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The King Still In Top Swing in New Zealand

By Paul Vettise February 01 2010
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Iconic New Zealand breeder Sir Patrick Hogan has ruled the Kiwi roost for decades and there's no sign yet he's ready to settle for a quieter life.

At three score years and more than 10, his quest for further success to maintain the coveted pole position remains as strong as ever.

Sir Patrick has conquered all from his Cambridge base with the legendary Sir Tristram the foundation to breeding stardom and the baton is now carried by his prolific son Zabeel.  

Among Cambridge Stud's vast achievements has been a staggering 28-year unbroken run as the leading vendor at New Zealand Bloodstock's National Yearling Sales.

"It's my Melbourne Cup," - the king of the Karaka ring, whose pre-sale preparation is meticulous, has often told me.
Sir Patrick's Zabeel-Diamond Like colt was the star of the show earlier this year when he departed the auditorium with a $2 million price tag on his regal head.

Shy of their Australasian record of $3.6 million for Don Eduardo maybe, but the stud's 11th million-dollar lot and fifth from the legendary Eight Carat family to break that mark at Karaka.

Add in the Knighthood and a CBE, induction to both the Australian and New Zealand Halls of Fame and it's an extraordinary life.

But Sir Patrick remains a driven man and he wasted little time in acting on a trend at the National Sale in February.
"The buying strength at Karaka told us that it's the classic middle distance horse which is the most in demand," he said.
"What we do best - better than Australia - is breed the classic, weight-for-age and middle distance horses.
"This horse is exactly what everyone is screaming out for."

Sir Patrick was referring to his latest stallion acquisition - the dual Group One winner Tavistock - and proof his desire to remain at the top still burns brightly.

Tavistock is one of two sons of Montjeu in New Zealand to display the stunning turn of foot he had on his stallion check list.

Given Thorndon Mile winner Wall Street is less 'intact' than Tavistock, Sir Patrick pounced and landed his prey.

Tavistock's top-level titles include a defeat of reigning New Zealand Horse of the Year Mufhasa in the Mudgway Partsworld Stakes and rising sprinting star Wealth Princess in the Waikato Draught Sprint.

To complement performance, his parentage further ticked all the breeding boxes for Sir Patrick.

"Montjeu is a champion stallion and it's a proven cross with New Zealand bloodlines," he said.

With the aforementioned Wall Street, Montjeu has also been further represented by Group One Australasian winners Nom du Jeu (Australian Derby), Roman Emperor (Australian Derby) and Sharvasti (Avondale Cup).

Tavistock is out of the Quest For Fame mare Upstage and provided Sir Patrick with a sense of deja vu.

"It's a sire line which oozes speed. Quest For Fame is by Rainbow Quest who, in turn, is by Blushing Groom. Stravinsky is from a Blushing Groom mare and I believe this is where he inherited his turn of foot," he said.

Tavistock also claims as his third dam the prolific matron Mrs Moss, who left Japan Cup winner Jupiter Island and her descendants number more than 150 individual winners.

It is a family the Duchess of Bedford has been closely associated with and Tavistock was bred by her Bloomsbury Stud, since sold and now in the ownership of high-profile Australian identity Gerry Harvey.

Sir Patrick's acquisition of Tavistock is further evidence that the New Zealand breeding industry's identity has been returned.

For so many years we were regarded as the rearing ground of superior distance performers until the posts were shifted sharply downfield to speed.

It was then life in the fast line and although we competed with a degree of success, it's not our natural game.

Much to New Zealand breeders' delight, it was the middle-distance types that were back in huge demand with buyers at Karaka this year.

The financial opportunities available in Australia for staying horses have helped to turn back the clock in our yearling and stallion markets.

It wasn't lost on the Coolmore breeding empire either who have reclaimed boom stallion High Chaparral from Windsor Park Stud to stand in the Hunter Valley.

The son of Sadler's Wells made a huge impact from his former Cambridge base, but like Montjeu before him, became too precious for New Zealand's own good.

At least we have now secured two of Montjeu's finest in Tavistock and Nom du Jeu, who will stand his debut season at the Fell family's Fairdale Stud later this year.

About the Author

Paul Vettise
PAUL VETTISE is a New Zealand-based freelance racing journalist and a former two-time President of the NZ Racing Journalists' Association. As well as a regular contributor to thoroughbred publications and websites, he is contracted to several leading stud farms to service their media requirements. He is also the owner of the popular web-based test-mating service Siremate (www.siremate.co.nz) and a pedigree advisor to both commercial and hobby breeders.