Gerry Harvey tells it like it is

By Dennis Ryan

25 May 2022

Gerry Harvey tells it like it isGerry Harvey’s huge investment in Australasian racing and breeding includes one of New Zealand’s

“I’m not running away, I want to do it. It just means I’m either stubborn or stupid, maybe both.”
The New Zealand racing and breeding industry needs more people like Gerry Harvey – but just how we entice them is the challenge.
More than a decade has passed since the Australian retail magnate ramped up significantly on his previous involvement in this country’s bloodstock industry by purchasing Westbury Stud. The Karaka property was added to by the former Bloomsbury Stud in Matamata and since then Harvey’s land-holding has increased to more than 500 acres.
The full-blown Westbury model comes with a large broodmare band numbering in three figures and their progeny, complemented by a six-strong stallion roster headed by Reliable Man, Redwood, El Roca and Tarzino. Harvey’s Australian interests include Baramul Stud and co-ownership of Vinery Stud, as well as the other potent string to his bow, the Magic Millions Sales company.
Next week Harvey will offer a Westbury Stud-reared draft at the Gold Coast National Yearling Sale, complementing his New Zealand farm’s participation on this side of the Tasman at New Zealand Bloodstock Sales.
Not every horse bred by Harvey is sold, however, which means a significant number of them remain in his full or part-ownership as racehorses. Reflecting a philosophy of supporting those who support him, more than 30 individual stables throughout the country have horses carrying Harvey’s blue and white racing colours under the NZ Thoroughbred Holdings banner that have become a ubiquitous part of race meetings around the country. With that comes considerable spending in the many ancillary branches of the industry to a level that only Harvey and his senior managers would be aware.
“I’m supporting your racing as much as I can, but it’s costing me a lot of money,” Harvey told RaceForm from the Gold Coast earlier this week. “Your stakes are hopeless – they’ve got to do something about that – but I’m not running away, I want to do it. It just means I’m either stubborn or stupid, maybe both.”
As things stand, Harvey is actually feeling relatively chipper about his New Zealand racing stocks over the past season. In February, the Rogerson Racing-trained Mascarpone – conceived in Australia, reared at Westbury Stud and still part-owned by his breeder after being knocked down as a Karaka yearling for $160,000 – credited Harvey with his first New Zealand Group One success in the El Cheapo Cars WFA Classic at Otaki in February.
Another Westbury home-bred to have got him excited is Jungle Magnate, a member of Tarzino’s first crop and the winner of the Gr. 1 South Australian Derby earlier this month.
“We sold him for $75,000 at Karaka and I thought enough of him to keep a share. Mick Price was Tarzino’s trainer and he obviously saw a bit of that horse in him, so it was a great result to win the Derby in Adelaide.
“They’ve been chasing him since though, and we’ve just done a deal for $1.8 million with George Moore and he’s off to Hong Kong.
“That’s the thing about New Zealand – you might be way behind Australia as far as stakes go, but you can still breed good horses. You couldn’t do that without decent stallions and right now I’d say that on the breeding side of things, the best thing you’ve got going for you is the best of array of young stallions you’ve had for a long time.
“At Westbury we’ve got Tarzino – the way things are going he could end up with two, three or four Group One winners in his first crop – and El Roca’s doing a pretty good job too. Then you’ve got other young stallions like Proisir, Tivaci, Turn Me Loose and Contributer – there are others too – so you’re looking pretty solid there.”
Large weanling, broodmare and yearling catalogues at the Magic Millions Gold Coast sale venue have been Harvey’s focus of late and this RaceForm interview with him took place on Monday just after he had met with Yulong Thoroughbreds principal Yuesheng Zhang. The next day, at the opening session of the Gold Coast Broodmare Sale, Yulong signed for 37 mares totalling more than A$16 million, including the four-time Group One-winning Ocean Park mare Tofane at A$3.1 million.
“Mr Zhang is obviously a very serious investor in the Australian industry and it’s great to see people like him and Tony Fung involved at that level,” Harvey commented.
“I’d love to get a couple of my mates joining me and having a bit of fun in New Zealand, but they won’t have a bar of it – I think they reckon I’m crazy. I tell them one day it will come good; I’m just waiting for it to happen.
“I’m not running away, but I am fortunate that I’ve got a (retail) business that means I can do what I’m doing.”