David Hayes
David Hayes

David Hayes

(Photo : Herald Sun)

“Lindsay Park lost to racing

after 50 years of influence.”

Richard Zachariah
Richard Zachariah

Richard Zachariah

Thoroughbred Daily NewsThe Hayes family ownership of world-renowned Lindsay Park is over. The show-place horse stud and training property in the beautiful wine growing district of the Barossa Valley in South Australia nurtured the careers of leading Australian mentors Colin, Peter and David Hayes for 47 years.

The 1550 acres of rolling pastoral country dotted with soaring, statuesque red gums and a specific infrastructure to house, train and breed racehorses has been sold to an unnamed family uninterested in the horse business for a reported A$10 million plus.

The sold sign was erected last Saturday, a week before the planned auction of the picture-book property. The new buyers will breed cattle, a further blow to the local South Australian Thoroughbred industry which flourished in the booming Hayes heyday of the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

The weekend sale was orchestrated by sole owner David Hayes, who inherited the property from his late father Colin in 1990 and bought out his siblings after a decade of training successfully in Hong Kong from 1995.

David first attempted to to sell the property in June 2010, when he surprisingly relocated to Victoria where he has established a new A$20 million Lindsay Park atrural Euroa, an hour and a half north of Melbourne. The aim was to train using the same methods as Lindsay Park, SA, but be better placed geographically - roughly half way between major racing centers of Melbourne and Sydney.

Yet from the SA base, the Hayes father and son, both Australian Hall of Famers, won a Japan Cup and three Melbourne Cups plus every other Australian Classic with horses trained on the gallops of Lindsay Park, inspired by the English tradition of training on private tracks on private estates.

Despite its English heritage, Lindsay Park’s breeding and training operation under the same roof was revolutionary in Australia when established in 1965 and has led to many others being established similar to Lloyd Williams’ Macedon property outside Melbourne, that this year gave us Cup hero Green Moon. Apart from the privacy and non-rushed atmosphere of the place, Hayes always mentioned to visitors to Lindsay Park (as he did to me on a tour in the late 80s) that horses liked being horses, spending time in open paddocks and sleeping under the stars. He also repeated his mantra that the future belonged to those who planned for it.

Colin Hayes was a character with a work ethic that knew no bounds, and not only did he win continuous Melbourne and Adelaide training premierships, he also set new standards with his sire Without Fear, who broke the world record for 2-year-old winners in1975/76. In that year the stallion sired 30 individual winners of 48 races.

The Hayes dynasty not only unearthed turf stars like Japan Cup winner Better Loosen Up (Loosen Up), the ill-fated champion Dulcify, two-time Cox Pate winner Fields of Omagh (Rubiton), the future champion sire Zabeel (Octagonal) and the only filly ever to win a Golden Slipper and Victorian Oaks, Miss Finland (Redoute’s Choice). Equally importantly, they introduced the likes of Robert Sangster and Sheikh Hamdan to Australian racing.

The trio masterminded the shuttle of international stallions into Australia, now a dominant part of Australian genetics and, of course, reached a pinnacle in the imported Danehill (Danzig) emerging as a breed changing international super-success. Sheikh Hamdan, Sangster and Hayes also pioneered travelling international horses to race in the Melbourne Cup and showed the way with celebrated Cup winners, Sangster’s U.S.-bred Belldale Ball and the Sheikh Hamdan-owned and UK-born and-raised Jeune (Kalaglow).

While David Hayes has expressed sadness about selling the family seat, he is realistic that the racing caravan has moved on from SA and that prize money in the major capitals is three times that available in his home state.

The impact this has on finding new owners and developing the business is enormous and fully recognized by the financial brain of David Hayes, who nevertheless is finding it difficult to re-create the success at Euroa that he had at Lindsay Park, SA.

However he believes that is all about to change, having just posted his 50th winner for the year at not even the half-way mark.

The historic sale includes a 19th century, 38-room three-level homestead and comes only months after the death of Hayes matriarch and mother of David, Betty Hayes, who lived in a house on part of the property now leased by her grandson Sam Hayes for his Cornerstone Stud.

Sam Hayes, a son of the late Peter Hayes, is a trainer in his own right and older brother of David, and will continue to operate Cornerstone with the permission of the new owners, who will honor his lease signed with cousin David until 2016. Said Sam Hayes, “I only heard about it on Friday night. It came out of the blue, but it’s good news for David and Prue ( David’s wife), and we can continue, so that’s good too. I will be fascinated to meet the new owners and see what they plan to do with the farm. At this stage it’s only a guessing game as to who it is,” he added.

A guessing game that now intrigues Australian horse fanciers who are mourning the passing of an era that could only be said was good for the game and especially for the once prominent racing and breeding state of South Australia.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News