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Barbara Perry passes away peacefully aged 82

A stalwart of the thoroughbred industry Barbara Perry passed away peacefully in the Waikato Hospital this week after a short illness, she was 82.

Perry was born in Masterton the only daughter of Roland and Mary, she had three brothers and grew up on the family's sheep breeding farm. Her forefathers were among the first settlers in New Zealand and they were renowned Cheviot breeders who settled in the Wairarapa in the mid 1800's, in fact one of her grandmothers was a Masters, whose family Masterton was named after. Her mother's family the Buchanan's were also an early settling farming family and were generous benefactors in both the Wairarapa and Taranaki regions.

Horses have always been part of Perry's life and as a girl she competed in shows, as a young woman she travelled to England as a polo groom. For many years she farmed in Greytown at Auchenbreck Farm where she milked a herd of fine pedigree Jersey cows and agisted and bred racehorses. She left the Wairarapa in the late seventies, moving to Whakatane briefly before settling in the Hawkes Bay. More recently she moved to Matamata to be closer to her beloved broodmares and racehorses.

Pedigrees were her passion and she loved keeping her own statistics. She kept journals meticulously by hand with beautiful handwriting and was a stickler for using Bruce Lowe numbers and insisted on the inclusion of country of origin in brackets in articles surrounding stallions. Sales results, race performances and so much other statistical information was recorded in those journals. Over the years many a journalist has received a phone call, note or latterly an email from an authoritative Perry correcting an error, querying a theory or a source or elaborating on a statistic.

Such was the extent of her knowledge and library that for many years she voluntarily assisted the NZTBA with cross referencing in the production of the stallion register. She was an avid reader, devoured newspapers and would provide friends with cuttings of their racehorses.

Hawkes Bay breeder Isabel Roddick, who also knew her when she lived in the Wairarapa, recalls that she was a one-time President and driving force of that region's branch.

"When she moved to the Hawkes Bay she was a tremendous hard-working supporter of the Hawkes Bay branch, very active on the committee and a wonderful source of knowledge especially if anyone wanted to know anything about a pedigree, or a past sale," she recalled.

"She was a good friend and as she was such an avid reader was always sending me newspaper clippings about any of our horses, right up until recently in fact, keeping tabs on Addictive Habit."

From her Auchenbreck Farm property she bred a number of good horses and was a regular vendor at the Trentham sales, and continued to consign yearlings at Karaka right up until the current Sales Series where she has four yearlings entered under the Oxford Thoroughbreds Ltd draft. She rarely missed a sale event at Karaka and enjoyed nothing more than discussing pedigrees and statistics with fellow breeders.

The In the Purple (FR) mare Palace Gossip was the best horse she bred from the Sovereign Edition (IRE) mare Early Edition. Palace Gossip won six races including the Group TYhree VRC Tressady Stakes and Group Three SAJC Birthday Cup, she in turn is the fourth dam of the Australian Horse of the Year Dissident (Sebring[AUS]- Diana's Secret).

During the 1980's she also bred the hardy stakes placed winners Miss Lennox, Master Lennox and Spirit of Oregon from her Long Row (GB) mare Baie Hardie and she continued to bred from Baie Hardie's daughter Skara Brae (Grosvenor) who has a Dalghar(FR) yearling colt in the Festival Sale this summer.

More recently she purchased a mare called Blue Heaven (Centaine[AUS]- Lyphinale[USA]) the dam of the Group One Easter Handicap winner Pasta Post (Postponed[USA]) and bred and raced the Group Three Hawkes Bay Cup winner Don Domingo (Don Eduardo). She also raced her Zenno Rob Roy (JPN) daughter Allanah who won four races and has a yearling filly by Azamour(IRE) in the Select Sale. She maintained a passion for breeding right through to the end.

A funeral service for Perry will be held at Sarnia Park, Maungatautari Road Cambridge, on Thursday 24th December 2015 at 11am. Followed by private cremation. A family service is to be held in the Wairarapa in the New Year.

- Michelle Saba