Woodlands Gear Up for Value Sale


Woodlands Stud boss Andrew Grierson knows he is about to gift somebody a bargain.

But he says that is all part of game for the breeding powerhouse as they count down to New Zealand’s largest ever online auction of standardbred stock.

Grierson started Woodlands Stud nearly three decades ago with Charles Roberts, his good friend who passed away last week aged 96.

“Of course it was sad to see Charles pass on but what a life he had,” said Grierson this week.

The business of running New Zealand’s largest standardbred nursery continues and a new chapter has begun with the catalogue for NZB Standardbred’s All Age Sale now online at gavelhouse.com, with bidding to start on May 20 and the sale concluding on May 27.

The change to the online format have been forced by COVID-19 restrictions and come after success of far bigger thoroughbred sales in Australia online.

Grierson says his team has done a wonderful job meeting the new challenge.

“We have a lot of horses going through, which is what you have to do when you are breeding as many horses as we do,” says Grierson.

“We breed between 150-170 mares a year and not all those foals can go to the yearling sales.

“Some go there, some we retain and some we do private deals on but this sale has been a very good outlet for others.”

That could easily lend the cynics to think of the traditional May sale as a dumping ground but Grierson says that is definitely not the case.

“We have sold horses like Hard Copy and Line Up at this sale,” explains Grierson.

“Hard Copy fetched $6000 as a weanling and went on to win over $1million, while Line Up we sold the day before his sister Partyon won the Jewels.

“The Breckons bought him and made huge profit reselling him as a yearling and he has since gone on to win two Derbys and be the top three-year-old.

“And that makes me happy. You want to see people do well because they are still our horses, by our stallions, out of our mares out there winning.”

Grierson says that has also been the case with Australian buyers who have pinhooked weanlings, taken them home and made big profits selling them at yearling sales in Australia.

So how does an operation the size of Woodlands decide who will head to the May sales as opposed to being retained or go to the more commercial February yearling sale?

Obviously being by the King, Bettors Delight, helps get you a February date, especially as demand at the yearling sales is based so much around the leading five or six stallions.

“The reality is, and it has become even clearer in the last five years, is that if we didn’t support the new stallions we brought in they would struggle to get established,” admits Grierson.

“Because so many breeders want to go to the well-known commercial which we can understand.

“So we will breed to our stallions and then sell some in February but some go to the May sale and people tend to buy them cheaper.

“That gives buyers two chances, they can pinhook them to next February or race them and have the option to sell them as horses.

“Again, with us breeding so many mares we can’t race up to 100 horses if they aren’t among the yearlings we sell.
Grierson says Woodlands use the stallion’s service fee as a good indicator for the reserve at a sale.

“Obviously you don’t want to go much lower than that but sometimes we do. We get together as a team and work out what we think is a fair but also realistic price and go from there.”

With this month’s sale on gavelhouse.com, the Woodlands team have had to approach the marketing differently, with even more emphasis on photos and video because buyers won’t be able to see the horses for sale on the day.

“So we have taken a lot more photos than we would with previous sales and concentrated on things buyers might find important, like specific areas of the horses to check conformation.

“We are lucky we have a good team here with Tony Grayling, whose daughter Maddy did the photos, and Kelly Blakemore and then Stacey White has been able to package those up with details about the horses.

So how does Grierson expect the sale to go on gavelhouse.com at a time of such economic uncertainty?

“I think it will go well. I think we can expect good Australian interest because of the prices and the good pin-hooking success they have had, plus the fact they are not disadvantaged in any way by not being here.

“And it is a big bonus that weanlings offered here will be eligible for the Harness Millions series.

“But of course there will be bargains. That is the attraction of this sale.”

-By Michael Guerin

2020 All Age Sale Live on gavelhouse.com


The 2020 All Age Sale catalogue is now live on gavelhouse.com Standardbred.

Bidding for the Sale is set to open from Wednesday 20 May, with the first Lot closing on Wednesday 27 May.

It is important to note that bidding of the first Lot will now close at a new start time of 1pm (NZT) on 27 May, instead of the previously proposed time of 5pm.

