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Malone happy to be heading North with new Hunter Valley farm

Former Kitchwin Hills employee takes over Kanangra and it’s full steam ahead to the Gold Coast

The late Bob Malone told his son Mick to always ensure he was heading north and that’s exactly what he is doing – the prominent industry figure and his wife Pauline Alix are relocating to Kanangra stud previously owned by Fred and Mary Moses.

After a long-term association with Hunter Valley nursery Kitchwin Hills spanning a quarter of a century, Malone suddenly left the stud in September, which has allowed the couple to go about building their own full-service broodmare and sales consignment farm.

It’s simply called North and there is a special significance to the name for Malone and his business philosophy.

“My dad died when I was about 23 and any time he’d see a couple of no-hoper young blokes or just people who were heading the wrong way, he always used to say to me, ‘those blokes are going south’ and that was just his saying,” Malone told ANZ Bloodstock News.

“He always used to say, ‘whatever you do in life, just go north’ and that’s how that arrived. 

“Secondly, Pauline and I love going north. We go to Cape York a lot to do a lot of fishing with the kids and, to me, if you’re going north you’re going better than if you’re going south.

“If I keep going north in life I’ll be pretty happy about it.”

While the association with Kitchwin Hills and the Brown family may have come to an end, Malone sees a lot of similarities at Kanangra, a 101-hectare property.

“It is very much in the realm of Kitchwin Hills, it just has that same feel to it, beautiful mountains and hills and a lovely flowing creek through it,” said Malone of the farm, 12 minutes’ drive north–west of Scone. 

“It’s land that appealed to me that is very similar to Kitchwin and it certainly feels the same here.

“[Group 1 winner] In Her Time was born and bred on Kanangra and so was Under The Louvre, so off a very small book of mares that farm has batted extremely well at that level. 

“It’s hard to get Group 1 winners no matter how you look at it, let alone the quality of mare that Fred Moses had and he wouldn’t be insulted by me saying that. 

“He has just batted well above his pedigree average, if that makes sense.”

Malone and Alix aren’t just easing into the new venture, either, presenting a draft of 16 yearlings at the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast in January, the first sale for the new season, with North also expected to have drafts at the Inglis Classic, Inglis Easter and HTBA sales and the various breeding stock sales later in 2024.

North’s draft includes an Ole Kirk (Written Tycoon) half-brother to the stakes-placed California Surreal (I Am Invincible); a half-sister to Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) runner-up Hit The Shot (Dundeel) by the Vinery Stud first season sire; and a Toronado (High Chaparral) brother to The Showdown (1200m) winner and Hong Kong Group-placed Prince Of Sussex.

The North draft also features close relations to this year’s Epsom Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) winner Rediener (Redoute’s Choice), and top-class sprinter In Secret (I Am Invincible).

“Not many little farms get the opportunity to kick off with a draft like that and then Classic’s nice and then Easter’s at that same [Magic Millions] quality, so we’re very humbled by the support and we’re really looking forward to the year ahead,” Malone said.

“The Farnan-Za Zi Ba, I don’t think I’ve bred a colt as nice as him in a long, long time. He’s just an absolute star, he’s got the best attitude, he has got a racehorse brain, he licks the bowl and he loves his work. God, he’s a nice horse.

“We have had great support post our departure from Kitchwin and, if anything, the support has been overwhelming.”

To help run North, Malone has also recruited Hannah Olden, Kate Dallimore and Jake Ranse and there will also be a familiar face at Magic Millions sporting a new uniform, John Jeffs.

Malone said: “We’ve got JJ doing the cards at Magic Millions for us and we’ll have a marquee with Sledmere still, so it is all systems go for January.”

Celebrating his 50th birthday yesterday, Malone has plenty of fond memories working on the rich hills of Kitchwin for half his life and, although he is no longer there, he has the utmost respect for the renowned paddocks’ ability to continue to produce high-class horses.

“Anyone who is umming and ahhing about where to send their mares, it should be Kitchwin because the writing’s on the wall, not many farms can claim what they’ve done, so I’d be fully supportive of any mares that headed that way or anyone who wants to buy off that farm,” he said.

“They’ve retained great staff like Bo Ritson who is in the office running the show and Oscar Engelbrecht is a great yearling person and is now managing the farm.”

Malone, a highly respected judge of a yearling, will also continue to provide selection advice for his existing and new clients at the 2024 sales and beyond.

He and Pauline will still live at their 49-hectare property Fromelles, providing two options for their equine business.

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