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Long Standing Friendship produces Matamata Breeders' Stakes Winner

A passion for thoroughbreds forged a friendship many years ago between the Hong Kong based English born New Zealander Mathew Oram, and New Zealand Bloodstock's International Bloodstock agent John Cameron, and now they are enjoying the thrill of racing a good horse. Along with their wives Elizabeth Oram and Jackie Cameron, William Fan and Moon Lai Tung they bred and race Rollout The Carpet (AUS) (Holy Roman Emperor [IRE] – Out of Egypt[USA]) the winner of the Group Two J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders' Stakes. "Isn't she exciting!" declared Mathew Oram, who along with Elizabeth is fortunate enough to be in based in New Zealand for the summer and is able to enjoy seeing her race. "She's lovely, she's strong, well made, nicely put together, with a lovely head and big ears. She has a lovely temperament and everything you throw at her she just takes in her stride. She took a little while to switch on but now she is really delivering, so it's onwards from here to the Group One Diamond Stakes. "I am actually not a fan of two-year-old racing here, it's a bit of a bug bear of mine.I don't like to see two-year-olds having to climb Mount Everest in their first year of racing. The way the racing programme is constructed here is too hard on them, but we don't have much option, after the Breeders' Stakes its two weeks to the Diamond Stakes, and then three weeks to the other Group One, the Manawatu Sire's Produce Stakes. "When you compare it with the way they have constructed races for two-year-olds in England, their top two-year-olds only have a handful of starts. They may win one race and then go straight into Group One company. We have a tendency down here to get into them to early, partly because of the Karaka Millions – and that's a potential graveyard for two-year-olds - and the two-year-olds down here have six, seven or maybe eight runs and can't come back as three-year-olds. "In my heart I feel she has done enough, but she has come through that race (the Breeders Stakes) so well we have to press on. She deserves a crack at a Group One as I believe she is a genuine Group One horse, and I have no doubt she will see out the 1400 metres. In the long term though I don't think she will run beyond 1600 metres." With the discussion on the programming of two-year-olds over, Oram described how he and John Cameron had become friends due to their common interest in thoroughbreds. Oram is perhaps best known in New Zealand thoroughbred circles as the owner of the Group One winning mare Marquise (Gold and Ivory- Eight Carat). Among Oram's business interests in Hong Kong he produced a successful racing publication for Hong Kong's horse crazy punters 'Racing World' and met Cameron through his involvement in that region as the international bloodstock manager for New Zealand Bloodstock. They now own four mares together along with William Fan and Moon Lai Tung. "John always stays with me when he comes to Hong Kong and over the years we have purchased a number of horses together. He was staying with me when we bought Out of Egypt at a Goff's auction in Ireland. He got up in the middle of the night to bid through a bloodstock agent he used over there. "We both liked her pedigree, I am a fan of Red Ransom and as she was completely free of Northern Dancer. She was in foal to Dansili, and we left her there to foal down and sold the Dansili foal as a weanling for about the same as what we paid for the mare.