Taking into account government restrictions where in-person inspections of All Age stock are currently not viable, NZB Standardbred has worked closely in conjunction with industry leader in online auctions, gavelhouse.com, to ensure buyers have enhanced access to a strong line up of 148 lots.

Group One-winning bloodlines aren’t the only type on offer at the All Age Sale. Bidders can also secure siblings to black-type winners and progeny from Group-winning dams, who have ample credentials to follow the example of their winning families.

The line-up includes Lot 8, a half-sister to Group Two NZ Welcome Stakes winner Alta Orlando (NZ) (Courage Under Fire). She is a Sunshine Beach weanling filly out of Group Three-winning dam La Joconde from Alabar Farms.

Lot 18 is a half-brother to Group Three winner Motu Gatecrasher (NZ) (Changeover), a weanling colt by Woodlands Stud stallion Downbytheseaside out of Motu Fantasy.

Group Two Waikato Flying Mile winner Star Galleria (NZ) (Art Major) is a full-sibling to Art Major weanling filly (Lot 51) out of Starlitnight on account of Alabar Farms.

From the draft of Alabar Farms, Lot 59 is a half-sister to Group Two Kaikoura Cup winner Classie Brigade (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight). The weanling filly is by Rock N Roll Heaven out of Group Three-winning dam Trigirl Brigade.

Art Major weanling colt (Lot 74) is out of Group Three WA Breeders Stakes winner Alchemist (NZ) (Mach Three) out of the Alabar Farms draft.

Alabar Farms’ Lot 75 is an Art Major weanling colt out of Alta Camilla and is a full-brother to Group Three winner Alta Maestro (NZ) and half-brother to Group Three winner Alta Jerome (NZ) (Jereme’s Jet).

Offered through Woodlands Stud’s draft, What the Hill weanling filly (Lot 79) is out of Amanda’s Gem, making her a half-sister to Group Three winner Rompers Monarchy (NZ) (Monarchy).

Group Two winner Classic American (NZ) (American Ideal) is a half-sibling to an American Ideal weanling colt (Lot 93) out of Classic Vicolo from Woodlands Stud.

Art Major weanling colt out of Hu Hu from Alabar Farms (Lot 123) is a half-brother to Group Three winner Gotta Go Ya Hu (NZ) (Big Jim).

Lot 143 offered on account of L. Mellsop is a Bettor’s Delight broodmare out of Pacing Grace, making her a half-sister to multiple Group-winning sibling Pacing Major (NZ) (Art Major) and Group Three winner All U Need Is Faith (NZ) (Art Major).


Adding further appeal to the bloodstock that will be on offer, all weanlings entered into the All Age Sale on gavelhouse.com are eligible to be nominated for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Race Series.

The All Age Sale has already been promoted for a number of weeks on the NZB Standardbred website, giving prospective buyers early access to the offerings including additional photos and videos.

It is important that buyers creative a gavelhouse.com account to ensure they are registered for bidding. A full step-by-step buyer how-to guide can be downloaded here.

For more information, contact Cam Bray (Cam.Bray@nzb.co.nz or call +63 21 737 199) or Haylie Martin (Haylie@gavelhouse.com or call +64 22 637 8127).

Level 3 Covid-19 Equine Activities update


Guidance on equine activities permitted under COIVID-19 Alert Level 3

30 April 2020

The following relevant information was provided among guidance issued today by the Ministry for Primary Industries.  NZTR also reminds all employers/businesses that they must have a COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan (refer link to Worksafe template) to operate under COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

Any queries may be directed to Martin Burns, GM Welfare & Sustainability.

Horse Transport

At Level 3 horses are classed as freight, and all freight can be distributed and received.  Therefore, providing you use a commercial horse transporter the horses that need to be moved can go anywhere else in New Zealand.

If you are transporting horses within your region, this can be done with a private float. If you are doing this please ensure you practice safe distancing, strict hygiene measures, and contact tracing is possible, reduce risks to yourself and the horses. This should be something you have done before.

Farriers, Horse care services (including clippers, saddle fitters, dentistry, chiropractors etc)

Animal and horse care service businesses may operate at Alert Level 3, but only if they can meet safe practice requirements and can operate without physical contact with (human) customers, and any other public health measures are taken to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.  If they can’t operate safely, they must not provide their services.

