Alan Clark

Highview – A new view

Riverton preparer and seller Alan Clark reckons he’s only missed presenting yearlings at one Christchurch sale in the last twenty three years he’s been involved in the industry.

The tall Southlander will be missing at next month’s sale in Christchurch and so will the name Highview as the Riverton based horseman and his father Dave are both scaling down their operations.

Part of what was Highview Stud near Riverton owned by Dave has been sold including the boxes and some of the land. Both have been bought by a local ground contractor. Alan has sold his prize broodmare Baptism Of Fire to Hazel van Opzeeland while Dave will retain some interest in horses – mainly young ones, but in partnerships.

“I always said to Hazel that I was planning to sell Baptism Of Fire and she indicated that she would be interested in buying her. We got her independently valued and a deal was done,” Alan said.

The change for Alan came about with the birth of he and wife Kerri’s first child and also in becoming a franchise owner of Ultra Scan – a dairy herd pregnancy business.

“I also now have an Art Official filly out of Baptism Of Fire so I want to start the next branch of this family at some stage.”

Clark has also sold, as a weanling, Baptism Of Fire’s last foal – a Betterthancheddar colt. He was bought by Tony Dickinson from Alta Breeding Limited who has entered him in the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale in Auckland next month.

“I didn’t want to take the risk on a first season sire.”

The story of Baptism Of Fire began when Dave bought her at the 2001 yearling sales.

“He was looking for In The Pocket fillies but they were too dear. He liked to breed from young mares and to be fair he bred Highview Tommy. Tommy was one of the first Bettor’s Delight’s to be born, the first to win and the first out of a Christian Cullen mare.”

Highview Tommy began a remarkable run for Clark when he was sold in 2007. He was bought by Michael House for $40,000 and was later presented in the 2008 Ready to Run sales where he was bought by Mark Purdon for $200,000.

He won seventeen races and banked just over a million dollars for van Opzeeland and Phil and Glenise Kennard.

Highview Tommy was one of the horses that launched Bettor’s Delight’s stud career in this country and his two year old wins included the Group One 2008 Sires Stakes Final and Two Year Old Emeralds at Cambridge.

He was named two year old colt or gelding in the 2007/2008 season. He is now heading into new territory – a stud career at Woodlands Stud.

What followed after Highview Tommy out of Baptism Of Fire for Clark, were a hot run of yearling sale results:-

2008 Highview Chartom (Elsu) $45,000 – Mark Purdon, 2009 Highview Chasue (Elsu) $72,000 – Cran Dalgety, 2010 Highview Teejay (Bettor’s Delight) $90,000 – Mark Purdon, 2013 Highview Freddy (Bettor’s Delight) $122,000 – Ian Dobson and 2014 Highview Joey (Rock N Roll Heaven) $80,000 Cran Dalgety

Highview Freddy was the third highest priced yearling of the 2013 Sale. Bettered only by Titanium $170,000 and Ohoka Hall (renamed Springbank Eden) $127,500.

“The mare’s progeny have sold for close to $500,000 and it could have been more as we lost an Art Major colt.”

Last February in what was to be Clark’s last appearance for the Highview brand (at least in the meantime) he returned home with Baptism Of Fire’s 2013 foal – a filly by Art Official but he was not unhappy.

“I offered her to a few guys on a free lease but they never got back to me. I think rather than risk her in training I’ll breed from her as an unraced three year old. I’ll send her to Well Said. Dad bred Baptism Of Fire to Bettor’s Delight when she was three. Young mares milk better and are easier to get in foal. They don’t have the wear and tear that horses racing have.”

Over the 23 years Clark has not only lead Baptism Of Fire yearlings into the ring, he’s also prepared a number of othere – Isaiah, Highview Badlands, Mister Franklin, Besotted, Any Old Way and Lewy Risk to name a few.

Baptism Of Fire may be gone but I’m guessing Alan Clark will have a keen interest in the progeny of Highview Tommy which will keep his breeding flame alight along with the plans he will have to map out a breeding strategy for the new girl on the block Highview Emjay.