Finalists – Dedication to Breeding Award 2020 – Sponsored by Magic Millions
27 May 2020
Between them, Martin Bruechert and Chris Cooper have devoted more than 60 years to the thoroughbred breeding industry, an effort that more than qualifies them as finalists in the Dedication to Breeding category of the Australian Stud and Stable Staff Awards for 2020.
But there is much more than long service to support the credentials of the two men who both work on Hunter Valley farms, Bruechert at Coolmore and Cooper at Godolphin’s broodmare base, Woodlands.
Bruechert’s career began at Lindsay Park in South Australia in 1985 and has included stints at Arrowfield, Coolmore in Ireland, Darley’s Kelvinside stud, The Pines Stud in Victoria, Rheinwood Pastoral, Cressfield and, currently, at Coolmore’s Australian farm at Jerry’s Plains where he’s spent the past six years.
His SSSA nominator, Coolmore colleague Max Nudd, describes Bruechert as “the consummate horseman”.
“Martin handles all situations on the farm, he’s a brilliant pedigree analyst, a generous mentor, he has a great understanding of a mare’s reproductive cycle. There is hardly a role he couldn’t fill,” Nudd said.
The position he occupies at Coolmore today is as a supervisor, weaning all the farm’s foals and teaching them the basics of walking, leading and handling.
In previous roles he had 350 mares under his care at Arrowfield, looking after each of them personally from head to tail.
He also accompanied Danehill back to Coolmore in Ireland in 1994 and worked the season at the farm.
Bruechert’s place among the final two in the Dedication to Breeding category of the SSSA is greeted with grace and gratitude.
“I can’t thank the organisers enough for this sort of recognition. So many people working on farms and in stables are never noticed, so it’s great when it happens,” he said.
Chris Cooper’s dedication to his industry is unquestionable.
He first worked at Woodlands when the farm was owned by the Ingham brothers and apart from a season spent at Widden Stud, he has been at the farm since 1994.
To Cooper, the opportunity to work with one of the country’s finest broodmare bands is one thing, but to do so at Woodlands makes it all the more special.
“The entire atmosphere of the place is incredible. You see it in the reaction of people who come and visit, they are amazed.
“For me it is more special because my wife and I have raised two kids here. It’s much more than a place to work, it’s in our souls.”
Cooper’s appreciation for the life Woodlands has given him is reciprocated in full.
His nominator, the farm’s Assistant Manager Simon Johnson, regards Cooper as a man of “absolute dedication” that is demonstrated every day.
“It’s normal to see Chris at work at first light every day and you’ll find him driving through the paddocks each evening just before dark checking on his mares,” Johnson says.
“He treats the place as he would if it were his own and the mares are like his own family.”
Among that “family” are the mares who are producing the horses that Godolphin races, as well as the retired broodmares like the 32-year-old Excited Angel, a mare who won 12 races and produced nine winners, and Mnemosyne, a G1 winner herself and the mother of the G1 winner Impending.
“Chris’s love for the mares and his attention to detail has saved many lives. Everything he does is about caring for them and it is reflected in our broodmare band,” Johnson said.