As a man who built an empire from the grass roots of the New Zealand thoroughbred industry, Sir Patrick Hogan is rightfully regarded as the King of "down under" horse breeding.

For 30 years Sir Patrick and Lady Hogan's Cambridge Stud has ruled the roost as the number one nursery for thoroughbred champions in Australasia.

To those people starting out in the industry as owners or breeders it is inspirational to reflect that Sir Patrick's rise to such wonderful heights all started from humble beginnings.

In the early 1970s Sir Patrick ran a small stud farm with his wife, Justine. "We had one staff member - that was all we could afford. When we first went into breeding we had five foals in our first year. They weren't very valuable, but they were valuable to us.

"Within six months we were down to one (mare). First one died, then a second, then a third, then another - all from one thing or another. That was a real low and we wondered what was going to happen to us."

But the importation in 1975 to Cambridge Stud of Sir Tristram, a son of English Derby winner Sir Ivor, was to bring a watershed change in Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan's fortunes.

Sir Tristram was not highly rated on race performance at the time and his arrival at Cambridge Stud, at a fee of $1300, was not heralded with any great excitement or expectations.

However, once his stock reached the tracks and made an instant impression at the top level Sir Tristram's reputation soon blossomed.

His list of major race winners started with a trickle and before too long became a torrent.

Sir Tristram became champion sire of Australia and New Zealand on a record nine occasions and went on to become the world's leading sire of Group One winners.

In total he sired 46 individual Group One winners and more than 130 stakes winners during his amazing stud career.

Sir Tristram broke his shoulder in 1997. "It was like losing a mate. He was 26 which was like about 90 in human terms."

But after that big low, Zabeel (a son of Sir Tristram) came along to take over the star box at Cambridge Stud.

Zabeel inherited all the wonderful qualities of his dad and Sir Patrick always felt there was no other horse which resembled Sir Tristram as closely as Zabeel.

"Zabeel was like a spitting image of Sir Tristram from the moment he was born," Sir Patrick said.

"Sir Tristram had this great ability to pass on some real genetic qualities and that came through to Zabeel who shows the same ability."

"He passes on the heart, the lung capacity and the brain - the three essential ingredients for a top-quality racehorse."

Zabeel has been champion sire of Australia and New Zealand (combined Aust/NZ earnings) on 13 consecutive occasions.

He has sired 41 individual Group One winners and over 120 individual stakes winners.

Also instrumental in Cambridge Stud's high level of achievement has been an outstanding broodmare band.

Without question the deeds of Eight Carat have been phenomenal. She was New Zealand Broodmare Of The Year in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Her progeny became household names in racing - headed by 10 times Group One winner Octagonal and backed up by Group One winners Mouawad, Diamond Lover, Kaapstad and Marquise.

Eight Carat has left her own dynasty through her sons and daughters which will ensure her name is to the forefront of the industry for many years to come.

The yearling sales will always remain pride of place for Sir Patrick and it is an arena in which Cambridge Stud reigns supreme.

For the past 30 years Cambridge Stud has been the leading vendor (by aggregate) at the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka and it has also provided the top-priced lot at the Sydney Easter Yearling Sale on several occasions.

Cambridge Stud sold the highest-priced yearling ever recorded in Australasian sales history, the wonderfully bred Don Eduardo (Zabeel - Diamond Lover colt, sold for $NZ3.6 million, at Karaka, February 2000) who went on to racing glory winning the Group I AJC Derby before retiring to stud.

"That was something else. I prepare for one thing every year. I compare it to a trainer who is preparing a horse for the Melbourne Cup.

There's a huge amount of preparation. It's like that with the yearling sales - my preparation begins many months out from the sales. When the colt was in the ring there was an amazing atmosphere - it was like a scene from Hollywood."

Having the best product - whether it be stallions, broodmares, racehorses or in the yearling ring - is something Cambridge Stud has strived for and achieved. With that success has come well-deserved recognition.

Sir Patrick HoganSir Patrick was honoured with a Knighthood in the New Year's Honours in 2000 in recognition for his services to bloodstock breeding and thoroughbred racing. He also received a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours several years earlier.

"Receiving those honours were something special. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has visited Cambridge Stud in 1990," he said.

In 2005 Sir Patrick was inducted in to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, and subsequently followed that with an induction into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame in 2006.

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