Sir Patrick's final Karaka harrah at helm

24 Jan 2018

For the first time in 41 years, it rained on Cambridge Stud's parade.

Sir Patrick Hogan was forced to delay his public yearling parade at Karaka on Tuesday for nearly 30 minutes when a deluge of rain left his guests scampering for cover.

Eventually the rain eased and the show did go on - just as it will for one last time next week.

Handlers swapped their curry combs and leather leads for brooms and hastily swept away the puddles making for a clear walkway for the final draft of Cambridge Stud yearlings that will sell under Sir Patrick's direction.

The rain might have caused a temporary inconvenience but nothing could dilute the focus on Sir Patrick that Karaka 2018 will adopt as its theme in the coming week.

It's the end of an era - a period in which Sir Patrick revolutionised the art of preparing, marketing and selling a yearling.

"There's a huge amount of sentiment attached to it," Sir Patrick said of his 2018 draft.

"I keep on telling myself 'don't get upset when that last yearling goes through the ring'. I keep telling myself I'll be fine but I'm not trusting myself."

Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan's Cambridge Stud will present 56 yearlings in the Book 1 session and 11 in Book 2.

A superb line of Tavistock yearlings produced from the best quality mares he has served yet is the staple of Cambridge Stud's offering, though Sir Patrick has a high opinion of two Savabeel youngsters - a colt out of his star racemare Katie Lee (lot 301) and a filly out of Joy's Choice (lot 290).

"We think the Katie Lee colt will be among the best colts in the sale," Sir Patrick said.

"And we've got some outstanding fillies. The Tavistock filly out of Diamond Like could go close to topping the fillies and I've got a good opinion of the Savabeel-Joy's Choice filly.

Lot 301 – Savabeel x Katie Lee colt parades on a wet day at Karaka - Trish Dunell

Lot 301 – Savabeel x Katie Lee colt parades on a wet day at Karaka, Pic: Trish Dunell

"We've got a lot of quality Tavistocks, a great selection of fillies and colts, and they'll sell well but I don't expect any to be sale toppers. We've got some lovely Power yearlings which I expect to sell nicely and the Burgundys will be hot, though they are not out of our best mares."

Sir Patrick is renowned for reading the market and playing it to optimise his yearling sales profit.

Over the years he has established a record second to none, selling New Zealand's highest-priced yearling - Don Eduardo, for $3.6 million in 2000 - and was the premier sale's leading vendor by aggregate for a remarkable 31-year streak.

He has sold the highest-priced lot at the sales on 24 occasions, a New Zealand record.

But as he prepares to sell his final Cambridge Stud draft of yearlings before he hands over the iconic stud farm to new owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay in April, Sir Patrick revealed he wasn't expecting one last title this year.

"I haven't got huge expectations. I'm not thinking 'it's the last draft I'll ever do so I'll go out with a bang'. That's not possible. We've got 55-odd horses, whereas Waikato [Stud] have more than 80 and I can't compete with that," Sir Patrick said.

"But I expect that we will get some really nice prices. We've got some lovely fillies with pedigree that it's very difficult for people to get their hands on."

Sir Patrick has indicated he still intends selling a smaller draft of yearlings from mares he owns in partnership or from his current racing team that weren't part of the sale to the Lindsays in the future, though he said he will always be intrinsically linked to Cambridge Stud.

"On the fourth of April, Cambridge Stud might no longer be in my name but as far as I'm concerned Cambridge Stud is mine and will always be mine," he said.

"To come back through the gates again after it's changed hands will still be like coming home. I don't think I'll ever be detached from it."

Standing a succession of world-class stallions, most notably Sir Tristram and Zabeel, has ensured Cambridge Stud has become a household name in bloodstock circles but it's been Sir Patrick's drive for success that has seen it continue to evolve since its inception in 1976.

"Over the 40-odd years, it's been an amazing journey and an amazing ride and we've had some success along the way," Sir Patrick said.

"A lot of my success, I believe, is down to the fact that I'm very competitive. I'm hugely competitive. I always want to beat everyone else.

Cambridge Stud staff sweeping away water following a deluge prior to the Cambridge Stud Parade at Karaka on Tuesday - Trish Dunell

Cambridge Stud staff sweeping away water following a deluge prior to the Cambridge Stud Parade at Karaka on Tuesday, Pic: Trish Dunell

"I've always loved marketing and promoting and that's really down to working out how to be smarter than your competitor. I came up with a few tricks and ideas. Once you've got a great product, you just need to know how to best promote it and market it."

Sir Patrick's dynasty at Cambridge Stud has seen him receive numerous awards, win New Zealand breeder of the year on five occasions and even host the Queen.

He was awarded Outstanding Contribution to Racing Excellence, was given a CBE, then later knighted, made a life member of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, inducted into the Australian and New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame as well as the Waikato Business Hall of Fame, and received several honorary doctorates.

Sir Tristram, Zabeel and his star broodmare Eight Carat have also gained entry into the Racing Hall of Fame.

But to Sir Patrick, what has been more memorable have been the friendships around the world that he has made along the way and that he has shared the journey with his wife, Lady Hogan.

"Her influence has been huge. We were only kids when we got together and we were married at 21," he said.

"She has always said whatever decisions you make, whether they go the right way or the wrong way, I'll always support you on that. 

"She's the one who has kept my feet on the ground. A man can marry the right woman and a man can marry the wrong woman - I certainly married the right woman. She's number one - above all the achievements with the horse and happy times I've had. I couldn't have done it without her." – NZ Racing Desk