The Ministry of Health advises there is no risk from animals having COVID-19, but just like with inanimate objects, they can be fomites or vehicles for transmission.

I’m a breeder/seller/transporter of horses. How do I operate safely?

Businesses can operate at Alert Level 3 if they can meet safe practice requirements and can operate without physical contact with customers e.g. through online viewings/sales, contactless pick-up and drop-off.

People are not allowed to view animals in person for sale or adoption.  Animal rescue centres or adoption centres remain closed to the public. Alternative options to conduct viewings for adoption/rehoming must be used, e.g. online.

If customers are coming to your property to fetch a horse, you should adhere to all the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including:

·       Regular disinfecting of surfaces and equipment used to handle animals.

·       Encouraging good hand hygiene by allowing frequent hand washing and sanitising.

·       Not having sick people in the workplace.

·       Meeting physical distancing requirements when picking-up and dropping off animals.

General advice

During Alert Level 3, everyone should strive for social distancing of no less than 1 metre.

Customers cannot enter business premises at Alert Level 3, with a few exceptions (eg supermarkets and petrol stations).

WorkSafe has guidance for businesses on preparing to open at Alert Level 3 here: https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/novel-coronavirus-covid/covid-19-advice-for-businesses-operating-at-alert-level-3.

If your business cannot operate safely, it needs to remain closed.

·      Please note you should also prepare a COVID-19 safety plan for your workplace. Information about that can be found here: https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/novel-coronavirus-covid/covid-19-safety-plan-what-you-need-to-think-about


  • NZ Thoroughbred Breeders

Buying a horse on gavelhouse.com


How do I register?

On the gavelhouse.com Standardbred home page click ‘REGISTER’, located on the top right hand corner of the screen.


  1. Fill in your details and click ‘CREATE MY ACCOUNT’ (The username you create is what shows when you bid and cannot be changed).
  2. You will receive a verification email that you must open and click on the orange VERIFY button (if this email is not in your ‘Inbox’ try checking your ‘Junk Mail’).
  3. Once verified, LOGIN and click on your username in the top right corner and go to ‘SETTINGS’ to complete your user profile details.


4. You will then receive a final confirmation email once your registration is complete and you will then have access to bid.


Auction closing – The final countdown will commence starting with Lot 1. Note, once Lot 1 finishes, the countdown for Lot 2 begins.


Auto Extend – If a bid is placed in the final 30 seconds, the auction will auto-extend for a further 30 seconds to allow for further bidding. This will happen as many times as necessary until no further bids are placed on that Lot before moving on to take final bids on the next Lot.

Opening Bid – A minimum opening bid of $500 is required for horses offered for sale without a reserve. Should an unreserved horse listed fail to receive a bid, then the offering will be passed in.

How to bid – Simply click on the purple ‘PLACE BID’ button on the Lots page, make sure you refresh your page to ensure the next minimum bid value is correct if you place a second bid (if you are not logged in or registered you will not have this option, there is also no ‘PLACE BID’ button on the Lots you are a vendor of).

  • To ensure your next minimum bid is correct refresh your page from the browser found at the top of the page or type in the amount.


What is an Auto-Bid?

An auto bid is an amount up to which you allow the system to bid automatically on your behalf. The system will only raise your bid when a counter bid has been placed. As the holder of the maximum bid, each bid placed will be recorded as your new highest bid until your maximum has been outbid.

When an auto-bid limit is less than the reserve price, the system will record the maximum bid entered.

If you enter the same amount as another members’ maximum, the first member to place the bid will be the winning bidder at that amount.

Bidding increments are set as follows:

Minimum opening bid $500
$500 – $4,999 $100
$5,000 – $9,999 $250
$10,000 – $19,999 $500
$20,000 – $49,999 $1,000
$50,000 + $2,500




Contacting vendors and inspections

Buyers are strongly encouraged to do as much research as possible about the Lots they are interested in before bidding.

Vendors can be contacted via the gavelhouse.com messaging system to arrange inspections when you are logged in and contacted by phone with the details on the right hand side of the listing pages.