"She came to Australia which is where our mares are residing at Lincoln Farm in the Hunter Valley, as we have greater access to a wide variety of stallions, really in New Zealand apart from Zabeel, O'Reilly and Pins, where do you go?" Prior to coming to the Southern Hemisphere, Out of Egypt had produced two winners Johannesburg Jack (Johannesburg [USA]) and Dubai Petal (Dubai Destination[USA]). Her first down under mating was to Galileo, which produced a colt that was sold to Graeme Rogerson through the 2009 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale for $50,000. Named External, he was purchased for Lloyd Williams, but after winning a race last April was on sold in June for $70,000 to Warwick Farm trainers Amanda Turner and Mauro Poletti and is due to resume racing from that stable Her next foal was a filly by Rock of Gibraltar. "We put the Rock of Gibraltar filly through the Premier Sale and she didn't get a bid, so we took her home and put her back through the Ready to Run Sale and the same thing happened so we took her home. She's a late developer and is in work with Don Sellwood, she still hasn't got to the races. "The Holy Roman Empire filly was the next foal, and she looked a nice well made yearling, she was tidy enough but one of her knees was a little off, but that's the Danehill influence, so off we went to the Select sale, and we didn't get a single bid. "We weren't too fussed as that was the way the market was going last year, no demand for fillies, so we sent her back to Curraghmore as she had been in their draft and decided we wouldn't even bother trying to put her through the Ready to Run sales and just carry on and race her. "Gordon Cunningham always had a very high opinion of her, and looked after her until she went to Jeff McVean's to be broken in. Well Jeff, Emma-Lee and her husband David Brown did such a fantastic job with her we decided to leave her there and the rest as they say is history." Out of Egypt also has a yearling filly by Tale of The Cat(USA) and a filly foal at foot by Henrythenavigator(USA) and missed to Starspangledbanner (AUS). According to Oram, he and Cameron discuss and plan the matings of the mares they own with Fan and Tung."We now have three half sisters to a group winner and an empty mare who is the dam of a group winner so there is plenty of exciting times ahead for us as breeders. Tung is as keen as mustard and is a big racing man, he has horses with John Size in Hong Kong and Peter Moody in Melbourne. "William Fan is mad keen as well, and he owns many horses in Australia and has a yard with Doug Harrison in Victoria, however they tend to leave the matings up to John and me. We talk them all through, but we are partly governed by money, there is no point in being in a long queue with an Encosta de Lago or a Fastnet Rock for example. With Out of Egypt having no Northern Dancer blood that leaves us plenty of options for possible matings," he mused. Oram was born and brought up in England, his father Mathew, a son of Sir Mathew Oram the Speaker of the House from 1950 to 1955, went to England in 1938 to study to become an actuary as it was impossible to undertake those studies in New Zealand at the time. "He joined the Legal and General Insurance Company and was recruited into the Territorial Army as were all the young men in that company and enlisted in the City of London Honourary Artillery. When war broke out a year later he found himself in the British Army. As a brilliant statistician and mathematician he wound up a Major and a bit of a radar wiz. In 1944 he married my mother, a Junior Commander in the gunners. "I hold New Zealand citizenship and came here in my early twenties and taught at Rathkeale College in Masterton. Following that I ventured to Hong Kong and met Elizabeth, had some success in business, and got very involved in the racing industry when I started Racing World. "As a youngster I heard all the tales of my grandfather's horse Golden Galleon winning the 1955 Wellington Cup, so it was always a part of our family. At university I started taking an interest in racing and pedigrees. You could say I have been passionate about it for around 40 years." It was while at university that he met his good friend Andrew Li and together they are racing Petty Cury(Not A Single Doubt [AUS]- Bahira) out of Don Sellwood's stable. That filly has had four starts for two wins and two seconds and will contest the listed Sunline Vase on Auckland Cup Day. Oram's racing interests in New Zealand date back to when he and Malcolm Glenn raced Marquise here during the nineties. She won nine races for them including the Group One Captain Cook Stakes, before going to stud here and producing the Group One winner Shower of Roses. That filly sold for $1,450,000 at the 2001 Premier yearling sale, followed a year later by her younger brother who fetched $1,050,000. Two more Zabeel colts out of the mare fetched $950,000 and $800,000 respectively, as did a filly by Rock of Gibraltar. This year her Stravinsky filly fetched a cool $675,000 and an O'Reilly filly out of her stakes placed winning daughter Markisa also owned by Oram and Glenn fetched $450,000. That Stravinsky filly maybe the last one to go through the sales as Marquise died in November. Her twelfth foal is a filly by Zabeel and will be retained by her owners. "Marquise lived at Cambridge Stud which was a great honour for her. When we bought her as a yearling, Sir Patrick said that we were always welcome to bring her back home to Cambridge Stud, we did so and sent her to all his stallions including One Cool Cat. "It was such a privilege for us especially meeting Patrick so frequently and just chatting to him about horses and the industry, he lets these little pearls of wisdom drop occasionally and he is so devoted to his horses. I was picking up little bits of knowledge all the time. "That is one thing I love about the thoroughbred industry – it's an international brotherhood, I have been fortunate enough to meet some wonderful people over the years, have been to fabulous race meetings and studs and have seen some amazing racehorses and stallions. As soon as you mention an interest or involvement in racing there is an instant camaraderie and understanding no matter where you are in the world. Oram, whose main residence is in Hong Kong, is currently staying in his Mount Maunganui holiday home, and usually spends about three or four months a year down here taking time to see his horses, attend the sales, and follow the All Blacks. "The only problem with living in Hong Kong is that there is no broadcast of New Zealand races. The TAB need to get their act together, a lot of people in Hong Kong own horses in New Zealand and follow New Zealand racing because we still have fantastic racing and produce good horses, but we struggle to even listen to the races on the internet. It's a missed opportunity for the TAB as racing is huge in Hong Kong. "On the other side when I am down here I can watch the racing in Hong Kong and bet on it – although it's so difficult to get the form that it's hard to get excited about it. The Hong Kong connection is so important to the thoroughbred industry as a whole the TAB should be doing all they can to bolster it from both sides," he stated. Fortunately, both he and Elizabeth will be here in New Zealand to see both 'Rollout The Carpet' and 'Petty Cury' race and won't have to rely on a delayed scratchy internet feed.

- Michelle Saba


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