Gregarious, generous, a great contributor, best describe Clyde Buckingham who passed away last week after a short illness in Middlemore Hospital, aged 83.
Buckingham was a Gold Star member of the Auckland Racing Club, where he had served as a director in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, and an active member of the Auckland Branch of the NZTBA.
He also served as a director of the Counties Racing Club, the nearest club to the Karaka lifestyle property he shared with his wife Patricia on their retirement.
Originally from Levin, Buckingham made a successful career for himself in the printing business in Auckland, and it was during the 1990’s that his interest in thoroughbreds and racing developed through an association with Mapperley Stud’s Kit Davison.
One of the first horses Buckingham purchased was the Gr.1 AJC Derby (2400m) winner Ebony Grosve, a son of Grosvenor whom he raced with Patricia, her sister Shirley and her husband Trevor Tobin.
The striking entire was named after the Grove Hotel where he was known to drink with friends including Davison before heading to the rugby at Eden Park.
Ebony Grosve won four races in total including the aforementioned Derby, the Gr.1 McKinnon Stakes (2000m) and the Gr.2 Hill Stakes (2000m).
He also ran second in the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m), a race that he and Patricia attended regularly, with the couple on hand to see their homebred Sangster triumph in 2011.
That was the first Group One winner the couple had bred, but Buckingham had success in breeding a number of stakes winners under his Emblem Limited banner including Kaptaan, Appiel, and Yearn.
It was the deeds of Ebony Grosve that thrust Buckingham into the role of breeder, after electing to stand him at stud himself.
Not shy to invest in the industry, he purchased a farm at Ohaupo to stand the horse and a select bunch of mares to send to him. Later after meeting BBA agent Joss Collins at a lunch at Windsor Park he purchased a number of mares from Europe.
Only last week, Buckingham watched his mare Kate Velour, a Showcasing half-sister to Group One winner Consensus, race at Cambridge on his phone shortly before he passed away.
Other winners he was associated with included Fooram, whom he raced with good friends Brian Stevenson and John and Margaret Thompson and his seven wins included a Gr.2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick; Richard Beymer, who won 11 races and ran third in the Gr.1 Railway Handicap (1200m) and Appiel who placed in the Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1400m) at Counties.
This year he purchased the Per Incanto mare Belle Fascino and she went on to win the Gr.3 South Island Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) in his emerald green and white chequered silks, and she now has a date with Almanzor in the breeding barn.
The colours will be in action at Riccarton on Wednesday, with homebred Vanguard looking to break maiden ranks.
A memorial service will be held for Buckingham this Friday 13th August at 2pm at Fountains Memorial Chapel in Papakura, where many a tale of the gentleman who loved to banter and tell a tale, always had an opinion, was known for his love of red wine and notorious long lunches will be shared by his many friends and colleagues in the thoroughbred industry. -Michelle Saba, NZTBA