Establishing an online connection

gavelhouse.com cannot identify loss of online connection or browser issues at the user’s end. Even a slight loss of internet connection that may not be noticeable can interrupt the user’s browser in following the sale in real-time therefore setting up an auto-bid is the best way to ensure your bids are placed. Google Chrome or Safari are the recommended internet browsers.

gavelhouse.com staff are able assist in actively supporting both buyers and vendors during the sale, if you need a hand with registration or bidding, we are available on phone or email during our online auction to help.

FAQ – https://gavelhouse.co.nz/Faq

After the sale

You will receive an invoice for your purchase shortly after the sale which is payable on receipt and no later than five working days after the sale. Should you wish to have your purchase scoped, it is your responsibility to arrange and pay for this. This must be done within three working days of the sale with a list of vets around the country available on request.

On receipt of the funds gavelhouse.com exchange the contact details of and notify both buyer and seller that the horse may now be picked up.

Ownership papers will be forwarded to buyers from the NZB Standardbred offices in Christchurch.

Majestic Horse Floats LEVEL 3


Majestic Horse Floats will be able to begin transporting horses again when we are moved down to LEVEL 3 on Tuesday the 28th of April.

You are able to book now for transport to be completed when we move out of level 4.

You can book online here:

Or you can call us on: 0800 4 FLOATS

We will have strict protocol in place to keep both you and our staff safe, please read the following carefully:

• Payment is to be made at time of booking prior to moving the horse. If payment is not sighted before the pick-up date, your horse will not be picked up.

• Majestic staff will give an estimated time of arrival to property. There must be someone on site either side of an hour of this estimated time. This person must have a working mobile phone so we can contact them and they must be COMPETENT and ABLE to help load the horse/s.

• On truck arrival please guide the driver to loading bank or area of load/unload. Once in desired location please signal drive to stop. Please do not touch the truck or any of the operating door controls. THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE.

• We will endeavour to keep to the 2 metre separation rule but this may not be possible.

• If you are sick please call to rebook your transport for a later date.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to an increased number of bookings there are a large number of horses needing transport, please expect a longer wait time before we can get your horse on a truck. We really appreciate your patience and understanding while we try to get everyone’s horses moved as quickly and safely as possible.

We hope everyone is keeping well and look forward to being able to get your horses moving again! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or require a quote.

Kind regards,
The Team at Majestic Horse Floats

One week left to enter April Standardbred auction


With the move to host New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred’s All Age Sale via gavelhouse.com Standardbred in May, the site’s April sale will be the last chance for sellers to offer mixed stock to the market until June.

The site has been running monthly online auctions for six months now and is closing in on having sold 100 horses via the site for over $280,000 and a top price to date of $25,000.

On the uptake of the concept to date gavelhouse.com General Manager Haylie Martin commented “We are fairly pleased with how the site is tracking however there’s still work to do around getting vendors to present their horses in the best possible manner while setting realistic reserves.

“We went through the same process when we launched our thoroughbred auctions in April 2016 and what transpired over time was that when the majority of vendors adopted the unreserved approach and let their stock find their true market value, the auctions really gained traction.

“We understand the costs involved in getting horses on the ground and educated and ideally want to see our vendors recoup them, however at times this is not always achievable.  This is a great tool for those looking to cut costs in a timely and inexpensive manner.

“At vendors’ disposal is the knowledgeable NZB Standardbred team for those who are looking for advice on valuing their stock or guidance as to how to best present them for sale,” said Martin.

Entries for the gavelhouse.com Standardbred April auction are due online by 7pm Wednesday 22 April and it will be launched at 5pm Thursday 23 April with bidding closing starting with Lot 1 at 7pm on Wednesday 29 April.

Meanwhile the catalogue for the All Age Sale is currently online at NZB Standardbred’s site to allow purchasers plenty of time to do their homework. Bidding on the sale will open on gavelhouse.com Standardbred on Wednesday 20 May and close from 5pm on Wednesday 27 May.

gavelhouse.com also announced on Thursday that they will launch an additional, enhanced site to their stable of services in May. Named Gavelhouse Plus, it will be used for one-off high profile auctions that can be run at any stage outside their traditional standardbred and thoroughbred auctions.

