YEAR: 2010


Leicester Brosnan died least week, less than a month out from his 84th birthday.

Together with his brother Ken, 87, Brosnan was responsible for breeding numerous harness horses which went on to be successful either at stud or on the racetrack. Almost all of them trace back to their foundation mare Star Lady, by Smooth Fella out of Brenda Lee, who won five races herself but reached even greater heights at stud through her progeny and her many daughters and granddaughters which bred on as well.

The first horse that the Brosnan brothers ever bred was Queen Ngaio, a Light Brigade mare that stemmed from their late father John 'Jack' Brosnan winning a free service to the sire in a raffle.

Before retiring to Rangiora, Leicester lived on the family farm at the nearby township of Fernside all his working life. It was a property which started out at 400 acres but grew to almost double that, the centre of focus being mainly sheep and crop farming.

Although the brothers never raced many horses themselves, Ken's son Alister says his father and uncle got more enjoyment out of seeing the horses they'd bred go on and be successful for others, and that by leasing them it was also a way of keeping costs to a minimum. "They were thrilled when Star Lady won a broodmare award a couple of years ago," Alister said. "She's still here on the farm and in good health," he added about the now 31-year-old mare, "she's in a paddock with a couple of others and is still the boss."

About 18 months ago, Alister and his sisters - Pamela Brosnan, Janet Marsh and Dianna Palmer - together with their father Ken decided to try and continue the dynasty by forming Brosnan Standardbreds. They're breeding from a "mixture" of half a dozen or so mares , and the combined amount of stack and broodmares is well into the 20s.

Credit: HR Weekly: 24Nov10

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