Keeping Up With Tom & Jenny Hobson
Tom and Jenny Hobson are no strangers to the New Zealand racing and breeding scene, the Cambridge based couple have been breeding, racing and selling thoroughbreds for nearly 50 years.
Very few people these days day can claim to have exclusively raced the stock they have bred like the Hobson’s have, who since the early 1970’s have done so with great success.
Tom and Jenny spent many year’s operating from their Milbourne Farm based in Otane, just south of Hastings, before an eventual move to Cambridge at the turn of the century. Jenny who had grown up with horses and was a regular rider across a number of disciplines and claims to be the reason the couple got so deeply involved, “I’ve always been around horses and rode a lot growing up,” commented Jenny, “although Tom likes to tell me he rode to school, but I’m not sure about that!”
The Hobson’s are breeders first and foremost, and reflect on their first broodmare purchase in 1972, a Dogger Bank mare called Kuriwao Stream. She had a Lucifer foal at foot and without knowledge she was also in foal to Lucifer, eventually foaling another well conformed colt. “Initially I was keen to breed show hack’s” said Jenny, “we had the land, but we unfortunately also had a large fire but were lucky enough to save the horses. Out of that Graeme Rogerson bought one of the Lucifer colts from us straight out of the paddock”. The Hobson’s were then told by Herrick Perry that if they were going to breed thoroughbreds, they should upgrade their mares. “Herrick really got us started in the early 70’s and was a great help to us”. That advice led to the subsequent purchase of the mare Fabliaux (Snark) and proved to kick start the Hobson’s with favourites Lagerfeld (Avaray) and So You (Grosvenor), both granddaughters of Fabliaux. The other stable favourite, a Copenhagen mare called Netherland purchased in 1973, is of a family the Hobsons still breed from today. “We still have Enjoy the Ride on the farm who we will breed from this year and she is a 5th generation as a direct descendant of Netherland”.
Since the 2000’s the Hobson’s have been regular attendants at northern racetracks having visited the winners circle more than 82 times, enjoying their fair share of success. “We absolutely love racing and going to the races”. Heza Cool Dude (Kashani) trained by Ralph Manning is a personal favourite, “Ralph has been our main trainer, we have a few horses spread around now but since we move to Cambridge Ralph has always had our horses”. Heza Cool Dude is the winner of seven races who’s placed at stakes level and cherished by the Hobson’s since being a descendant from Netherland.
The Hobson’s philosophy has been simple and much of their success has been from what would now be considered non-commercial stallions. “Type and temperament are high on our priority list and we have often used stallions we like, but might not be seen as the most glamorous”.
In more recent years, Tom and Jenny found the need to sell horses through the annual yearling sales to help fund the operation. In 2018 the couple stepped outside their normal routine and purchased a well-bred Stryker mare in foal to Vancouver called Come On Vogue from the Gold Coast, subsequently selling the Vancouver yearling for $95,000 at the annual NZB National Yearling Sale. Come On Vogue is due to foal to Cambridge Stud’s Almanzor and proving to be a smart purchase.
With a modest team of horses currently in work and breeding from six mares, the future for the evergreen Hobson’s looks bright. With a hard-working can-do attitude, the Hobson’s continue to run the property and work with the horses every day. Jenny admits she always holds a sense of pride when she washes and prepares their colours for each trial or race day.
We caught up with the dynamic couple to find out a bit more.
What race would you travel back in time for?
TH & JH: When Lagerfeld won the 1988 Gloaming Stakes at Trentham! – According to Jenny, Tom was out duck shooting but somehow manages to remember how exciting it was. “He was a great old horse”.
Race you would most like to win?
TH & JH: – New Zealand Oaks, racing fillies is our thing.
Best horse you have seen?
TH & JH: Any track where we win. We haven’t been to many although Tom went to Flemington once!
Favourite stallion of all time?
TH & JH: Star Way & Grosvenor are personal favourites, but we’ve had some great success with some great non-commercial stallions!
Favourite stallion at Westbury Stud?
Reliable Man – He’s a lovely athletic horse who’s been amazing at the sales.
Best piece of breeding advice you’ve received?
“Type and Temperament” they are our two main criteria.
Pictured: Hobson-owned Enjoy The Ride (Race Images)