No cutting corners for Street
Lincoln Farms poised to get even more powerful
Visit Lincoln Farms down the tree-lined drive at Pukekohe and it’s odds-on you’ll see a lone figure on a ride-on mower manicuring one of the 61 paddocks.
It takes plenty of staff to run this 60 acre property and train the 30 standardbreds on it, but this isn’t one of them, it’s owner John Street himself, doing what he loves best.
Street makes the 40 minute drive from his Half Moon Bay home most days of the week to maintain the property which adjoins the local training track, helped by brother Kevin and odd jobs man Les Purdon, brother of former iconic trainer Roy Purdon.
Lincoln Farms moved here lock stock and barrel in 2014, leaving behind its showplace 40 acre Kumeu property, developers softening the blow with a $12 million cheque.
It took Street $500,000 to bring the former National Bloodstock property up to standard and a few million more to add on some neighbouring land. But in a sweet twist, he’s since doubled the $9 million all-up price tag by selling to Asian developers with the caveat he can continue to lease it for the next eight years.
“That’ll just about see me out,’’ says Street, 73. “I don’t know how long I’ll be around but I’m going to enjoy it while I can.’’
Anyone who knows Street won’t be surprised to hear, however, that he’s going to be far from idle. He has big plans to pour millions more into the harness industry in the next two to three years, bolstering his pacing band from 30 to 45 and taking in dozens more people in his unique partnerships scheme.
Buoyed by the Auckland Trotting Club’s building development at Alexandra Park which will underpin massive stake rises in the future, and the vibrant market for selling pacers who have reached their mark here, Street is going all out.
“If you’re going to do it, there’s no point in doing it half cocked,’’ says Street, a motto which he has lived by since he and his wife Lynne raced their first horse in 1985.
Street only dabbled in racing to start with while he developed his Pak ’N’ Save supermarket in Lincoln Road into the biggest of its kind where he fostered staff like family.
Street recalls paying for life-saving operations for a couple of his workers and helping other families in trouble - “I think in life you help people when you can.’’
But when he had some spare money he began to develop Lincoln Farms into a real force, owning hundreds of winners and in 2004-05 he was awarded harness racing’s mantle of owner of the year.
And now that he can afford it, Street is continuing to help others, bringing the joy of racing horses to an entire new audience.
In Street’s partnership scheme, he makes ownership affordable by fixing costs, and he reduces the risks by not putting people into a horse until he knows it is good enough to win a race.
With it comes a money back guarantee, or the option of taking a share in another horse if it fails or is sold.
Now, when Lincoln Farms’ green silks flash across the line first at the trots, there are a throng of often newbie owners there to cheer them home.
“When we win a race I’m more excited for them than myself,’’ says Street.
“A lot of people who could never afford to race a horse before are having a ball.’’
Street has lost count of the number of winners he has had himself but reckons it is around 750.
“We used to get a framed photo of each win but we gave that up when we ran out of room on the walls.’’
Today every room at the Pukekohe stable is lined with photos, with lots more stored away in boxes.
Harness Racing New Zealand statistics credit Street with 405 winners, and along with 25 more Australian harness wins and at least 315 gallops winners, our count establishes 745 at least.
Street has no particular leaning to either code. While Fort Lincoln won him the $1 million Karaka Million at Ellerslie, nine of his 11 Group I winners have come with standardbreds. And the best of all, says Street, was Sir Lincoln’s win in the Auckland Trotting Cup.
Exciting times ahead with Latta gallopers
But Street is excited about what his gallopers, in particular, might achieve in the next few seasons with Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta.
“We have a lot of nice gallopers at the moment - seven Savabeels among them. I invested in a lot of good horses in the last couple of years and while they’ve taken time, they’re now showing their promise.
“We’re not money hungry, I told Lisa we would be patient and wait until they matured and are ready.’’
Street and his partners have already turned down $1 million for impressive three-year-old Lincoln Falls and Princess Amelie is also making a case for fillies’ honours this season.
“It costs a million a year to run this - the wages bill at Pukekohe is $10,000 a week - but so long as we’re not losing too much money I’m more than happy.’’
That’s where Street’s business manager Ian Middleton comes in, reigning in the bottom line to ensure everything keeps ticking over.
