Bloodstock legend Sir Philip Payne-Gallwey, a lynchpin in the success of the Niarchos family’s racing and breeding operation, died Feb. 3 at his home in Newbury, England. He was 72.
The British baronet initially made his name with the British Bloodstock Agency, which he joined in the mid-1960s, before the late Stavros Niarchos recruited him to manage his racing interests in the late 1970s.
Payne-Gallwey’s impact on his new employer’s racing and breeding empire was instant and far-reaching. In 1978, he successfully bid $1.3 million for the Keeneland July sale topper, Nureyev. The son of Northern Dancer earned two stakes victories in the Niarchos colors, trained by Francois Boutin in France, as well as the dubious distinction of being the only disqualified winner of the British classic, the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) over a mile. He also was a French champion.
Nureyev initially retired to stud at Niarchos’ Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard where he was an instant success.
Syndicated for more than $14 million to stand at John T.L. Jones Jr.’s Walmac International near Lexington, Nureyev proceeded to sire a host of track stars. He died in October 2001.
Nureyev's outstanding progeny included international champion and dual Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Miesque; Eclipse Award winner and Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Theatrical; Breeders’ Cup Mile hero and European champion Spinning World; and other European champions Zilzal and Peintre Celebre.
Miesque’s dam, Pasadoble, was selected by Payne-Gallwey as a yearling at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky. The purchase price of $45,000 proved to be one of the bargains of the century, as the mare’s legacy includes Miesque’s brilliant son and influential international sire, Kingmambo.
Payne-Gallwey stepped down from his role with Niarchos in 1986 to become executive director of the BBA, having also found French classic winners River Lady and Northern Trick for the owner.
Payne-Gallwey was instrumental in transforming Southern Hemisphere bloodstock. In 1975, while still working at the BBA, he was approached by Patrick Hogan of Cambridge Stud in New Zealand, who handed him the remit of finding a stallion capable of putting the Southern Hemisphere on a par with its northern peers. The budget was only NZ$200,000, but he succeeded in securing the ill-tempered Sir Tristram, who went on to become the first Australasian super sire, collecting 17 stallion titles.
In another major accomplishment, Payne-Gallwey also was involved in taking Cash Asmussen from the U.S. to France, where was a five-time champion rider.
Payne-Gallwey, born March 15, 1935, was educated at Eton, and then went to Sandhurst, the officer-training college for the British army, which he served in from 1957 until joining the BBA. He retired in 1997.
The sixth Baronet Payne-Gallwey, usually known as PPG, was mentor to a number of successful bloodstock agents such as Joss Collins, Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe, and Alan Cooper. The last-named was chosen by Payne-Gallwey to be his assistant in 1983, and three years later took up the position of racing manager to the Niarchos family, which he still holds.
Cooper commented: "It was an extraordinary opportunity and Philip was a mentor. His judgement was world renowned. He had a wonderful gift of teaching and explaining the horse, and he had a marvellous twinkle in his eye."
Widely liked and respected, Payne-Gallwey’s expertise was manifest in the purchase of group I winners like Bassenthwaite, Baillamont, L’Emigrant, Magic of Life, Melyno, Mendez, Persepolis, and Procida.