A poignant moment when this week's Ontrack New Zealand Horse and Wine Tour ended a remark
able association with the incomparable breeder Sir Patrick Hogan and his Cambridge Stud.
The Ontrack tour made its 11th visit to New Zealand and two days after the Cambridge Stud visit came the news that Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan had reached agreement to sell the farm.
Sir Patrick started Cambridge Stud 41 years ago and with sheer hard work, great judgement and a fair "rub of the green" he developed the stud into a thoroughbred breeding powerhouse known around the world.
"The Ontrack tour has been going for 11 years and every year we have been at Cambridge Stud we have received some acknowledgement from Sir Patrick," said Ontrack Managing Director Grant Morgan.
"For many years he hosted the group and showed them around but sometimes pressure of work or travel requirements mean he has welcomed the party and handed them over to a staff member for the tour.
The fantastic thing is that he has always found a few minutes to come over and say welcome.
"This year he greeted our party but then had to leave and oversee a yearling parade for an Australian client and when I went to thank Sir Patrick for the visit he was disappointed that the yearling parade clashed with the visit and he wasn't able to spend more time with the Ontrack party.
"He is a tremendous ambassador for Cambridge Stud and the whole New Zealand breeding industry, but most importantly he is a tremendous person and he will be sorely missed around the Cambridge Stud operation from next April.
"The personal touch Sir Patrick displayed to every one of our tour members over the last 11 years is much appreciated and I'm certain all of those people feel blessed that such a great man always found time in a very busy life to come over and spend time with them.
"It won't be the same heading to Cambridge and not getting a stir-up from Sir Patrick on arrival," said Grant Morgan.