Middleton would like to see more of their gallopers racing in Singapore where the returns to owners are among the best in the world.
Lincoln Farms has 14 horses in training in Singapore, with the recent retirements of their best performer Lincoln Road, who bled, and Lincoln Fame.
“We’ve won a million dollars up there,’’ says Street.
But who’s counting. Certainly not the man who in 2002 paid $75,000 for a round of golf alongside Tiger Woods at a Paraparaumu pro-am tournament.
Street has been hitting eagles ever since.
Our latest winners
- Lincoln Farms Bloodstock and Kevin Pratt’s Kamada Bloodstock for Kamanda Lincoln’s brave win at Riccarton.
- Lincoln Farms Bloodstock’s John and Lynne Street for Mathew James’ debut win at Cambridge.
- Peter Jaffares, Glenn Cotterill and Lincoln Farms for O’Reilly Bay’s win at Kranji.
- John and Lynne Street for the win by Father Lenihan at Awapuni.
- John and Lynne Street, of Lincoln Farms Bloodstock Ltd, for Saint Lincoln’s fresh-up win in Singapore.
- Lincoln Farms, Ian Middleton, Duncan, David and John Chisholm, Warwick Orr, Bob Best, Lance and Amy Myocevich and the Excell syndicate for Make Way’s win at Alexandra Park.
- John and Lynne Street for a great double at Trentham with Princess Amelie and Lincoln Raider.
- John and Lynne Street, of Lincoln Farms Bloodstock Ltd, for their upset win with Lincoln Melody at Otaki.
- The Northview Hustler partnership of Ian Gradwell, Chris Western, Shannon Flay, Four Legs syndicate, Ian Middleton and Lincoln Farms for the horse’s brilliant win in the Spring Cup at Alexandra Park.
- Denny Baker for his win with Abraham at Cambridge.
Our runners this week
Tuesday at Waipa
Bush Whacked (not starting).
Tuesday at Manawatu
Lincoln’s Girl, Vinibaka.
Tuesday at Kranji
Miracle Time, Rock Me Easy.
Thursday night at Manawatu
Lincoln’s Girl, Vinibaka.
Friday at New Plymouth
Friday night at Auckland
Northview Hustler, Recco Lover, Make Way, Trojan Banner.
Saturday at Awapuni
Sunday at Te Rapa
News in brief
FALLS TO TRIAL: Exciting three-year-old Lincoln Falls will trial at Awapuni next Tuesday in preparation to resume racing at Trentham on December 8. Trainer Lisa Latta says she is very happy with the horse’s progress and he is much more relaxed around the stables this time in.
HUSTLER BACK: Northview Hustler is bouncing after his Canterbury campaign and will race at Auckland on Friday night. He is the class horse of the mobile 1700 metre event, a rating 93 horse in a rating 69 to 93 race and as such will have to run from the outside of the gate.
DERBY DREAM: Trainer Lisa Latta has nominated six Lincoln Farms’ three-year-olds for the $1 million New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 2 - Lincoln Falls, Lincoln Lane, Ajay Lincoln, Lincoln Fury, Lincoln Hanover and Platinum Invador. Latta has also entered 2000 Guineas placegetter Sir Nate.
ANOTHER HIT: Trainer Stephen Marsh is having no luck with Bush Whacked. Marsh will scratch the horse from Waipa on Tuesday, after he drew very wide, and save him for Te Rapa on Sunday. The horse had to be late scratched from New Plymouth earlier this month after hitting himself in the float.
MOONLIGHT UNLUCKY: Lincoln Moonlight looked unlucky not to win at Kranji after copping a check 700 metres from home when the leader Morpheus slowed. He lost several lengths in the incident but recovered bravely, powering home late for third when clear. Stewards warned Nooresh Juglall that slowing the tempo to a degree where riders were left endangered would not be condoned.
SNOTTY NOSE: Lincoln Farms’ owned Vasari had an excuse for running last behind former Kiwi Italian Delight in his first start at Menangle. He pulled up with a snotty nose and has been put on a course of antibiotics.
RUPERT UNBEATEN IN OZ: Rupert Of Lincoln made it two from two since being sold to Australia when he scored at Swan Hill in Victoria. His time of 2:06.8 for the mobile 1750 metres represented a mile rate of 1:56.6.