Moyglare Stud owner Walter Haefner has died in his native Switzerland at age 101. Born in Zurich in 1910, the renowned businessman and billionaire philanthropist, who set up the famed Irish stud farm in 1962, bred such luminaries as Refuse to Bend, Casual Conquest, Trusted Partner and Dress to Thrill.
One of the pioneers of international competition, Haefner was rewarded by the victory of Go and Go, the only European-trained U.S. classic winner, in the 1990 Belmont Stakes and by Additional Risk in the inaugural Hong Kong Bowl.
Last week, Moyglare's black, white and red silks were carried to success at Royal Ascot by Princess Highway in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and are due to be sported in Sunday's Group 1 Irish Derby at The Curragh by the promising sophomore Speaking of Which, a nine-length winner of the recent Grade 3 Gallinule Stakes over the course.
Having started out as an amateur rider, Haefner collected the Fegentri Champion Amateur Championship in 1963 and quickly established his name in breeding circles after setting up a longstanding partnership with Stan Cosgrove, who managed the County Kildare establishment from 1967. In 1982, Moyglare was the breeder of classic winner Assert, hero of the Irish Derby, as well as Japan Cup heroine Stanerra. Nineteen years later, Media Puzzle added another major overseas prize to the operation's tally when capturing the Melbourne Cup.
Also an Honorary Turf Club member in Ireland and the benefactor of organizations such as RACE and the Equine Centre, Haefner was responsible for supporting the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes, which will be staged for the 40th time in 2012, a half-century after the foundation of the stud. His daughter, Eva-Maria Bucher Haefner, has recently announced the sponsorship of a series of breeders' awards for winning fillies and mares in Ireland this year called the "Moyglare 50."
A memorial service for Haefner's life and times will be held in Ireland at a later date.