World renowned Cambridge Stud is always one of the special venues on the Ontrack New Zealand Horse and Wine Tour but this year it offered some truly mouth-watering prospects.
Cambridge Stud was founded by Sir Patrick Hogan and through the deeds of Sir Tristram and Zabeel it became one of the world’s great thoroughbred nurseries.
For a year it’s been in the new ownership of Brendan and Jo Lindsay and when Ontrack heads there in November there will be some major changes to take in.
“The Lindsay’s have undertaken a massive redevelopment of the farm and when we arrive this year virtually all the buildings on the property will have been replaced,” said Ontrack Thoroughbreds Grant Morgan.
“It’s an exciting development and one which was undertaken with the blessing and involvement of Sir Patrick.
“There’s a new office and hospitality centre while all the stallion barns, yearling barns and serving barn have been replaced. It was a timely development but one that’s been careful to respect the fantastic history that Sir Patrick and Lady Justine built up during their time at Cambridge.
“When Ontrack was there last year the work had just started so it’s going to be very interesting to turn up this November and witness the changes.
“Knowing how passionate and meticulous the Lindsay’s are with anything they take on, the result is sure to be breath-taking.”
Another interesting development will be the addition to the stallion roster at Cambridge of champion European three-year-old Roaring Lion.
“Brendan and Jo are determined to continue Cambridge Stud’s role as a leading thoroughbred nursery and they know that requires the addition of more firepower to the stallion roster.
“Roaring Lion sure does that as he won four Group One races as a three-year-old, starting with the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown and culminating with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot.
“A striking grey stallion, Roaring Lion received a Timeform rating of 130 and that places him in the top echelon of horses anywhere in the world.
“Brendan and Jo already have a very good French horse in Almanzor standing his second season at Cambridge and Tavistock, so it’s going to be great having a close up look at these sorts of stallions in November,” said Grant Morgan.
Nigella Lawson and Ontrack Thoroughbreds have one thing in common. We both love Waiheke Island.
The English foodie was in NZ recently to launch her new stage show An Evening With Nigella Lawson and her first port of call was beautiful Waiheke Island, an easy boat ride from downtown Auckland.
The island is the famous foodie’s favourite Kiwi haunt and she posted a picture on social media of what looked like a blissful afternoon drinking sauvignon blanc on a deck overlooking Oneroa's dazzling blue harbour.
Ontrack’s annual New Zealand Horse and Wine Tour also makes Waiheke Island one of the first ports of call spending the second day of the six day tour on the picturesque venue.
“The day at Waiheke Island is always one of the highlights of New Zealand, and that’s on a trip with plenty of sensational scenery,” said Ontrack’s Grant Morgan.
“The 30 minute ferry trip from Auckland to Waiheke is the perfect start to the day and we work in a scenic tour around the island, wine tasting at two stunning wineries and then lunch at the sensational Mudbrick Vineyard.
“People on the tour usually can’t believe how beautiful Waiheke Island is and how close it is to downtown Auckland.
“The cuisine at Mudbrick is sensational and dining there looking out over the spectacular Hauraki Gulf is a memorable experience and it comes as no surprise that a renowned foodie such as Nigella Lawson is a fan of the place,” said Grant Morgan.
The 2019 Ontrack New Zealand Horse and Wine Tour runs from November 21-26.
Champion stallion dominates the breeding and racing scene in New Zealand and this weekend’s Group One New Zealand Oaks illustrates just how big a factor the horse is over the ditch.
The Oaks is run over 2400 metres on Trentham’s hallowed turf and Savabeel will be represented by four runners in the $400,000 event.
He has race favourite Queen of Diamonds, will also be represented by Clementina, Elate and Savy Young Blonk.
Ontrack Thoroughbreds Grant Morgan has long been a fan of Savabeel and said the progress of the former Cox Plate winner to champion stallion had been closely followed by Ontrack clients on the annual New Zealand Horse and Wine Tour.
“Savabeel is always one of the most popular horses when the Ontrack Tour heads to Waikato Stud each November. He’s a fantastic stallion who is at the peak of his powers and he just turns out fantastic horses each year.
“This season Savabeel has had 13 individual stakes winners in New Zealand this term and has already sired the New Zealand Oaks winners Savvy Coup (2018) and Savaria (2015).
“Savvy Coup tackles the Group I Coolmore Stakes in Sydney this weekend, with another Savabeel filly Probabeel running in the Group II Magic Night Stakes at Rosehill.”
Queen of Diamonds was bred by Cambridge Stud and the filly sold for $640,000 to China Horse Club at the Karaka Premier Sale in 2017.
“Cambridge Stud is also a very popular venue on our New Zealand tour so there will be plenty of interest in watching to see if the magnificent farm can add to its incredible list of Group One winners at Trentham,” said Grant Morgan.