Breeding standard bred trotting and pacing horses is a far
cry from building houses and selling real estate for former
Dunedin businessman Tom Richardson.
He and his wife Loretta (they got married at Easter) recently
bought the former Chatto Creek golf course and intend to grow
both lucerne and horses.
They have taken over Alan McLellan Real Estate in Alexandra,
and also offer a business brokerage service for Link. Mr
Richardson comes from a building background in Southland and
ever since he was a boy has enjoyed breeding animals, from
silky bantams, to Southdown sheep and pigeons, and he once
owned a Belgium blue stud.
He has always had a passion for horses, and his ultimate goal
is to breed the best horse possible.
''The attraction for me is to get the right physical
characteristics, athleticism and mental attitude, which is so
important, and that is the hardest thing to achieve,'' Mr
''They have got to want to be a racehorse and it is amazing
how much they do want to do it.''
His first brood mare, which he bought when he was 28, 43
years ago, was Bonnie Saga, owned through syndication.
''She was a good wee horse, winning three races, and cost
''I bred several foals off her over the years.''
He has bred some top horses, many of which have achieved
varying levels of success, both through racing or their
subsequent progeny selling for good prices at the national
These included progeny from Cheer Leader, one of Southland's
Regina line, while Cruising was sold to people in the United
States, where he won several races.
''We have had our share of wins,'' he said.
One of his favourite horses was a little filly called Nukes
Emerald, which he and his syndicate, bought in the late 1980s
He said she was bred from ''the best-bred stallion in the
world, No Nukes'', which was the all time highest earning
pacing sire in the US at the time.
''She was such a good specimen of a horse and ahead of her
time,'' he said.
As she was born on March 7, she was much younger than other
horses in her year.
She was trained by the late Jack Smolenski, who developed a
special programme for her.
At 23 months, she won the Invercargill Licensing Trust's
2-year-old pace, then she went to Auckland and came second in
a $120,000 race.
She eventually was sent to the United States, where she also
did well for the syndicate.
However, while at Ontario, she and 68 other horses died in a
huge barn fire in 1992.
Since then, he has stuck with the Regina line, breeding four
generations from her.
He also bred Arts Filly, which has been sold but is still
racing. Now Mr and Mrs Richardson have settled in Central
Otago, they intend to raise a couple of foals each year for
the annual Christchurch yearling sales.
Mr Richardson would like to win the New Zealand Cup, and
while there was little profit in his hobby, he loves the
His most recent animal, Arts Fellow has recently been sent to
Tom Kilkelly's stables in Southland for training.