Kiwi Star Madison County Bound for USA
Media Release - Tuesday November 12

Multiple New Zealand Group One winner Madison County will continue his career in North America with trainer Chad Brown as he plays a trail-blazing role for his owners. 

Madison County - image Trish DunnellThe China Horse Club-owned gelding has won four of his 14 career starts, with a further six placings and was New Zealand’s Champion Three-Year-Old on the back of Group One victories in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and the Levin Classic (1600m), while he was also runner-up in the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m).

The four-year-old son of Pins failed to show his best in three runs in Melbourne this spring for champion Kiwi trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, but was a victim of wide barriers and was beaten less than five lengths on all three occasions.

“We just felt it was an opportunity to try something and the fact that he is a gelding allowed us to do that a lot more freely,” China Horse Club’s racing and bloodstock manager Michael Wallace said.

“As we go down the road, there is opportunity to move horses from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and it is something that we’ve never done or a lot of people have never done.

“We felt that there was a potential opportunity for him to race very well all-year-around in a pretty open turf division in America.”

Purchased by Wallace for just $36,000 at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sales from the draft of leading nursery Waikato Stud, the astute judge believes Madison County possesses the right attributes for American racing.

“He has got a great demeanour and that is going to help him with the travel and he has got a very good turn of foot which you require in most places, but definitely the way they run the races here (in the United States), if you can run off the bend and close well, that puts you in a good spot.

“We were just mindful to try something new.”

Wallace praised the efforts of the Baker-Forsman team and said the gelding would be in top hands as he joined leading trainer Chad Brown.

“It has been a great result having him be the Champion three-year-old and Murray and Andrew have done such a terrific job with him,” Wallace said.

“It will be sad for them to see him go, but he went with their blessing and we have plenty of other nice horses coming through with them, which is encouraging.

“Chad is one of the leading trainers full stop, but obviously on the turf he is just at a different level it seems.

“He has got a good grasp on how to train these horses when you have to mix your synthetic training and your dirt training onto your turf. He was a pretty obvious choice really.”

Madison County went for a break following his most recent run for eighth in the Gr.2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley.

“He went straight into the paddock after his last run and he is coming up in the first few days of December,” Wallace said.

“The quarantine is actually very simple. It is only 48 hours on arrival into the States.”

While Madison County’s relocation to America will be a test-case for the China Horse Club, former New Zealand horses have raced with good success in the region.

Group One-winning New Zealand juvenile Happyanunoit went on to be a triple Grade One winner for the late Bobby Frankel, while Black Mamba won at the elite level for California trainer John Sadler, having previously been prepared in New Zealand by Murray Baker.

Sadler also prepared former Kiwi, Crossing The Line, for Grade Two success while Pins gelding Nautique was successful at Grade Three level for Jerry Hollendorfer.

Habibi, the 2013 Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) victor went on to win at stakes level for trainer Mark Frostad and prominent owner George Strawbridge, in addition to finishing runner-up in the Gr.1 Northern Dancer Stakes (2400m) at Woodbine. – NZ Racing Desk