In 2008 Sir Tristram was inducted in the NZ Racing Hall of Fame.
The search that eventually produced Sir Tristram began in 1975 when New Zealand studmaster Patrick Hogan visited some of the most famous training establishments in England, Ireland and France. The bluest blood of the time was paraded, blood too blue for Hogan's budget of around $200,000.
On his return to Cambridge Stud, Hogan received a pedigree in the mail and knew he had found his new stallion.
On pedigree Hogan was sold. Sir Tristram was by the Champion English Three-Year-Old Sir Ivor, from the Royal Charger sire-line, out of the Round Table mare Isolt. His dam carried the impeccable bloodlines of Princequillo, My Babu, Feola, Lavendula, plus Isolt's third dam, Selene, was the dam of the great Hyperion.
The colt's race record was less spectacular, although his owner, US Ambassador to Ireland Raymond Guest, regarded his French-trained colt highly enough to set him for the still-unachieved Kentucky-Epsom Derby double.
Unable to return immediately to Europe, Hogan asked the British Bloodstock Agency to inspect the horse, their report being even less flattering than the horse's race record.
The experts didn't like his rear end at all. Hogan though recalled the words of his father, an Irishman and a good judge, who told him: 'no horse is perfect: put up with faults behind the saddle - don't give away too many up front.'
When he received a description of his front end, and finally viewed him, Hogan knew he was right to confound the experts by buying Sir Tristram.
But buying 'Paddy'-Sir Tristram - was only the first hurdle.
A fire at the farm in England where Sir Tristram was quarantined saw him narrowly escape from the flames; then a well-aimed kick by a mare during the subsequent confusion nearly finished his stud career before it began.
On arrival Sir Tristram's ill temper and some shareholder rejection caused Hogan more than a few headaches
THE CHAMPION SIRE
Sir Tristram's figures are staggering but they tell only part of the story. His place in the history of international thoroughbred racing and breeding is secured by the outstanding memories of the past and his legacy for the future.
The success of his early runners saw a number of Sir Tristram's sons, such as Sovereign Red, Dalmacia and Grosvenor take up stud duties in Australia and New Zealand from the early eighties. The victory of Grosvenor's first crop son Omnicorp in the 1987 Victoria Derby spurred even more the demand for sons of Sir Tristram.
However it was as a broodmare sire that Sir Tristram's potential as a long-term breeding influence was first realised.
Midnight Fever, foaled in 1984 from one of his first daughters to go to stud, won the Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield in 1987 and helped Sir Tristram to his first million-dollar season in Australia as a broodmare sire.
He was Australia's Champion Broodmare Sire for the fourth time in the 1997-98 season with 132 winners, and today Sir Tristram is the brood mare sire of the winners of more than $50 million. He has twice set new records for damsire earnings in Australia, his daughters' progeny winnings of $A9.4 million in the 1996-97 season still a record.
His daughters have left Golden Slipper winners, classic winners, Cups winners, super weight-for-age performers and even a Group winner at Royal Ascot in Kingfisher Mill.
A stallion's place in thoroughbred history, rightly or wrongly, is established more firmly by sire sons than by brood mare daughters. Many of the more than 40 sons of Sir Tristram at stud in Australia and New Zealand have been successful; some, like El Qahira and Sir Sian, achieving success despite meagre opportunities.
Grosvenor, Kaapstad and Marauding are simply outstanding sires and in recent years it appears Sir Tristram has made way for a horse who could potentially be the one sire to emulate or even exceed the records he himself set so freely, Zabeel.
With the assistance of his sons and daughters, Sir Tristram appeared in the pedigrees of one in four of the 67 Group One winners in Australia in the 1996-97 season. This bold statistic from the world's second largest racing arena more than most demonstrates the might and power of Sir Tristram's dynasty.
On the 21st of May in 1997, a few months into his 26th year, Sir Tristram broke his shoulder in his paddock and could not be saved.
The sadness of that day has been tempered by the continued blossoming of Sir Tristram's dynasty and the personal memories of a time with a stallion recognised around the world as one of the best.
Sir Tristram was buried in the manner of great horses in ancient times, a fitting tribute for a horse who has contributed so much to the breed, to the sport of thoroughbred racing and the business of breeding thoroughbred horses in this special part of the world.
THE SALE RING
From 1983, as the flow of top quality Sir Tristram stakes winners turned into a torrent, so were the floodgates opened for his stock in the yearling sale ring.
Through the 1980's and 1990's Sir Tristram's sons and daughters have posted record after record in the New Zealand National Yearling Sales, providing the Premier Session's highest price in all but 2 of the 14 sale renewals from 1983 to 1996.
In the dizzy sale of 1989 Sir Tristram again broke new ground, becoming the sire of New Zealand's first million dollar yearling, the $1.2 million son of Surround being bought by Japanese interests. From 1983 Sir Tristram has underpinned the New Zealand yearling sales, at times accounting for in excess of 25% of the Premier Session aggregate.