POLO AND RACING
The Murphy Family are passionate about breeding the best and highest quality polo and performance horses and are proud of our heritage and performance record. CM Murphy was the mastermind behind it all and referred to as 'Head Cowboy', he brought his incredible eye in seeing talent to the team.
Surfing Cowboys was born on 'Archerfield Farm' on the banks of the famous Hawkesbury River in Richmond, NSW. It was the breeding operation where many of the nations best polo horses were born.
Now, Sugar Beach Ranch is home for the Surfing Cowboys breeding program which encompasses all the elite bloodlines from some of Australia's best polo horses.
With over 30 horses we are seriously dedicated to breeding, training and developing high quality performance horses for all disciplines - Polo, Racing, Breeding, Horsemanship.
CM Murphy exercising polo ponies at sunrise
Our genetics include Australia's polo royalty...
Stallions at Stud:
plus many more...
how it all began
The foundation I built upon for brandedBP was to secure top quality thoroughbred mares to cross with an unlikely little colt who no-one believed in (at first) but would make a good stallion. His name was Sharka (later named Patto when Joe Curran purchased him).
Next Jimmy Hayden selected a few fillies for me and within that selection was Dusk (Dam to the sensational Jamaica). While all this action was happening in Australia I was living and playing in England at the Guards Polo Club. Peter Hayden had just finished a 3 year stint with Prince Charles as I arrived in England so on the suggestion of brother Jimmy Hayden, I hired Peter.
Peter taught me so much about the style of the horse and to see into the future of what that horse could be or breed on to be. One of Peter’s prudent purchases for our brand new polo pony squad was Lily. A little tiny buckskin from NZ.
Having eventually “stealing” Lily from Peter’s string I became addicted to everything about this little nugget - legs of steel, a heart as big as an elephant but most of all her unique personalty.
After three years in England it was time to return home to Australia. At this point we had something like 23 playing horses, all bloody good horses from Argentina to NZ and beyond. Some had played under the great 10-goalers of that time such as Memo Gracida, so it was a painful decision, I wanted to bring them all home but that was impossible. In the end I selected Lily, she was the youngest of the mares, never had a day off from leg issues and fought like a mad dog in every ride off, in every game.
My human vision was I would create a parallel line of genetics to the Sharka / Patto line (he was about 14.2 at best) over my gorgeous thoroughbred mares.
Where I would use the pure thoroughbred stallion Highlight (roughly 16hh) over my “pony” Lily (14.2) to get her “shit” (Jim Gilmore knows what I mean) to meet his speed and elegance.
Well, here is the trick to breeding my friends. Lily did take the trip to Melbourne Australia to meet the tall dark handsome stallion Highlight who by this time had made a solid reputation as a polo stallion.
After her compulsory quarantine Lily travelled to stay with Highlight to commence my vision of crossing quality stock horses with the right thoroughbreds (either way, mare to stallion or stallion to mare. You breeders know what I mean.)
But it all went terribly wrong… Lily would not accept Mr Handsome Highlight as she had her eyes on another stallion on the property, Sharka / Patto. Day after day Lily rejected Highlight, night after night little 14.2hh Lily would jump three fences to mate herself to 14.2hh Shaka.
When the vet advised she was pregnant to Shaka I was devastated… all my planning had gone up in smoke… what would I do with a polo pony that could be 14hh.
Well well, a tiny little filly came from the self-managed mating, Morocco. Yes, she is just 14hh.
Now the next part of the story is reserved for passionate breeders or more importantly for the passionate breeders-to-be.
As that little horse Morocco became the foundation of an incredible line which are presently spearheaded by the new hot shot the pros are busting to ride… COCO.
How we got there is another conversation.
Joe Curran recently giving me and my horse crazy family the elite honour to combine his genetics with the Murphy’s brandedBP genetics is only equal to selling 50 million albums.
The moral of the story is sometimes things are not how they appear, its how strong your vision is to see what others cannot see.
"Enjoy the ride, its pretty cool if you are passionate about what you do in life" - CM Murphy
A colt purchased for our breeding program named GO DADDY GO, he won at the Clarendon Stakes at Hawkesbury Racecourse
when two great breeds became one
Some people play polo because they love speed and skill along with the adrenaline shot of being connected to your trusted stead when riding into places where angels would fear to tread.
Then there are those whose passion for breeding one of the most majestic animals on earth goes beyond time or even common sense.
Where one person will visually paint a picture in their mind of the perfect polo horse, these crazy people will for decades, a life time in fact search for a mare, a stallion, year after year to create a foal with speed, agility, temperament and type.
Mr Joe Curran is one of those special people whose desire and passion took him to the highest heights of breeding magnificent polo athletes.
Not for profit or personal gain, he simply bred his elegant athletes with a burning passion just to see them play the game of polo.
I was in Argentina when the word was starting to spread that Joe was expanding his agricultural business with little time left to pursue his polo breeding program.
Within minutes of hearing the news I started calling Joe, initially without success.
Not only did Joe have the most extraordinary genetics he also held one of the jewels within Australia’s polo pony elite, JAMAICA, a little pocket rocket we Murphy’s bred some years back from a mare we purchased from Jimmy Hayden and sired by ZULU (Riverkid x Princess Beatrice).
Jamaica’s natural talents were being highlighted by Rob Ballard when she caught Joe's eye.
The rest is history.
It is with great pride and joy that Murphy’s BP Performance Horses have agreed to take over the reigns of Joe’s illustrious breeding program.
Joe has not retired from polo genetics, as one can never retire a passion, he has simply passed on the responsibility to brandedBP to maintain the high standards he has set for all us to follow.