For a remarkable 31 consecutive years Hogan’s Cambridge Stud was the leading vendor at New Zealand’s premier yearling sale.
Since vacating Cambridge Stud in April 2017, following the sale of the iconic thoroughbred nursery to Brendan and Jo Lindsay, who have taken the baton and run with it, Hogan has stepped away from the limelight that he so frequently shined in.
But when horses are your life-long passion, retirement is not an option.
The 81-year-old, who has battled ill-health in recent years, has a spring in his step as he looks forward to seeing his 14 yearlings go under the hammer.
While not the numbers of years gone by, some of Sir Patrick and Justine Lady Hogan’s finest families will be represented across a handful of drafts, with Hogan principally putting his faith in emerging vendors Carlaw Park and Woburn Farm.
“When I moved out of Cambridge Stud I kept some horses, particularly race fillies and broodmares which were in partnership, which I chose not to include in the sale with Cambridge Stud,” Hogan said.
“I retained around 16 mares and fillies from the very successful families I developed, like Eight Carat’s family, Tricia Ann’s family and L’Quiz’s family —all strong families that produced and still do produce good stakes winning and Group One winning horses.
“I had to decide where I was going with the yearlings that I was going to breed because I wasn't in a situation where I could consign them myself.
“That was part of the arrangement with the sale of Cambridge Stud that I didn't step up and become competitive to Cambridge Stud itself.
“The Carlaw decision wasn't difficult because Nick Fairweather worked for me and worked with the yearlings at Cambridge Stud so I knew him well.
“I knew that I could rely on him to prepare and present yearlings the way that I was doing it at Cambridge Stud.
“I then chose Woburn as Adrian Stanley had also done some work for me and on the basis of some homework I did. I made some enquiries and found that everybody I spoke to were all impressed with the way their horses were presented at the sales and they sold well.
“I couldn’t be more happy with both of those operations going into my second year having them prepare yearlings for me. I’m thrilled to bits. The other advantage for me is that both those properties are in Cambridge and are just around the corner from Hautapu where my Monarch Farm property is. They’re on-tap so to speak where I can go around often and have a check-out and have a talk to them about the yearlings.”
Hogan, who has suffered from a back issue in recent years, has been able to get to a couple of on-farm yearling parades in recent weeks.
“I’m going to make the sales,” Hogan said.
“When Woburn and Carlaw have had official parades, I have popped around a couple of times and sat in the corner and watched the horses coming out.
“Earlier this week I went to Pencarrow Stud and spent the day looking at yearlings with David Ellis and a few others, followed by lunch that Sir Peter (Vela) kindly put on.
“I had a very enjoyable day. I was most impressed with the yearlings. I said to Peter ‘they all came out and I felt like they were walking out of the old Cambridge Stud preparation.
“The only other parade I’m going to attend is Cambridge Stud’s parade on Friday.”
Amongst Hogan’s yearlings, which bare the JP inside a circle brand, are three by first season sire Almanzor, with one each selling through the Carlaw Park, Woburn Farm and Cambridge Stud drafts.
“Almanzor is a magnificent looking horse and he was a very good racehorse,” Hogan said.
“His first progeny are going through now and they’re certainly nice quality yearlings like he is himself. He’s a smashing looking horse.
“I think he’s got a big chance and of course he’s got the Iffraaj blood in him and we know that’s worked here in New Zealand. He’s got a bit of a head-start because he’s got a pedigree that has proved that it’s worked here and that’s always a plus.”
Hogan is also bullish about the prospects of a Written Tycoon colt out of Pussy O'Reilly
“He ticks all the boxes,” Hogan said. “He’s a beautiful individual, he’s a good strong brown colour. His x-rays are excellent, he’s a good type and we all know Written Tycoon is absolutely on fire. He should be a colt that is going to be in demand.”
Lot 461, a colt by Pierro out of the stakes performed Redoute’s Choice mare Joy's Choice is also sure to prove popular, bred on the same cross as nine stakes winners, including Group One winners Arcadia Queen, Regal Power and Levendi.
“I’ve had a really good run with my yearlings this year and there is something there for everyone,” Hogan said.
“There is a Tavistock colt out of La Belle Beel, who is an absolute typical Tavistock. When he presents for inspection, straight away you say, ‘this is a Derby colt’, and he’s got the magic cross of being out of a Zabeel mare.
“I’ve got a Shalaa colt out of Diamaint who is a strong, low-set sprinter type of yearling, who looks like he’d go as a two-year-old. He’s a nice horse, so there is plenty there to recommend.”
Ahead of his time in terms of marketing and promotion, as well as being able to read the body language of prospective purchasers, Hogan said border closures to New Zealand presented a new challenge.
“I was always very strong on marketing and promotion and the same still applies but you’ve got to step up and use the new technology that’s available,” he said.
“I think the international buyers are getting a heap of information. They’ve got agents in New Zealand and there are plenty of people in New Zealand that can go and look at yearlings for them personally.
“Everybody is resigned to the fact that it’s not going to be easy. Those that are buying are going to have a buyers-market and I think the vendors need to be very sensible about where they sit as far as their reserves are concerned.”
While on one hand Hogan feels he needs to slow down a bit, he still gets a great kick out of the sales process.
“I do enjoy promoting and marketing a product and I’ve had a lot of pleasure in this draft of yearlings because I’ve got a nice lot of horses.
“I’m working out my game plan and in a few days, I’ll have to start working out my reserves. I thoroughly enjoy it.”
While delighted with the horseflesh that sports his brand, Hogan has an immense sense of pride from watching the deeds of the human graduates that passed through Cambridge Stud under his reign, with the barns at Karaka bulging with many who still refer to Sir Patrick simply as The Boss. – NZ Racing Desk