Growing up on a wheat and potato farm in Dargaville, New Zealand, thoroughbred horses weren’t something that even factored much in Brad McCully’s life. His uncle had some racehorses and an annual trip to the races was the extent of Brad’s equine interests.
After a stint working on a dairy farm, a job came up at Totara Park Stud. The job initially was as a Gardener/Maintenance Man but as with many small businesses when the breeding season got into full swing and staff were short, it was all hands-on deck to get the work done.
With no previous experience with horse handling, Brad was thrown in at the deep end.
“I was 18 years old before I even handled a horse,” said Brad.
“Before I knew it, I was handling stallions, foaling mares and caring for yearlings! I was initially quite scared of the horses but before long I grew to love working with horses.”
In total Brad spent 3 years working at Totora Park Stud but was thoroughly bitten by the horse bug.
Once Brad had decided that a career working with horses was for him, he started looking for stud hand jobs in Australia. After replying to an ad for a position with the Liston Family at their Three Bridges Stud Farm in Eddington, North Victoria, Brad made that move across the ditch.
“I wanted to work with top class horses and learn more about the breeding industry.”
During his time with Three Bridges, Brad was given the opportunity to prepare horses for and attend all the major sales throughout Australia. Over the following 2 years, Brad received invaluable experience as well as gaining an insight into all aspects of the breeding industry. It was during this time in Eddington that paths crossed with Rob Carlile who was Three Bridges’ Broodmare Manager at the time. While working together, Carlile became both a good friend and mentor to Brad. When Rob left to manage Two Bays Farm on the Mornington Peninsula, he offered Brad a job which he accepted, and Brad is now Yearling Manager at the Flinders farm.
Each year, when it comes time for branding the weanlings at Two Bays Farm, each staff member can use their favourite number on their pick of the crop. Brad likes to use the number 8 and successful horses who have received that brand include the chestnut colt Kubrick. Bred, raised and sold by Two Bays Farm, Kubrick is now trained by Chris Waller and has gone on to be Group 1 placed as a 2-year-old.
Described by friends as hardworking, honest, reliable and somewhat a perfectionist, the outgoing Brad has embraced his role as Yearling Manager at Two Bays Farm and harbours no ambitions at present to return to a dairy farming career. He has made the Mornington Peninsula his new home where he enjoys spending time away from the horses down at the many beaches, at the gym or socialising with friends.
And advice from Brad to someone wanting to get involved in the breeding industry?
“Is to not worry too much about what other people are doing, work hard at your own job, follow your own path and you will succeed”.