Vale Stuart Hale

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  • July 05, 2023
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The New Zealand thoroughbred industry is mourning the loss of one of its great characters with the passing of Stuart Hale on Friday, aged 74.

Tributes have flowed for the affable Cambridge-based bloodstock agent, who died after a battle with illness.

Hale purchased a number of top-class horses including Gr. 1 Bayer Classic (1600m) winner Russian Pearl, who raced successfully for Bruce and Stephen Marsh in New Zealand before joining the Tony Cruz stable in Hong Kong.

Hale paid $37,500 for Russian Pearl as a yearling for Hong Kong owner Gary Kam, with Hale retaining a small interest. The son of Soviet Star would go on to run second to Vengeance Of Rain in the Hong Kong Derby (2000m) before later winning the Stewards Cup (1600m).

Hale would go on to establish a successful long-term relationship with Cruz, purchasing a number of horses with the ‘Regency’ prefix, while continuing his long-standing friendship with Bruce Marsh, who later trained in Singapore.

“I had a great relationship with Stuey and he has been a dear friend for a long time. He has been one of the real characters of racing,” Marsh said.

“He was great for racing and good for the bloodstock business and he will be sadly missed.

“In reflection, Stuey buying Russian Pearl helped me go to Singapore. Gary Kam, the owner of Russian Pearl, shouted Stuey and I plus our wives (both named Kay) to the Hong Kong Derby.

“We called into Singapore on the way home where Laurie Laxon had mentioned there was a vacancy for a trainer. I was allocated boxes in Singapore straight away, which obviously turned out to be a great thing for my career, and it might not have happened if it wasn’t for Stuey and Russian Pearl.

“I knew Stuey from his days in the Wairarapa but Russian Pearl certainly brought us very close. He has been one of the most colourful people in the bloodstock business. He brought in some very good owners and we had a lot of good times together.”

Hale also raced Group Two winner and Group One placed Rios in partnership with Hong Kong businessman Andy Chan. The son of Hussonet, who later retired to stud at Waikato Stud where he was a useful stallion, was prepared by Hale’s good friend Murray Baker and son Bjorn.

Hale is also the breeder of a Melbourne Cup winner, having bred Blarney Kiss gelding Kensei, who won the 1987 edition of the great race for Les Bridge under a brilliant Larry Olsen ride.

In addition to Kensei, Hale also bred Gr.1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) winner Triumphal Queen.

A great entertainer, Hale would also host a comprehensive yearling inspection tour in the lead-up to the National Yearling Sales at Karaka which proved hugely popular with buyers and vendors alike.

A keen golfer, the flags at the Cambridge Golf Club were flying at half-mast on Friday in honour and memory of Hale.

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