As Paul Moroney watched Igraine bolt away with the Counties Cup he saw the future.

Well, in his case it was back to the future, but the future of the New Zealand bloodstock industry nevertheless.

Moroney is one of the legends of the New Zealand bloodstock industry and has been buying horses, predominantly as an agent, for so long Igraine's win in Saturday's $100,000 Cup at Pukekohe was his 120th individual stakes winner.

He has purchased 228 stakes performers, horses who have been at least placed at stakes level and Igraine was his third Counties Cup winner.


These days Moroney, the brother of top transtasman trainer Mike, mainly lives out of a suitcase, spending much of his life travelling from one thoroughbred sale to the next, trying to find others a star of the track or yearling sales.

But he was home to watch Igraine's convincing win over Mongolian Marshal and the only reason she is in New Zealand is because Moroney usually isn't.

Igraine is the first New Zealand stakes winner for champion European stallion Galileo and from one of the hottest families in Germany yet Moroney was able to secure her last year from the Tattersalls sales in England for Trelawney Stud in Waikato.

She cost around $130,000 so closer to $160,000 once landed in New Zealand but after her winning streak here she is now worth several times that and Moroney believes she is an example of what New Zealand breeders should be doing.

"We need to invest in these elite European families to keep updating our breeding industry," says Moroney.

Paul Moroney. Photo / NZPA
Paul Moroney. Photo / NZPA

"I believe the families and bloodlines in Europe are the best in the world and we are now seeing the consistent success they are having in Australia at the highest level.

"The most common complaint I have had from Australian buyers in the last decade is they think some of the New Zealand families are getting stale and I honestly believe we need 40-50 well-bred mares coming in a year to refresh it.

"Especially the good staying families. The Australians are very aware of how good that blood is now and we are seeing that by how many are buying going horses up in Europe.


"So if we can buy into these families and breed from them it will be huge for us because the Australians, and other buyers, will still come here to buy stayers."

The concept is not new for Moroney, who bought his first German broodmare over 30 years ago when the breeding industry was flush with pre-stockmarket crash money from breeding partnerships.

"Back then we saw some investment at that level but after the crash it dried up and I firmly believe it is what our industry needs."

Trelawney are not alone in securing Moroney's services to buy well-bred broodmare and racing prospects, with Cambridge Stud, Valachi Downs and the Sunlight Trust others who have imported fresh bloodlines this year.

Moroney is off to his next set of sales in England and France at the end of this week and while he might have a vested interest in promoting the European product, it is hard to argue with his logic, especially as those Australian buyers not hypnotised by the need for speed are going Euro-mad.

Igraine herself makes a pretty compelling argument.

She had looked a class stayer heading into Saturday but was so dominant she has emerged as the $6 equal favourite for the City Of Auckland Cup on New Year's Day, with part-owner Cherry Taylor suggesting she will now race on until at least next season.

The other big mover for Ellerslie at New Year to come out of Saturday's meeting was Bostonian, who smashed his opponents in the Counties Bowl.

Fresh up from a successful last-season campaign in Queensland, the Tony Pike-trained four-year-old sat three wide and was way too good in the hands of Vinny Colgan.

That saw him shorten from $7 to $4.50 second favourite for the Sistema Railway on January 1 where his clash with Melody Belle could be one of the highlights of the carnival.