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‘He was impeccable to deal with’: breeding giant Sir Patrick Hogan remembered

Sir Patrick Hogan left an indelible mark on racing through his stallions but it is the people that he influenced that will also carry on his legacy.

Sir Patrick Hogan with his champion stallion Zabeel. (Photo by Trish Dunnell)

Sir Patrick Hogan’s influence stretches much further than the pedigree pages that his famous stallions Sir Tristram and Zabeel came to dominate. 

Hogan, who died aged 83, is survived by his wife Justine Lady Hogan, their daughters Erin and Nicola, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He will be remembered at a funeral on Wednesday in Hamilton East, in the beautiful Waikato region where the master breeder and bloodstock giant’s Cambridge Stud and its bloodlines rose from humble beginnings to occupy an outsized footprint on the racing world. 

Hogan’s legacy will live on not just through those bloodlines but the people he mentored throughout his racing life, many of them beyond the borders of his native New Zealand. 

“As a person, he was extremely generous, he was a very good mentor to many people, including myself, he will be remembered for that,” said Hogan’s close friend Joe Walls, the Chairman of New Zealand Bloodstock, who will deliver a eulogy on Wednesday. “There are many people throughout New Zealand racing who came through this school and there are plenty of people out there that will remember Patrick Hogan for that, being a great mentor.”

Marcus Corban, who worked at Cambridge Stud for 40 years, 30 as general manager, told TDN AusNZ this week, “This is the end of an era and a very sad day.” 

“He was like a father to me, and he was such a great mentor – not only for my own career, but also for the likes of Antony Thompson, Brent Taylor, Adam Sangster and many others.” 

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Sir Patrick Hogan leaves a profound legacy. (Photo by Trish Dunnell)

Hogan was known as a great marketer and innovator and went to great lengths to bring visitors to New Zealand. One of those was Hong Kong Jockey Club owner, voting member and successful breeder Dr Gene Tsoi, who built a relationship with the Cambridge Stud founder after buying a filly, Great Vintage, that went on to win the 1993 G2 Herbert Power Stakes and was fourth in that year’s Melbourne Cup behind Vintage Crop. 

“I was more than just a client, ever since I bought that first filly by Sir Tristram from him,” Tsoi said. “Until Covid, I would see Sir Patrick at least once or twice per year. Magic Millions, Karaka and Sydney Easter. For 30 years we had a very good association together, we spent a lot of time together looking at and talking about horses at the sales. 

“We would meet over informal gatherings, and at the sales we exchanged some ideas, but of course he was the master and I was just an amateur. We raced and bred horses together, and even now I still have two broodmares in partnership with him, and a foal.” 

A sign of the mutual respect the men had, Tsoi’s great racemare Elegant Fashion was laid to rest at Cambridge Stud. 

“That was touching, and an honour, they have a plaque there for her,” Tsoi said. 

Even though Hogan’s ideal horse – a horse with scope and stamina – was nothing like the short-coupled sprinter-milers and precocious types favoured by Hong Kong connections, that didn’t stop Sir Tristram and Zabeel, and later on, Tavistock, from leaving their mark. 

Vengeance of Rain, arguably Hong Kong’s greatest ever stayer, was by Zabeel and 2015-16 Horse of the Year, Werther, was by Tavistock. Both horses won the city’s defining race, the Hong Kong Derby. 

Gene Tsoi with Sir Patrick Hogan after buying Lot 102, the last yearling by Zabeel at Karaka 2016. (Photo by Dave Rowland)

Elegant Fashion and Gerald Mosse winning the 2004 Chairman's Trophy at Sha Tin. (Photo by Kenneth Chan/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)

“When the Guineas fields come out and you get to the Derbies, that is where New Zealand excels, and that is the key to our success in the future,” Walls said. “He would look for a horse with good size, and a good walk, all of the things we all look for, but he didn’t gravitate towards the speedier type of conformation that people seem to want these days – the close-coupled horse, the precocious horse – he was very happy with a horse that could breed Guineas and Derby winners, and perhaps later on Cup winners, and that was what he was able to do.” 

Hong Kong-based trainer Tony Millard called Hogan ‘a pioneer’ and was another to recall a long association with the breeder, through his father Terrence, a legendary trainer in his native South Africa. 

“He and my father were good mates,” Millard said. “Sir Patrick held the flag for so long and it was just outstanding the way that he promoted New Zealand racing and bloodstock.”

Hogan was the first to admit that Sir Tristram wasn’t his first choice when he went to Europe looking for a replacement for his foundation sire Hermes. Walls was with Hogan on that fateful trip and said Sir Tristram was ‘the horse he could buy.’

Hogan and legendary stallion Sir Tristram. (Photo by Race Images PN)

Sir Patrick Hogan and Zabeel. (Photo by Trish Dunnell)

Still, Millard said the subsequent acquisition of Zabeel and Tavistock showed that it was much more than luck that made Cambridge Stud a success. 

“So few people get one good stallion and he ended up with Sir Tristram and then Zabeel and then he had Tavistock, he was like a genius,” Millard said. “It’s very difficult to find one stallion. A stallion is the heart and soul of any stud and he was able to carry it on. 

“He was there in the heyday when New Zealand was really strong. Since those high days of the 80s and 90s when he was at his peak power, New Zealand horses were sought after: Paul O’Sullivan took a New Zealand horse to Tokyo and won the Japan Cup.” 

That horse, Horlicks, later produced the 2000 Melbourne Cup winner, Brew, by Sir Tristram, one of seven Melbourne Cup winners Hogan bred, and one of 40 G1 individual winners of 90 Group 1s. 

“He had the bloodlines because he built on them,” Millard said. “He was a pioneer and he was a guy who reinvested in the game and that’s what it was about, once you’ve got the stallions, to reinvest in good mares and try and exploit your bloodlines. 

“He was a genius and he was lucky with it, and all the dealings I had with him he was a good man.”

And that last sentiment from Millard was how Walls most wanted his friend and mentor to be remembered. 

“I remember him as a friend, but also a businessman that was impeccable to deal with,” he said. “Honest, trustworthy and forever a man of his word.” 

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