To discuss your Standardbred selling options contact Cam Bray 021 737 199 or cam.bray@nzb.co.nz

gavelhouse.com set to launch enhanced site


In conjunction with parent company New Zealand Bloodstock, industry leader in online thoroughbred and standardbred sales, gavelhouse.com, will launch an enhanced platform in May named Gavelhouse Plus.

With a focus on innovation and servicing clients in the best possible way, General Manager Haylie Martin has been keen to take the platform to another level.

“Gavelhouse Plus is an idea that has been bubbling away for a while and the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic gave us the impetus to expedite the project,” she said.

“Gavelhouse Plus will complement our existing auctions by allowing us to sell one off, high profile horses at any given time, while also aiding our parent company New Zealand Bloodstock in hosting sales that would traditionally have been held in an auditorium.

“I am sure there are quality mares out there who were destined for breeding stock sales in Australia that are now unable to travel, so this site is the perfect solution.

“Our successful traditional format will continue with our fortnightly thoroughbred auctions and monthly standardbred auctions on their existing sites.”

New Zealand Bloodstock’s Managing Director, Andrew Seabrook, is excited by the new initiative.

“This new platform will allow us more flexibility in the selling and buying of horses, while rolling in the benefits of enhanced services from the NZB team,” he said.

“Online bloodstock sales are here to stay so we want to be at the forefront of their progression.”

The site is currently under development and is set to launch in mid-May 2020, in time to host one of two traditional New Zealand Bloodstock Sales that have succumbed to the COVID-19 lockdown.

NZB’s South Island Sale, previously set to be held in Christchurch in April, will now be hosted online with entries closing on Wednesday 27 May, launching on Thursday 28 May and the auction running through until 5pm on Sunday 7 June.

NZB’s Karaka May Sale will follow this lead in the form of a quality, online weanling Sale in June. All Lots will be required to have x-rays available for viewing in NZB’s repository with the added benefit of being eligible to be nominated for the Karaka Million Series. Entries for this sale will open after the South Island Sale and are due on Wednesday 10 June, the auction launches on Thursday 11 June and bidding will run through until 5pm on Sunday 21 June.

Introduced in April 2016, gavelhouse.com has had a huge impact on the trading landscape of New Zealand’s thoroughbred industry with their fortnightly online auctions.

In the last 12 months over 900 horses have sold for turnover in excess of $4.4 million, including online record breakers Consensus and Hasahalo who sold for $622,500 and $670,000 respectively.

More recently, the site has also become a useful tool for trading standardbreds, with NZB’s National All Age Sale set to take place on gavelhouse.com Standardbred next month.

Further details about each of the NZB sales will be released in the coming weeks. If you have a high-profile horse you would consider auctioning on Gavelhouse Plus, contact Haylie Martin +64 22 637 8127 or email haylie@gavelhouse.com to discuss your options.

For questions regarding the upcoming NZB sales to be hosted on Gavelhouse Plus, contact Kane Jones +64 27 274 4985 or kane.jones@nzb.co.nz

Group One Bloodlines on Offer at All Age Sale


The New Zealand Bloodstock 2020 All­ Age Sale, set to be conducted on the digital platform gavelhouse.com this May, is brimming with plenty of Group One-winning relations who have ample credentials to follow in the footsteps of their families.

Buyers have the opportunity to invest in a wide range of bloodstock with proven bloodlines and residual value, including siblings to Group One winners and progeny from Group One-winning dams.

Lot 5 is a half-sister to Group One-winning Eamon Maguire (NZ) (Art Major), a weanling filly by first season sire Vincent out of Kim Maguire from the draft of Alabar (NZ).

Consigned by Woodlands Stud, Lot 13 is a weanling filly by Sweet Lou out of Love A Gamble, who is a half-sister to Group One winner Let it Ride (NZ) (Rock N Roll Heaven).

Woodlands’ Downbytheseaside filly (Lot 35) is out of unraced mare Revere Me, who is a full-sister to Group One winners Have Faith In Me (NZ) and Adore Me (NZ).

