When Legends are Lost

Date: 17 Jan 2023

When Legends are Lost


In his Monday update, David Ellis CNZM mentioned the loss of two icons of New Zealand racing over the Christmas/New Year period - Sir Patrick Hogan and Colin Jillings, both members of the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame.

We have shared our thoughts on the loss of Colin, a dear friend of many decades, and we now reflect, with huge admiration and respect, on our wonderful friend, also of many decades, Sir Patrick:


‘The horse maketh the man' is an often mentioned proverb in regards to the success of top thoroughbred stallions benefiting the people that both own them and race their best progeny.

The case can be made that legendary sire Sir Tristram (Sir Ivor) made Sir Patrick Hogan, and in turn his best sire son Zabeel (Sir Tristram) made him even more so, but truth is Patrick was made anyway because he harboured endeavour, professionalism, dedication, and not afraid of working tirelessly in the thoroughbred industry he was obsessed by.

In his book, Give a Man a Horse, is a detailed account of how Patrick secured Sir Tristram from Europe. He sent a respected judge to inspect the entire that gave an off-putting account, but undeterred and after a period of time, Patrick sent someone else and spoke to him on the phone while he was looking the horse over.

“Are his canons steely and smooth”, asked Patrick. “Yes”, was the reply, and after a few more questions and palaver the horse was finally on his way to Cambridge Stud in New Zealand.



Sir Tristram met with more disapproval, too, on arrival, and it was not until his progeny began ruling the tracks that his special qualities as a stallion were realised.

In another book, The Autobiography of Lester Piggott, written while he was in jail for tax evasion, Lester was almost loath to mention the best horse he ever rode, before settling on Sir Ivor (Sir Gaylord) the sire of Sir Tristram.

Sir Ivor was the fourth of nine Epsom Derby (Gr. 1, 2400m) winners that Lester rode, scoring in 1968, and in the end it was his turn of foot (acceleration) that sealed the deal for the master hoop who survived, virtually, on champagne and cigars.

Lester died in May 2022 aged 86, and Sir Patrick died on 6 January 2023 aged 83.

It was ‘turn of foot' that set Sir Tristram progeny apart - gave them their edge - and carried on as the dominant trait within progeny by Zabeel as well as other well documented sire sons Grosvenor and Kaapstad, and through modern day eight-time Champion Sire Savabeel (Zabeel), who has helped make Waikato Stud what it is today.

Some say that the New Zealand thoroughbred breeding industry may have only been half as good if not for the breed-shaping qualities of Sir Tristram, and while somewhat difficult to measure in mathematical terms it seems within comprehensible realms.

And what the Sir Tristram blood, through he and his sire sons, has done for the broodmare populace within this country can only be labelled phenomenal.

Hogan established Cambridge Stud in 1976, was leading vendor at the yearling sales for 32 years in a row (1981-2012), and Hall of Fame inductee in both New Zealand and Australia.

Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM purchased his first horse in 1983 at the Trentham Yearling Sales, continuing to buy every year since, and witnessed much of the Hogan reign.

In later years, Hogan began racing more horses and entrusted Te Akau with a beautiful filly: Abidewithme (Redoute's Choice).

Bred in the purple, Abidewithme won nine races, including the Travis Stakes (Gr. 2, 2000m) and Tauranga Stakes (Gr. 2, 1600m), and Group One placed three times.



More recently, Hogan enjoyed success when, together with some close mates, he raced the stakes placed four-time winner Romantic Lady (Power) with Te Akau.

At the NZB Yearling Sales in 2012, Hogan told New Zealand Herald reporter Owen Poland: “Te Akau racing stables is equal to any stables in the world. The New Zealand industry is just so lucky and fortunate that David Ellis invests as he does and through his syndication allows some very well bred horses to be retained in New Zealand.

“From a Cambridge Stud point of view, when you breed horses for sale it's not just all about price. Ultimately, it's all about protecting the value of the families with these yearlings and to do that it's important they get into the best possible hands.

“They are with the best trainers in New Zealand, and equal to trainers anywhere in the world. That's not my opinion: the record simply shows that. Their group and stakes successes and premiership winning performances are phenomenal.

“David Ellis makes a huge contribution, not just to the economy of the sales but making the sales so successful in many respects. He puts the stimulation into the sale, buying the best, buying in the middle of the market and even buying at the lower end, he is spreading his purchases right across the board which is good for every participant, every vendor, breeder, and in turn every owner.”

Cambridge Stud was also entrusted with standing five-time stakes winning stallion Burgundy (Redoute's Choice). Purchased as a yearling by Ellis at Karaka (below), the three-quarter brother to Darci Brahma (Danehill), whom Ellis also bought, was one of the fastest horses ever trained by Te Akau and, sadly, had his stud career cut short in 2019.



Hogan was also part of an illustrious group, including Sir Peter Vela, Laurie Laxon, and Mohammed Moussa, that raced Torcedor (Fastnet Rock) in Europe.

Lot 1, Ellis paid 70,000 Euro (NZ$115,000) for Torcedor at the 2013 Deauville Yearling Sales in France.

A dual Group Three winner and Group One placed on three occasions, he recorded five wins from 2000m - 3200m and just shy of NZ$1 million in earnings.


[caption id="attachment_29530" align="aligncenter" width="718"] Torcedor - Longines Sagaro Stakes (Group 3)


“It was quite incredible how good a breeder and all round horseman he was,” said Ellis, of Sir Patrick.

“He put so much into everything he did with horses, and the people he employed to help look after them. He was brilliant with young people that showed a willingness to learn.

“We trained a lot of horses for him over the years and he always supported people that bought horses from him.

“I bought my first yearling off him in 1986 at Trentham, and Karyn and I became very good friends with him and Justine.

Karyn Fenton-Ellis MNZM added:

"Sir Patrick gave me huge personal and profession al encouragement and support throughout my career and life. When I started with Trackside TV (then Action TV) in 1992, and was assigned to the Karaka Sales' coverage, Sir Patrick always obliged with an interview, and importantly his time.

"He knew it was challenging for me coming into the thoroughbred red industry back then with very little background to speak of, rather with experience in broadcasting.  There were difficult days when the critics were cruel, and he always stood up for me, and would call me and tell me what a great job I was doing.  That's the man he was.

"When I stood for the Board, and later the Chairmanship of the Waikato Racing Club, he was my nominator on every single occasion and always was available with wisdom and advice.  A very special human being indeed, with his lovely wife and partner Justine, by his side."

David Ellis CNZM concluded:

“With his professionalism at Cambridge Stud, almost single-handedly, he put New Zealand racing and breeding into the hearts and minds of racing people world-wide, so we've all got a hell of a lot to thank him for.”


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