Owen Tomlinson breeds Group Three winner "Ginner Hart"

Picture courtesy of Trish Dunell  (Ginner Hart on outside)
Picture courtesy of Trish Dunell (Ginner Hart on outside)

"He is a good old horse, and it's great to see him winning," quipped Owen Tomlinson, the man behind Hobby Horse Hall Racing Limited the breeders of the Group Three Lion Red Plate winner Ginner Hart (Volksraad[IRE]-Lyford Cay).

"The family has been good to me and it's good to see this horse going on. I haven't got too many left out of the family now, my son Ben is more involved than me but we are still going," Tomlinson told the NZTBA from his home on the Gold Coast.

"I tried to watch the race but for some reason the New Zealand races were not on the usual channel on Saturday and I missed it. I watched it online later though it didn't look a particularly nice day in Rotorua but it was a great win."

Tomlinson would have also missed the post-race television interview with the horse's part-owner and trainer, the irrepressible Alexander "ARA" Fieldes, who didn't disappoint with his dry wit and sharp one liners.

Fieldes, a meat inspector from Wanganui, races the horse in partnership with his brother Fraser and the six-year-old Volksraad gelding has now won seven races for the pair. This is his first Stakes win and his sixth win at 1200 metres, he did run second in this race last year to Viadana and he was placed third in the Group Two Hawkes Bay Guineas when he was three.

Ginner Hart, named after the former charismatic Hawera trainer Brian (Ginner) Hart, was purchased by Fieldes from the Festival sale draft of Windsor Park Stud for $30,000 in 2010.

He is the first foal of the Montjeu (IRE) mare Lyford Cay – named after the famous gated community for the rich and famous in Providence Island in Tomlinson's home land the Bahamas.

Tomlinson grew up in a family involved in racing and in the early 60's at age 18 went to work at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky for Bull Hancock. He worked there for a couple of years and learnt a lot about horses and pedigrees. He returned to the Bahamas and then in 1967 he went to Australia for two years and has remained there ever since.

He did however marry a Kiwi girl from Marton, and he and his wife Katie make frequent trips to New Zealand and naturally he got involved in horses here.

In the mid 90's he bought a filly named McCartney by Trustful (AUS) out of Pasithea and he liked her so much he went and purchased her mother. McCartney went to Australia where she raced as Miss McCartney and Pasithea became domiciled at Windsor Park and proceeded to mainly visit their sires.

"They are such lovely people there and they do a fine job, I mainly raced the progeny either there or here in Australia. The best one out of the family while in New Zealand was Marsh Harbour. She won four races and was stakes placed in the Desert Gold Stakes and I bought her over here for the bigger money. I have also had some success with the family over here too "

Marsh Harbour was also by Volksraad, and when Pasithea went there it was the first time Tomlinson had bred to a sprinting sire.

"My philosophy was to breed to the best, and I thought Montjeu was sensational, he was such a lovely horse. Montjeu rules in the Northern Hemisphere but down here he was just another good horse. I was also a big fan of that lovely big black horse at Windsor – Kaapstad."

Pasithea had 10 named foals and left five winners. She went to Montjeu on three occasions with Lyford Cay being the result of the first mating. She raced once but had foot problems and was retired to stud.

Monacracy won two races and Potters Cay won one before she went on to produce Marsh Harbour. Following that she visited Black Minnaloushe (USA) and Volksraad again before being sold in 2009 in foal to King's Chapel. She died in 2011 without any further produce.

Miss McCartney went to stud in Australia and produced the Group Three Brisbane Lord Mayor's Cup winner Rum Dum (Peintre Celebre [USA]) and Mayaguana (Royal Academy [USA]) for the Tomlinsons. She died foaling a Galileo (IRE) colt in 2004. Mayaguana is one of the descendants that remains in the Hobby Horse Hall Racing Limited's portfolio.

In 2009 Tomlinson decided to cut back on his racing interests in New Zealand and that was when Pasithea and Lyford Cay were sold, but was quick to add " that he will probably still be involved with horses until they stick me in the ground."
Let's hope there are a few more winners on the horizon before then.

Lyford Cay was purchased by fellow Australians Bryan and Kim Armstrong and Libby and Sam Bleakley of Highden Park in the Manawatu. She foaled a filly to Captain Rio in 2012, named Miss Rio she is in the stable of Andrew Forsman and Murray Baker, and has a Road to Rock (AUS) colt going to the Select Sale at Karaka next January. Unfortunately she died earlier this year.

- Michelle Saba


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