Keeping Up With Terry Archer

24 July

While Terry Archer’s pathway into the industry might not be uncommon, the level of success the respected owner-breeder from Whangarei has celebrated certainly is!

Growing up it was a love of the punt that first attracted Terry to the racecourse, however it soon dawned on him that his punting wasn’t overly fruitful and questioned how others were making money from the sport. “I liked to have a punt but I wasn't very good at it, I thought someone is making money out of this racing game and it must be the owners, so I thought I would get a share in a racehorse,” Archer commented.

Terry’s very first investment was a chestnut gelding by Indian Ore named Oil Rigger in partnership with Mike Dodds, “I got into Oil Rigger more by chance than anything, a mutual friend knew of a gentlemen that was needing to sell his half share, so after some negotiation I was in. Mike’s methods were unique, and I just went along for the ride!” Oil Rigger went on to win 4 races including an 1100m event at Ellerslie on the 5th February 1990, a day where Queen Elizabeth was in attendance. “The Queen had actually left by the time our race was won, Mike had certainly dressed for the occasion and was gutted to learn the Queen had gone! I was just pleased to have won the race” added Archer.

It wasn’t long before Terry formed an association with Frank Ritchie in what would be the start of a long-term friendship and successful racing partnership. “I had developed a good relationship with Ruakaka commentator Bob Tait, he introduced me to Frank and I became part of the 12 Shares Syndicate. That syndicate was together for some 20 years and was comprised of great characters, we had a lot of fun over the years”.

The foray into breeding was very similar to the transition from punter to owner, “I thought, like with the punting, someone was making all the money in the industry and it wasn't me as an owner! So I decided to start buying fillies because at least they had some residual value”. Terry’s first genuine purchase proved to be a master stroke, that of the dual Group 1 winning daughter of Lord Ballina, Showella.

Knocked down for $35,000 to the bid of Frank Ritchie at the 1997 National Yearling Sales, Showella subsequently beat the boys in the 1999 Group 1 South Australian Derby before returning home to win the Group 1 ARC New Zealand Stakes the following season. Showella was crowned the NZ Champion Female Stayer as a result of her victories and placings in the  Group 1 features the Mercedes Classic, Ranvet Stakes, ARC New Zealand Stakes and the Group 2 SAJC Veuve Clicquot Stakes which saw her retire to the broodmare paddock as one of the most valuable mares in the country.

Showella’s breeding career proved equally lucrative for Terry with her first foal a filly by Champion Sire Danehill fetching $800,000 to the bid of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoumm at the 2004 Sydney Easter Sale. Named Safwa, she went on to win five races including two at stakes level. Producing a further two Group winners, Safwan (Encosta De Lago) and Showcause (Giant’s Causeway), Terry retained an interest in Showcause who was triumphant in the Group 2 races the City of Auckland Cup,  the Avondale Cup and the Group 3 147th New Zealand Cup. Terry continues to breed from the family with daughters who have produced multiple black type performers including, Showbeel, Zacada & Giant Turtle.

In more recent times his success has continued as the sole breeder and part owner of the 2016 Group 1 1000 Guineas winner La Diosa (So You Think) - the daughter of another astute yearling purchase Star Affair (Star Way) who won four races including the Group 2 Travis Stakes. “We have most of the family which is rare, of the four daughters from Start Affair we still have three, Thy is the only one we don’t have, she was sold as a yearling to Waikato Stud for $600,000”.

Terry fondly looks back on some outstanding moments in the sport, “I love going to Australia. I’ve been lucky to have experienced some outstanding moments racing horses over there, or with horses I’ve bred”. Whether he’s visiting a mare and foal at Coolmore Stud, watching a runner at Flemington or walking around his property in the far north, Terry’s love for the sport continues to flourish. “I love the sport and it has been good to me. I mate a number of my mares in Australia which is something I have done a lot, I have had good success there however I think NZ has a growing number of very exciting stallions, we have a great country to grow and develop horses. The horse men and women in New Zealand are some of the very best in the world”.


We caught up with Terry to find out a bit more

What race would you travel back in time for?

The Cox Plate battle between Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star.

Race you would most like to win?  

The VRC Derby.

Best horse you have seen?  

Black Caviar was sensational, Sunline a Champion but I think Winx is the best of all.

Favourite racetrack?

I’ve won a Group 1 at Morphettville, but in Australia, Randwick, and in NZ, Ellerslie, are the best.

Favourite stallion of all time?   

Galileo – I went to him 3 times and wish he had stood in NZ.

Favourite stallion at Westbury Stud?

El Roca – The Danehill line is the most influential ever, I have supported him and think he is very exciting stallion.

Best piece of breeding advice you’ve received?  

If you have a nice mare, breed commercially, even if it means going into a bit of debt! “Spend a bit to get a bit”.