Sir Tristram
Sir Tristram

Sir Tristram

(Photo : Stallions)


Sir Ivor (USA) - Isolt (USA)

How dominant has Cambridge Stud been at the New Zealand Bloodstock’s Karaka National Yearling Sales, which kicked off yesterday. For 30 straight years, Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan’s operation has led all consignors by gross at Karaka. Or, put another way, since Reagan gave his first State of the Union in 1982.

The history of Cambridge is a fantastic tale of success from humble origins. In the early 1970s, the Hogans operated a small farm that staffed just one worker, in addition to the Hogans themselves. In its first year, the farm had just five foals, and was soon in crisis mode after they lost not one but four mares for various reasons. That left them with a single mare and serious questions about just what the future had in store for them. But in 1975, a saviour came to Cambridge. His name was Sir Tristram (Ire).

Now world-renowned as one of Australasia’s most prolific sires, Sir Tristram was a virtual unknown when he came to New Zealand to stand his first season at Cambridge. A son of Sir Ivor, he had won two of 19 starts racing primarily in Europe for trainer Clive Brittain. However, Brittain thought enough of the colt to send him to the States to compete in the Kentucky Derby in 1974, a fact that may surprise some American race fans. (At 25-1, Sir Tristram ran 11th to Cannonade under Hall of Fame rider Bill Hartack.)

Sir Tristram’s immediate pedigree was as modest as his race record. His dam Isolt, by Round Table, was unraced and didn’t produce a stakes winner, and his second dam, the stakes-placed All My Eye (*My Babu), didn’t produce a stakes winner, either. But Sir Tristram’s third dam was a half-sister to the outstanding international sire Hyperion, and his successful sire siblings Sickle, Pharamond II and Hunter’s Moon, so there was some reason for hope. Still, breeders were hardly clamoring for Sir Tristram’s services, and he began his career at Cambridge for a fee of NZ$1,300.

Improbably, from that modest start, he built up a dynasty in Australia and New Zealand that included a record nine sire championships. He sired over 130 stakes winners, including a world-record 46 individual Group 1 winners, and was the sire of three Melbourne Cup winners.

Paddy”, as he was called at Cambridge, ultimately saw his fee rise to NZ$200,000, and when he was euthanized in 1997 after breaking his shoulder, he was buried standing up following a 40 minute service. Sir Tristram’s exploits built Cambridge into a powerhouse in New Zealand, and he left a lasting gift to the nursery : his son Zabeel (NZ), a Cambridge homebred.

Foaled in 1986, Zabeel won the G1 Australian Guineas three years later, but really made his mark once returned to stand at Cambridge. Twice he’s been Australia’s champion sire and four times New Zealand’s; he has won the Dewar Award (combined Australian / New Zealand earnings) a record 14 times. His get includes over 120 stakes winners and 41 Group 1 winners, and he’s the sire of three G1 Melbourne Cup winners and four G1 Cox Plate winners, including Might and Power (NZ), Savabeel (Aus) and Octagonal (NZ).

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News…