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NZTBA mourns past President Peter Francis

It is with great sorrow that the NZTBA learned of the death on Wednesday afternoon of Immediate Past President Peter Francis.

Michael Martin, Chief Executive of the NZ Thoroughbred Breeders' Association says, "Peter made a really significant and valuable contribution to the New Zealand thoroughbred industry as an owner & breeder, committee member & councillor, and through his publishing companies.
"He was motivated always by the best interests of his fellow breeders and owners, and worked hard to make a positive difference to a sport and a business he loved.

"Peter's dedicated service to the industry was based on a desire to share the pleasure and success he pursued as a private owner-breeder for more than 35 years. Most notable of his achievements were his home-bred Group 1 winners Ensign Ewart and Prussian Blue."

Current NZTBA President John Fokerd adds, "We will especially remember Peter for his staunch advocacy of the Pearl Bonus Series, NZ Thoroughbred Marketing & the Sunline Trust, as well as his company's production of the annual NZTBA Stallion Register, the A-Z of Australasian Thoroughbred Business and The Informant.

"On behalf of the NZTBA Council, our members and past & present staff, I extend our warmest sympathy to Peter's wife Mary Jane and sons William & Matthew."

Peter joined the NZTBA in 1988 and served as President of the Auckland Branch before his election to the Council in 1997.

His 17-year term on the NZTBA Council included stints as Treasurer (2001-2003), Vice President (2002-2004) and finally, President (2005-2013) and the NZTBA's representative on the Board of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing. He was honoured with NZTBA Life Membership in 2013.

Branch events such as stallion parades, including the first Stallion Expo, Foal Walks and Awards Dinners were among the first activities to benefit from Peter's enthusiasm.

He later directed much of his energy towards better national programming for fillies and mares and better incentives for breeders to retain and race fillies in New Zealand. The current Pearl Bonus Series, already having a measureable impact on race fields and owner returns, is very much his legacy.

Peter took a strong interest in the education and training of young people through the Sunline Trust, and the progress of New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing which has proved one of the industry's best achievements of the past 20 years.

After NZ Thoroughbred Racing amended its Constitution in December 2010, Peter became the NZTBA's representative on the newly established Members' Council, made up of Racing Clubs and Sector Groups. Peter was elected the first Chair of that Council and had the responsibility of overseeing the appointments to the inaugural independent NZTR Board.

The funeral for Peter Francis is scheduled for Monday, December 22, at 1.30pm.

The service will take place at Davis Funeral Home, 150 Central Park Drive, Henderson, which is easily accessed off Auckland's north western motorway. Taking the Lincoln Rd exit, Central Park Drive is the first turn left after exiting the motorway.


- M Martin/J Fokerd