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New Zealand breeder Bob McArdle dies

January 26, 2018
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Bob McArdle, the New Zealand breeder best known in North America as the namesake for the top pacer McArdle, has died.

The 76-year-old who imported so many top stallions to New Zealand through his days at Nevele R Stud died in his sleep on Wednesday night (January 24). He is survived by his wife Denise and children Lisa and Baeden.

Few people have every contributed as much to, or for that matter accrued as much information about the Australasian breeding industry, as McArdle. Not only was he a breeder, owner and agent but with the late Wayne Francis set up Nevele R, the stud whose footprint on the industry worldwide is enormous.

Not only did they breed hundreds of winners of thousands of races, but Francis and McArdle brought the likes of Falcon Seelster, Holmes Hanover and earlier Timely Knight and El Patron to New Zealand, to mention just a few. Later, through his breeding and selling business Bromac Lodge, McArdle had a huge presence at the yearling sales, with 12 from that property to be sold at the Christchurch sales in a few weeks and three at Karaka.

"Bob’s impact on the industry here is impossible to overstate," says PGG Wrightson’s Peter Lagan. "What he and Wayne did at Nevele R will be felt across the industry for decades to come.

"And his knowledge of breeding in this part of the world might be the most detailed of anybody I have ever met. When you think of all the horses he bred, sold and was agent for he has put a lot of money in a lot of people’s hands over a very long period of time.

"He was a very smart businessman and knew what he wanted but no matter how frank a discussion or even disagreement you had with Bob, he would get over it and get down to business. The New Zealand industry owes him a lot."

Bob’s best horse he actually owned was probably Howard Bromac, who won an Auckland Cup and was placed in a New Zealand and Hunter Cup when trained by Kirk Larsen.

"He was maybe the best we had but Bob owned a hell of a lot of good horses," says Larsen. "We probably trained for him for over 30 years. He would breed horses and then we would train them, sell plenty but keep some.

"Bob had great knowledge and was a businessman first when it came to the horses but he loved the good families and was very loyal to them."

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