Top horseman passes away

Eveready tried hard, but was unable to provide a fitting farewell at Awapuni today for Jim Campin, one of New Zealand’s most successful breeders and owner-trainers.

Wearing black armbands as a mark of respect for Campin, who passed away earlier today at the age of 76, Eveready looked a big chance to win when diving through the inner in the home straight, but was swamped and finished sixth.

Two starts earlier she had scored her first win at Otaki and that proved to the last training success for Campin. That was a notable day for Campin as the runner-up was Kisses, who raced under the Chequers Stud banner and is trained by his sons, Mark Fraser-Campin and Chris Campin.

Campin was in declining health for some time, but he received a fillip when watching Kisses break through for a deserved stakes win in the Listed NZ Bloodstock Airfreight Stakes at Riccarton last Saturday.

However, Kisses’ triumph is well and truly overshadowed by the bigger successes Campin enjoyed as an owner-breeder-trainer.

Vice Regal was the first major winner to draw attention to Campin’s horsemanship. Campin bred and co-owned Vice Regal and trained him to win 21 races with the son of Bismark II being successful at Group One level every season from two to five years.

Vice Regal’s New Zealand Group One wins included the NZ 2000 Guineas and the Ellerslie Sires’ Produce Stakes, while among his Australian wins were the Liston, Feehan and Freeway Stakes, all at Group One level. He was also third in the Cox Plate.

A son of the Great Northern Oaks winner Kind Regards, Vice Regal went on to stand successfully at Chequers Stud, the Cambridge property established in 1970 by Campin and his first wife, Ngaire.

Vite Cheval and All Glory both followed in Vice Regal’s footsteps when winning the Ellerslie Sires’ Produce Stakes and both went on to other major wins. The list of Group One winners by Vice Regal also included Sapio, Prolific, Reganza, Helene Star and Eva Grace.

Vice Regal went on to be a very successful broodmare sire, while Campin continued with a steady flow of sires at Chequers Stud, namely Prince Echo, Western Symphony, Bakharoff, Green Perfume, Ishiguru and the recently deceased Deputy Governor.

The breeding honours board at Chequers features 36 Group One winners, including Roysyn (NZ Derby), Clear Rose (NZ 1000 Guineas), Zirna (NZ Breeders’ Stakes, Singapore Gold Cup, International Cup) and Hades-Helene Vitality (NZ Derby).

While getting immense pleasure from the deeds of Chequers Stud and its stallions, Campin also had his share of thrills winning big races with horses he bred and raced.

Domino’s wins in the New Zealand Oaks and AJC Oaks were notable achievements and he experienced a huge thrill when he had the Group One three-year-old double at Riccarton in 1996 with Emerald winning the 1000 Guineas and Hero taking the 2000 Guineas.

Phillipa Rush was also a very special horse for Campin. Her wins before being sold to America included the Gr.1 1000 Guineas, while her half-sister Jennifer Rush was a dual Group Three winner.

Campin maintained an impressive strike-rate from a small team as an owner-trainer.

In 2010, sons Mark and Chris took over the reins at Chequers Stud, the current home to stallion Battle Paint, but there was always their father to call upon for advice.

“Dad never trained an outside horse in his life and only ever had a handful in work,” said his son Mark. “He did things a bit differently at times, but more often than not they came off.”