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Keeping Up With Michael Newrick

28 August

We have enjoyed looking at the journey of breeders and their stories are usually based on a passion for the sport of racing and a desire to study bloodlines, conformation and race performance in an attempt to breed a champion, and Hawkes Bay publican Mike Newrick firmly fits this profile. The likeable owner of the ElbowRoom Sports Bar in Hastings, Mike spent much of his working life at Telecom and various roles saw him travel extensively for nearly 25 years. A passion for farming and a desire to own his own business led Mike to buying property and the Elbowroom Sports Bar. Mike now considers himself fortunate to be in a position where he can devote time to something he genuinely loves - breeding horses!

Mike points to the bar as a cornerstone for fuelling his passion, “it is well set up for racing and punting enthusiasts, we have a number of regulars who are racing mad and it was actually Patrick Campbell who first suggested we get all get a horse together and race it under the Elbowroom Syndicate”. The first of which was Mahora Gold, syndicated amongst 15 locals and trained by local stalwart Patrick Campbell. “Mahora Gold was our first, we then had Hoskins, they both won a race and while no champions it has been a great way to get so many people involved. We have had a few more and when the horses are in work we hold a weekly meeting on Wednesday, its great fun and the guys involved enjoy the social side”.

In 2016 Mike and his wife Karen purchased a 20 acre lifestyle block 10 minutes from Havelock North and well set up to handle horses Mike made the decision to breed from a small broodmare band, with the focus on young stallions and breeding from families that he knew. “I was fascinated by the bloodlines and I love reading and studying the stallion books. I brought a breeding right in Telperion, and I supported Tarzino in his first season. I really like both the stallions and Dylan who helps me a lot now assisted in get things started”. The property allows Mike to have the mares for most of the year, raise his young stock and spell race horses when required. “I love going out at feed time, seeing them in the paddock and watching them develop is something I really enjoy. Growing out an animal, watching their progression is very rewarding”.

In 2018 Mike took three yearlings to Karaka with all selling in a tough market, “looking back we were pretty new and to have all three sell (not for huge money) was a great success”. The sales complex is where Mike intends to take most of his horses, “I’m a trader and have always loved to buy and sell things, plus it’s important to keep putting money back in to keep up the investment”.

A pair of 2YO’s who Mike has retained to race are also proving to be exciting, “the Telperion colt was a cracking foal and he just didn’t quite come up for the yearling sale, we were happy to keep him. He has furnished into a strong 2YO and really grown into his frame”. The other is a filly by Tarzino from Mike’s foundation mare Kaybebe, “we were always going to keep her, Kaybebe might not be the most commercial mare but she’s a lovely filly and I believe strongly in the family and the stallion, these are the ones you want to race”.

Developing and upgrading the broodmare band has been foremost over the past 12 months and purchasing the well-bred Savebeel mare I’m Kate through an Inglis Digital sale has provided Mike the chance to race and bred in Australia. “She has been incredibly unlucky, Kris Lees has always had a lot of time for her and we have hit bad luck on so many occasions which has resulted in us running 2nd 4 times from just 5 starts”. I’m Kate was a $240,000 yearling and will visit All Too Hard this season before returning home to soak up the Hawkes Bay sun.

We are sure to see more of Mike around the sale grounds and racecourses, we stopped in at the Elbowroom to ask Mike a few more questions.

Race you would travel back in time for? Mahora Golds first and only win at Hastings. She was our first Bar Syndicate horse, the celebrations were something special!

Race you would you most like to win? Any Group 1. 

Best horse you have seen? Winx.

Favourite racetrack? Hastings. 

Favourite stallion of all time? Riverman – He is a great influence on the female side of the pedigree.

Favourite stallion at Westbury Stud? Telperion – I have breed 2 very nice type by him. Long term I believe Tarzino is a big chance, I hear a lot positive comments about his progeny from some good judges.

Best piece of breeding advice you’ve received? “If you believe in a stallion you have to go back to that stallion at least twice”.