Day At The Track

Life after Graeme Blackburn - John Street

12:18 AM 13 May 2013 NZST
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John Street (left), Graeme Blackburn Sir Lincoln
John Street (left), Graeme Blackburn - (right)
Sir Lincoln - Returning to the winner's circle
Duane Ranger Photo

The sudden death of his close friend Graeme Blackburn on March 18 has given John Street a new perspective on life.

Street was speaking to his long-time Lincoln Farms business partner just an hour before the 69-year-old passed away.

“One minute you are here and the next you are gone. I still can’t believe Graeme isn’t with us. His death has changed the way I think about life. “In some ways it was a wake-up call,” Street told HRNZ. And as a result the 68-year-old will now immerse himself even more in harness racing – in honour of his close mate.

He said he had spoken to Blackburn’s widow Erin and their five children, and they had come to the decision that Lincoln Farms would become even bigger and bolder in its harness racing and thoroughbred operation.

Blackburn’s son Phillip has been appointed a director of Lincoln Property Holdings.

Street said that because life was precious he now wanted ensure more guaranteed excitement in life for harness racing owners.That’s why Lincoln Farms will announce a new Syndication launch this week.

“We are so grateful for Erin and her support of this venture. We will be launching Syndication options in both codes. We will also retain a 50 per cent share in all of our horses and the rest will be open to prospective owners. We also guarantee each horse will get to the races. And if the horse is no good or doesn’t win a race we will put the owners of that horse into another Syndicate,” Street said.

He said he often heard people at racetracks telling him they were owners but their horses were either hopeless or never got to the races.

“We will guarantee that their horse will race and it will win. We have put our reputation on the line, but financially we can afford to do this. Life is just too short not to have fun and we want to eliminate the risk for our owners,” Street said. He said each syndicate would be restricted to just several owners.

Lincoln Farms has 50 to 60 horses including 20 standardbreds. Ian Middleton is the company’s syndication manager.

The company spent $1 million buying eight standardbreds and eight thoroughbreds at this year’s respective yearling sales. They also bred nine at their 70-acre (28.3 ha) Palmerston North stud farm. "We want to build our company in memory of Graeme. It’s what he would have wanted,” Street said.

Included in the syndication is a full brother to Gold Ace and Lincolns Megatsar – a full sister to Lincoln Farm’s 2012 Auckland Cup winner, Sir Lincoln," Street said.

"Both Ray (Green – trainer) and Maurie (Mckendry – driver) think she is pretty special. She went five seconds under the qualifying time and will be the first horse to be syndicated," he added.

Meanwhile Danny Boyle has been appointed the manager of Lincoln Farm Stud. He will oversee the stud duties of Sir Lincoln and Attorney General, who will stand at Barra Equine in Christchurch.The best harness horses Lincoln Farms have had include Sir Lincoln; He's My Hero, Badland's Bute, Galleon's Sunset, Brocketsbrae and gallopers Fort Lincoln and Mikki Street.

Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand

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