Adrian Stanley has never had cause to regret his decision to leave his home province of Taranaki to pursue his dream of establishing a thoroughbred farm in the Waikato.
He furthered his experience with Trelawney Stud, Cambridge Stud and Waikato Stud at home and overseas stints at Coolmore Stud and Rockmount, a rehabilitation and pre-training facility in Australia, before he launched Woburn Farm at Ohaupo in 2012.
“My family are from Taranaki and I’m from a farming background, but they also raced a lot of good horses with Allan Sharrock,” Stanley said.
“As a kid I was always coming to the sales with the family and learned a lot off Allan about the bloodstock side of things and what he looked for in a horse.
“Later on, I decided to leave the farm and got a job straight away at Trelawney Stud and started at the sales.”
His father Noel and his uncle Ron have enjoyed considerable racing success, including the Sharrock-trained Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) winner and Group One performer Woburn, hence the name of Stanley’s farm.
“He was my favourite horse, he was third in the New Zealand Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) and ran third to Mummify in the South Australian Derby (Gr.1, 2400m). He was a very good horse,” he said.
“It was a bit of a change to move from Taranaki to the Waikato, but I’m achieving my end goal now.”
Woburn Farm has quickly established itself as a respected vendor at major Australasian auctions and will present a quality line-up of youngsters at next week’s New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka.
In the current COVID-19 troubled times, Stanley has also quickly learned to be innovative and flexible with his selling approach to embrace all virtual technology.
“We just have to think outside the square and get as much information out to potential buyers as possible,” he said.
“At the start of December, we got the information out there before the start of the Australian sales kicked off. We got everything out there nice and early for future buyers to see.
“We’re just going to take it as it comes and trust that we have done a good job and we do have a lovely product to sell with a good line of horses to sell.
“We’re confident about all the horses in the draft and that they will develop into nice horses on the track.”
A major endorsement of the Woburn way has come from thoroughbred icon Sir Patrick Hogan.
“Sir Patrick has been great and supported us for the last few years and I’ve got seven lovely horses to sell for him,” he said.
“The Autumn Sun colt out of Sara Ann is a Guineas-Derby type who suits our market here and has a great action, I’m very happy with him.”
He will be offered as Lot 554 and is a half-brother to the Gr.1 ATC Derby (2400m) winner Tavago with the dam an unraced Stravinsky mare who is a sister to the Gr.2 Tatts Winter Stakes (1500m) winner La Sizeranne. It is also the family of the multiple Group One winner and successful sire Lonhro.
Outside of Sir Patrick’s youngsters, Stanley has high hopes for Lot 464, a son of Almanzor.
“He is a lovely colt and the first foal of the So You Think mare On The Ball. He is well-balanced and will be a lovely racehorse, I really like him,” he said.
He is from the family of the Gr.1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) winner and sire Onemorenomore and the Gr.3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) winner Vigor Winner.
“The Shalaa filly is a Karaka Million type of horse, she looks like she has a lot of speed about her and is very athletic youngster,” Stanley said.
She is Lot 584 and her dam Simply Put was a multiple winning-daughter of Charge Forward, who also finished runner-up in the Gr.3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m).
Stanley’s draft also features five first-crop representatives of the multiple Group One-winning sprinter U S Navy Flag.
“We supported him in the first two seasons, he caught my eye as a stallion when he first came out here. He’s not a big horse, but he walks like a 16-hand horse and has a lovely shape,” he said.
Woburn will also sell youngsters by Charm Spirit, Rip Van Winkle, Saxon Warrior, So You Think, Savabeel, Dundeel, Vadamos, Russian Revolution, Proisir, Churchill, Ocean Park, Tavistock and Sacred Falls in Book 1 and colts by Belardo and Rageese in Book 2.