares residing in the Hunter Valley.

He has applied a number of the principles that have served him so well in his business life to his thoroughbred approach and once again it is dealing winning hands to the 71-year-old.

“About November 2002, my son Jamie, who was 26 at the time, rang me and said Dad what do you think about investing in a racehorse,” Bromley said.

“I said why and he said because you’re a competitive bugger who loves adrenalin rushes.

“I am competitive by nature and to see your horse cross the line in your very own colours is a feeling that’s indescribable.” – John Bromley.

“I am competitive by nature and to see your horse cross the line in your very own colours is a feeling that’s indescribable.

John Bromley

“Coming in first place is a feeling of elation that can’t be described to those who haven’t experienced it.”

Bromley began his racing career in earnest at Karaka in 2003 and a chance meeting got the ball seriously rolling.

“A young bloke said hello John and I said who are you - he said Neil O’Styke, he’d been a tenant of one of my flats in Wellington,” he said.

O’Styke, whose brother Jimmy rode, was a marketing technician with Telecom and combined that with his love of horses by working at Ardsley Stud during his holidays.

“I was there to suss the place out and get a feel for the industry.” - John Bromley.

“I was there to suss the place out and get a feel for the industry,” Bromley said. “Neil said they had a filly to lease to race with a buy out option and thought I might be interested.”

Hook, line and sinker

Bromley subsequently took a 15 per cent holding and as Madame Shinko (NZ) (Shinko King {IRE}) she won her first two starts and finished third in the Listed Castletown S.

“That had me hook, line and sinker,” Bromley said.

Visits to the South Island 2-year-old sale and the Ready to Run Sale resulted in three further purchases, including Julinsky Princess (NZ) (Stravinsky {USA}) and Cape Prince (NZ) (Cape Cross {IRE}).

“That wasn’t bad either. Cape Prince ran seconds and thirds and then won at his eighth start,” Bromley said.

“Steven McKee rang me and asked if I was interested in selling to Hong Kong for NZ$180,000 and I said I might be.

“The bad news is the sale has fallen through and the good news is someone else wants him for NZ$200,000.” – John Bromley.

“He ran back and said there’s bad news and good news. The bad news is the sale has fallen through and the good news is someone else wants him for NZ$200,000.”

Julinsky Princess became Bromley’s ‘first little star’ and won nine races, including three black type events and ran third in the G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas. She was later to leave Bromley’s dual Group 1 winner Julinsky Prince with his sire Darci Brahma (NZ) (Danehill {USA}) the next part of the tale.

“In 2004 I went back to Karaka and said to Rick Williams of The Oaks how do I get a share of a stallion. We ended up flying in Peter Vela’s helicopter to David Ellis’ place and he had bought Darci Brahma and had 20 per cent left to fill,” Bromley said.

Darci Brahma

“Rick said we’ll take 10 and I took the other 10 and still hold it to this day.”

That set a Group 1 ride into motion with Darci Brahma winning five times at the highest level and while watching the horse claim the TJ Smith at Eagle Farm he went to the sales.

“For some reason Encosta de Lago attracted me and I decided to get a filly by him.” – John Bromley.

“For some reason Encosta de Lago attracted me and I decided to get a filly by him,” Bromley said.

However, news she was likely to go for $200,000 would blow the budget and so David Ellis arranged for Bromley to race what was to be Princess Coup with Ray Coupland and she claimed six Group 1 titles.

Watch: Princess Coup's G1 replays

Bromley’s early sole ownership horses were trained by Brent Hrstich before a tragedy forced a change.

“He took his own life at the age of 41, just so sad,” Bromley said. “I am a very analytical person by nature in my life and in business. I dearly love supporting young people, with a big mortgage they know how to work hard.

Trainer's good fortune

“I went through all the New Zealand trainers’ statistics every which way and I saw Fraser Auret’s figures and he was in his second year of training.

“I asked around and he came from a good family so I rang him and said I’m thinking of sending you six horses – he must have thought he’d won the Lotto.” – John Bromley.

“I asked around and he came from a good family so I rang him and said I’m thinking of sending you six horses – he must have thought he’d won the Lotto.

Trainer, Fraser Auret

“We have an extremely good and open relationship and he gives me a weekly report. I’m not one of those owners who are on the phone every five minutes.

“We discuss planning and selection of jockeys and Fraser has got a great team around him. We’ve had 55 winners together.

Bromley currently has three quality home-bred mares with Auret – Group 2 winner Sensible Princess (NZ) (Street Sense {USA}), her half-sister and stakes winner and Group 1 performer Darscape Princess (NZ) (Darci Brahma) and multiple winner Porcelain Princess (NZ) (Sir Percy {GB}).

“I’ve got two broodmares with Scott Eagleton at Seaton Park and will have between eight and 10 in the Hunter Valley this season,” Bromley said.

“A couple of them are rising 18 so they’ve probably done their dash and I’ll have a bit of a clear out.” – John Bromley.

“A couple of them are rising 18 so they’ve probably done their dash and I’ll have a bit of a clear out. The good news is that Sensible Princess, Darscape Princess and Porcelain Princess will all be going to Australia when they are retired.

“I had a bit of bad luck in the breeding barn last year when only three mares got in foal. The tragedy was Sharp Princess, who dropped dead, but I’ve got a Choisir colt out of Twilight Granita and a So You Think filly out of Julinsky Princess to keep the line going.”

Bromley's piece of history

Bromley has enjoyed good selling results in recent times, headed by a Savabeel (Zabeel {NZ}) youngster out of A Real Princess (NZ) (O’Reilly {NZ}) for $620,000 at Inglis' 2017 Sydney Easter Sale. She is the dam of Kingdoms (High Chaparral {IRE}), a stakes winner Bromley shared in the ownership of.

He also shared in a slice of history as the vendor of Lot 1 at the Sydney Easter Sale at Inglis’ new complex and the Redoute’s Choice filly out of A Real Princess sold for $550,000 on his behalf by Lime Country Thoroughbreds.

John Bromley with the Redoute's Choice x A Real Princess filly

Shinko Princess is another top Bromley producer as the dam of his stakes winners Thorn Prince (NZ) (Thorn Park) and Alinko Prince (NZ) (Alamosa {NZ}).

“She’s very valuable and she’s got a positive to Fastnet Rock.” – John Bromley.

“She’s very valuable and she’s got a positive to Fastnet Rock,” he said.

Alongside Auret, he also works closely with his two bloodstock advisors Earl Feck and Henry Jooste and utilises the Brain evaluation systems in planning matings. He also relied heavily on the late Clive Harper.

Bromley has also bought into stallions across the Tasman and further afield through Australian Bloodstock.

“I’ve got five per cent in Protectionist in Germany where he got 80 mares, five per cent of Tosen Stardom and in the other Japanese horse we're hopeful about Danon Liberty,” he said.

“He’s with Darren Weir and he thinks he’s the best Japanese horse he’s been involved with.” – John Bromley.

“He’s with Darren Weir and he thinks he’s the best Japanese horse he’s been involved with. Unfortunately, he got a cut near a fetlock, luckily it’s not career ending but he’ll miss the autumn carnival.”

With son Jamie managing the significant Wellington property portfolio, Bromley is free to follow his racing dreams.

“It’s enabled me to fulfil my passion. I’ve worked hard and I’m enjoying the fruits of my endeavours,” he said.