Walter Haefner, a breeder/owner who operated Moyglare Stud Farm in Ireland, has died in his native Switzerland. He was 101.
A businessman and philanthropist, Haefner was a true sportsman with a love for both the breeding of racehorses and the techniques and science of racing.
Advised by his doctor at a relatively late age to take up riding, Haefner chose amateur flat racing and pursued this with energetic dedication, winning the Fegentri Champion Amateur Championship in 1963.
A great fan of Irish sport horses, Haefner first came to Ireland to buy a show jumper. A delayed flight, a chance meeting in a Dublin hotel, and a few Irish whiskies and Haefner went home with Moyglare Stud Farm in 1962. The farm is located near Maynooth in Co. Kildare.
Haefner bred and/or raced numerous major winners including 1990 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Go and Go and European classic-winning half brothers Assert and Bikala. Other graded or group winners bred and/or raced by Haefner include Dress To Thrill, Lisieux Rose, Market Booster, Media Puzzle, Relaxed Gesture, Spending Record, Stanerra, Twilight Agenda, and Where We Left Off.
At the recent Royal Ascot meet, Moyglare homebred Princess Highway won the Ribblesdale Stakes (Eng-II). In May, homebred Speaking Of Which captured the Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes (Ire-III).
In recent years Haefner was overjoyed to share his passion for Moyglare with his daughter Eva-Maria, and her children Chiara and Mischa. All three are regular and enthusiastic supporters of Irish racing.
The Curragh honored Haefner’s contribution to Irish racing by running the Moyglare Stud Stakes. The 40th running of the group I stakes will be held Sept. 9.
A memorial service will be held in Ireland at a later date.