On account of Alabar (NZ), Lot 78 is by Vincent out of dual Group One-winning mare Alta Serena (NZ) (Art Major), also making the weanling filly a three-quarter-sister to Group Three winner Hughie Green (NZ) (Art Major).

Group One winner Massive Metro (NZ) (Muscle Mass) has a half-sister on offer in Lot 128, a yearling filly by Wishing Stone out of Paris Metro consigned by Alan Clark.

Alabar (NZ) broodmare Peace Seeker (Lot 138) is a CR Commando mare out of Della’s Speed, making her a half-sister to multiple Group One winner and New Zealand Trotter of the Year, Speeding Spur (NZ) (Pegasus Spur).

Breckon Farms’ Art Major broodmare Reachforthetill (Lot 139) out of Giveitawhirlgirl is a half-sister to dual Group One winner Twist And Twirl (NZ) (Artsplace) and is closely related to 2020 Group One Miracle Mile winner King of Swing (NZ) (Rocknroll Hanover).

Sassy Tart (Lot 140), a Bettor’s Delight broodmare out of Kelly Maguire is a full-sister to Group One winner Burnaholeinmypocket (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight). On account of Breckon Farms, the mare is in foal to Sweet Lou.

Adding further appeal to the bloodstock that will be on offer, all weanlings offered at the All Age Sale to be held on gavelhouse.com are eligible to be nominated for the NZB Standardbred Harness Million Sales Race Series.

Bidding opens on gavelhouse.com Standardbred from Wednesday 20 May with the first Lot closing on Wednesday 27 May at 5pm (NZT).

To register for bidding, create a gavelhouse.com account here.

For more information, contact Cam Bray (Cam.Bray@nzb.co.nz or call +64 21 737 199) or Haylie Martin (Haylie@gavelhouse.com or call +64 22 637 8127).

2020 All Age Sale to be Conducted on gavelhouse.com


New Zealand Bloodstock’s largest standardbred breeding stock sale is now set be conducted on the digital platform gavehouse.com this May, with an early release of the full catalogue available to view on the NZB Standardbred website.

Initially cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, the support and resilience shown by consignors alongside the partnership between NZB Standardbred and gavelhouse.com has seen the transfer of the 2020 All Age Sale catalogue to NZB’s subsidiary online auction platform.

The revised format will see only those initially entered in the physical sale offered on gavelhouse.com from Friday 1 May, with bidding open from Wednesday 20 May and the first Lot closing on Wednesday 27 May at 5pm (NZT). Read the full article here. 

Take an early look at the 2020 All Age Sale catalogue to go live on gavelhouse.com on 1 May below! To register for bidding, create a gavelhouse.com account here.

For more information, contact Cam Bray (Cam.Bray@nzb.co.nz or call +64 21 737 199) or Haylie Martin (Haylie@gavelhouse.com or call +64 22 637 8127).

Entries due tomorrow


Off the back of a record-breaking online Thoroughbred sale yesterday where the Savabeel mare Hasahalo sold for $670,000, there is just over one day before entries for this month’s gavelhouse.com Standardbred auction are due.

With eight monthly auctions having beein conducted for Standardbreds on the gavelhouse.com platform, the site has been a valuable addition to the trading landscape with horses selling for up to $25,000 to date and entries due online by 7pm tomorrow, Wednesday 18 March.

There are two steps for new users to enter horses including registering their user account and then following the simple, self-service process to enter each horse.

The catalogue will be launched at 5pm on Thursday 19 March with the auction running through until 7pm Wednesday 25 March and future auction dates available by following the link.

A standard entry fee is $125 + GST however you can increase your listing’s exposure by choosing a featured listing for $200 + GST. This will ensure your horse’s inclusion in an email newsletter to our comprehensive industry database plus sponsored social media posts.

Each listing may have up to five photos plus video footage and in a major coup for the Standardbred industry, Arion pedigrees and race results automatically pull through to gavelhouse.com listings.

New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred agent Cam Bray is the main point of contact and can be contacted on +64 21 737 199.

gavelhouse.com resources


Businesses looking to promote themselves via display
advertising on the site may contact 
Haylie Martin via
+64 22 637 8127 for more information.