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Vale Tom Lowry

Tom Lowry, an immensely influential figure in the New Zealand thoroughbred industry, died on Monday aged 88. He was the third generation to operate the famous Okawa Stud in Hawke’s Bay, a property first established by his grandfather and then successfully run by his father for many years. 

Like his father before him, Lowry quickly became heavily involved in Hawke’s Bay thoroughbred circles, both as a successful breeder and owner. He became a member of the former Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club in 1963 and a committeeman in 1969. He was vice-president of the club from 1978 to 1986 and president from 1987 to 1991, whereupon he was made a life member. 

The Hawke’s Bay Jockey Club became part of Hawke’s Bay Racing Incorporated in the early 1990s and Lowry served as a director on the board of the new body before becoming chairman from 2000 to 2002. He retired from both positions in October 2002. 

Lowry was also heavily involved in the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association, becoming a council member in 1976 and serving as vice-president from 1983 to 1987. He was the NZTBA representative on the Board of the New Zealand Racing Conference from 1994 to 1996 and was also made a life member of the NZTB Association.

In the mid-1970s Lowry decided to import a European-bred stallion to stand at Okawa Stud and purchased Three Legs (Petingo) from Ireland.

The son of Petingo (Petition) went on to become one of the most successful sires of his time, being crowned champion New Zealand stallion for three years and producing a steady stream of Group race winners including the champion mare Horlicks, winner of the 1989 running of the prestigious Japan Cup (Gr 1, 2400m).

Lowry, in partnership with his brother Pat and their sisters bred and raced a number of successful horses under the Okawa Partnership banner.

They included Cure (Sir Tristram), winner of the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) and runner-up in the New Zealand Derby (Gr 1, 2400m).

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