Group One owner-breeder passes away

Blue Flag, one of Phil Bayly's winners this season, returning after a top performance at the Auckland Cup meeting. (Photo: Wally O'Hearn).

Blue Flag, one of Phil Bayly’s winners this season, returning after a top performance at the Auckland Cup meeting. (Photo: Wally O’Hearn).

New Zealand has lost one of its most successful breeders and owners with the death last Tuesday of Philip Henry Patrick Bayly, aged 92.

Bayly’s familiar red and black stripe silks were carried to Group One successes on both sides of the Tasman by such outstanding gallopers as (My) Blue Denim, Eagle Eye, Harris Tweed and the ill-fated Lion Tamer.

A sheep and cattle farmer at Kai Iwi, near Wanganui, for 40 years before his move north to Cambridge and then Tauranga, Bayly hailed from a racing family. His uncle Horace owned the 1937 Auckland Cup winner The Buzzer.

Bayly also won the Ellerslie feature in 1980 with the Dave and Paul O’Sullivan-trained Blue Denim, who very nearly realised the Melbourne Cup dream later that year.

Racing in Australia as My Blue Denim, she finished runner-up to Beldale Ball at Flemington after suffering interference in the middle stages of the race and being blocked for room in the straight. She also won the Gr. 1 Tancred Stakes and the Gr. 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney.

Cambridge trainer Murray Baker enjoyed outstanding success with Bayly with Eagle Eye, Harris Tweed and Lion Tamer.

“I can’t recall a small breeder winning so many Group Ones in Australia, he had a great eye for it,” said Baker. “He was a good bloke and he had some great horses.”

Eagle Eye won the Gr. 1 Bayer Classic at Levin and he was the dual Group One winner of the Ranvet Stakes and the Sydney Cup in Australia.

Harris Tweed won the Gr. 2 Tulloch Stakes, ran Group One seconds in the AJC Derby, Caulfield Cup, and the Air New Zealand Stakes and ran fifth in two Melbourne Cups.

Harris Tweed was a grandson of Blue Denim and from the same family as Bayly’s dual Group One VRC Derby and Underwood Stakes winner Lion Tamer.

A memorial service for Bayly will be held at Woodhill, 167 Grange Rd Tauranga, on Saturday at 11am.

– NZ Racing Desk.