Lincoln Farms owners celebrate 1000 winners
By Barry Lichter
Auckland racehorse owners John and Lynne Street celebrated a remarkable milestone of 1000 winners when Lincoln River won at Alexandra Park tonight.
It was the 573rd harness winner for the Lincoln Farms’ owners and, along with 427 galloping winners, credited them with a tally which only one other person in New Zealand history has officially achieved.
Southlander Bill Hazlett won more than 1000 races as an owner until his death in 1978, but only with thoroughbreds.
Southlander Bill Hazlett owned an estimated 1015 winners.In his book Tapestry Of Turf the late racing historian John Costello detailed Hazlett trained 445 of his own winners from 1934 to 1959 when he appointed Bill Hillis as his private trainer, adding another “570-odd” wins, for an estimated 1015 wins.
The only other owner thought to have reached the milestone with thoroughbreds is Te Akau Stud boss David Ellis, whose wife Karen crunched some numbers last weekend.
The Streets have reached the amazing tally after 39 years, their first harness winner with the Roy and Barry Purdon-trained Agent Orange in July, 1987 and their first gallops winner with the Trevor McKee-trained Weekend Warrior in September, 1993.
In the intervening years the Streets have enjoyed success at the very highest level, winning features like the Auckland Trotting Cup with Sir Lincoln, Interdominion Grand Final with Galleon’s Sunset, Breeders Crown with King of Swing and Great Northern Derby, New Zealand Derby and Gold Coast Derby with Badlands Bute.
Their best days at the gallops saw wins with the Lisa Latta-trained Fort Lincoln in the Karaka Million, Platinum Witness in the 1000 Guineas and Mikki Street in the Zabeel Classic.
“Winning all those races has been fantastic,” says John Street. “We’ve had a great time.
“It’s a shame stakes haven’t kept up with the costs. We haven’t made money at Lincoln Farms. It’s probably cost me five or six million over the years but what else am I going to do, sit at home and watch TV?”
Street says with a $10,000-a-week wage bill at Lincoln Farms, it costs $500,000 a year to run the Pukekohe stable.
But he thrives on keeping the place spick and span and knowing he’s giving his young staff a leg-up.
Lincoln Farms in the winner’s circle for the 1000th time … from left Ray Green, Ian Middleton, John Street, Phil Kelly and Lynne Street with Lincoln River. Since he sold his successful Pak ‘N’ Save supermarket in Lincoln Rd in 2013, Street has also helped spread the word on the thrills of harness racing through his one-of-a-kind partnerships which give a money-back or replacement horse guarantee if the animal fails.
Street also makes ownership more 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.
“Sharing our success with other people has brought a whole new level of enjoyment for Lynne and I.
“I’ve aways believed if you’ve earned the money you should spend it. The supermarket was a very intrusive business and this has been our hobby.”
Street may not have started racing horses until 1984 but he has fond memories of his days as a teenager when his father used to take him to the races.
“Dad used to maintain sulkies for Johnny Butcher and Peter Wolfenden and I remember going to Alexandra Park when it was a grass track and seeing Macklin win the 1958 Auckland Cup.”
Street was around when the new track was built at Alexandra Park and 30,000 people attended the first night meeting there in December, 1958.
“I was there when Cardigan Bay won the 1963 Auckland Cup off 78 yards. Those were great days.”
One of the Streets’ early winners, Tabac, in 1999. The couple used to hang framed photos of every winner until they literally ran out of wall space.So too were the days in the mid 1990s when the Streets bought a property in Kumeu and set up with Ray Norton as their private trainer, who won seven races for them immediately with Brocketsbrae and 58 in all.
In 2004 the baton passed to Robert Mitchell and Ray Green who won 80 races together, the Streets named owners of the year in 2004-05, when Badlands Bute dominated the three-year-old ranks.
When Green took over solo in 2008 he really stamped his mark, and has now won another 283 races for the Streets, along with 87 winners for other stable clients.
The tally was further boosted between 2015 and 2019 when Lincoln Farms won 31 races in Singapore.
Frustrated by the handicapping system here the Streets also started sending pacers to Australia where they could be much better placed. It started as a trickle with Anthony Butt in New South Wales, then became a wave in Queensland where they were first trained by Al Barnes and now Mark Dux. Their pacing exports have won 95 races.
The Streets’ days as big players in harness racing are, however, numbered.
They sold the Pukekohe farm several years ago and leased it back until May, 2027 after which time they will scale right back.
“We’ll continue as long as we have the property but who knows what will happen in the next four years with my health,” Street said. “I’m 78 and diabetic. I don’t know how long I’ll be around.
Lincoln River, centre, fights bravely after sitting parked at Auckland tonight. “We’ve got $2 million of horses to cash up in next few years.
“Lynne wants to keep racing a few horses. We might still have two or three gallopers with Lisa Latta and if Ray Green retires Zac Butcher could train a couple for us.”
Street still has a hankering to have his name alongside a New Zealand Trotting Cup winner, having watched the Lincoln Farms’ trained Copy That win the race for the last two years for Merv and Meg Butterworth.
“We’ve got some horses who might be capable of doing that. We have nice yearlings coming up and some good two-year-olds ready to race.”