Breeding - News

Fell focuses on quality over quantity

  • Wed, 10 Jan 2018
  • NZ Racing Desk
Goodwood Stud's William Fell is looking forward to presenting a quality draft at Karaka.

Goodwood Stud's William Fell is looking forward to presenting a quality draft at Karaka.

William Fell had big shoes to fill when he took sole charge of Goodwood Stud.

His enthusiasm and vision has seen gradual change on the Manawatu farm, with the young studmaster placing major emphasis on quality over quantity.

His draft at this month’s upcoming New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale series is a classic example. He will head north with a boutique draft of five yearlings for the Book 1 Sale to be staged from January 28 to January 31.

Fell took over the reins from his father Rex, who passed away in 2016.

Rex and his brother Gerald were joint principals of Fairdale Stud, one of the foremost central districts breeding properties for more than four decades. They took large numbers of yearlings to the sales during that time, but with the birth of Goodwood William changed focus.

Goodwood was born after the brothers split Fairdale and Rex established his new farm with William in 2007.

Goodwood is located near Palmerston North on about 250 acres of prime farmland well suited to Fell’s aim to produce high-quality stock.

Fell has reduced Goodwood’s broodmare band and his aim is to produce yearlings with pedigree and conformation to make the Book 1 sale.

“We’ve had a lot of success with some of our good, old families and also with Australian-bred mares we’ve bought in," he said.

“Gingernuts (bred at Goodwood) has been a horse that’s lifted our profile and also horses like Order Again and Nicoletta.”

Undoubtedly being awarded Breeder of the Year at last season’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year awards was also a big boost to Goodwood’s profile.

As a lad, Fell had no intentions of a career with horses. However, after leaving school at 17 with no job, his father organised work for him at Arrowfield Stud in Australia and he was on his way in the industry.

That was followed by a stint at Coolmore Stud in Ireland and a season at Ashford Stud in the United States, as well as working at Camas Park for Goffs and Tattersalls sales.

“I got hooked,” he said. “I’m totally involved now and I enjoy it. I enjoy the challenge and the changes here at Goodwood in the last few years have been exciting.

“We’ll keep lifting the quality of our broodmare band, which will enable us to become more prominent at the top end of the yearling sales market.

"We are also starting to retain one or two well-bred fillies to race and keep as broodmares. We have several in work in New Zealand and a Savabeel filly with Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young in Victoria – hopefully she can come up with the goods over there.”

Fell’s right-hand man is Teddy Housman and he plays a massive role on the farm.

“Teddy’s done it all – yearlings, training, breaking-in, the whole lot, he’s a great horseman and can turn his hand to anything.”

Fell and Housman are intent on keeping the farm’s pastures in prime order and utilise dairy heifers and cropping to achieve desired results.

“We keep the pastures up to scratch to rear the best horses possible,” Fell said.

Top pasture, helped by some great racetrack results like the one Authentic Paddy produced on Boxing Day at Ellerslie has Fell in a good frame of mind.

Grand campaigner Authentic Paddy added a Group One when he won the Zabeel Classic to further boost the pedigree of his Goodwood-bred and reared Tavistock yearling half-sister, who heads the Karaka draft.

“It was a massive result,” Fell said. “It’s always good to get any update, but a Group One is great timing.

“It will be an interesting sale and another step along the way for Goodwood. The place was on solid foundations when I took over and we’ve had great support especially from Uncle Gerald and friends in the industry who have been a great help.”