Jo Lindsay relishes her role in Cambridge Stud evolution

By Dennis Ryan

7 Sep 2022

Jo Lindsay relishes her role in Cambridge Stud evolutionJo Lindsay stands proudly at the entranceway to the Cambridge Stud Heritage Centre

It’s a mistake to think that Jo Lindsay lives in the shadow of her husband Brendan.
As the co-owner since 2018 of Cambridge Stud, Brendan and Jo Lindsay have attained a high profile in the racing and breeding industry, something that they were unused to even when owners of the highly successful international plastic storage containers brand Sistema.
That all changed when they sold Sistema in 2017 and they became a headline story centring on their wealth and everything that went with it.
The Lindsays were already well-known in racing with a successful racing string carrying their black and gold colours, and to a lesser degree in breeding with a small group kept at their 100-acre Karaka property.
The purchase of Cambridge Stud from founders Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan was a massive leap to the forefront of not only New Zealand breeding but throughout the world given the relationships they quickly forged. Theirs was truly a baptism of fire as they struck an extraordinary run of tragic losses from their stallion roster, but that only girded the ambition to establish their brand.
With a team headed by internationally recognised CEO Henry Plumptre, the Lindsays have moved on to continue the Cambridge Stud legacy with a four-strong stallion roster headed by high-profile shuttle stallions Almanzor and Hello Youmzain. Their racing colours have been carried to victory at Royal Ascot by Hello Youmzain, while closer to home the racing team has been headed by Probabeel, who last weekend claimed her second NZ Horse of the Year title while the Lindsays collected their third Owner of the Year trophy.
Brendan Lindsay would be the first to admit that he couldn’t have done any of this by himself, paying due credit to the team around him at the same time as acknowledging the part his wife has played.
“Jo and I do just about everything together, which includes much of the decision-making,” he says. “For a long time we’ve shared projects and the only difference I would say that if it involves a building development, Jo takes care of the inside and I’m in charge outside.”
The most notable recent example of that approach is the magnificent Heritage Centre that offers a unique insight to the history of Cambridge Stud. Some might describe it as a museum, but it goes far beyond a record of the past, with live interactive displays appealing to all ages and the incredible centre-piece, a life-like recreation of the horse that put Cambridge Stud on the global map, Sir Tristram.
While her husband was deeply involved in other aspects of the stud’s rebranding, Jo Lindsay took on the Heritage Centre project with a passion. Progress was hindered by COVID lockdowns, but after 18 months the doors opened to invited guests who were able to share in the Cambridge Stud story – past, present and even future.
“We said to Sir Patrick we wanted to create something special to pay tribute what he and Justine had achieved at Cambridge Stud,” says Jo. “His input was invaluable, especially when it came to the Sir Tristram work, and when it was all completed and he and his family paid a visit, his reaction was priceless.
“Now we have all sorts of people visiting the Heritage Centre, many of course who just love to reminisce on the past right down to school groups. They are our future and who knows how many young people are out there who might be inspired by their experience to join this industry.”
Jo Lindsay’s own introduction to the world of the horse began when growing up on a New South Wales dairy farm when she and her four siblings rode their ponies to school.
“It might sound like something from the distant past, but there were no school buses and our parents were too busy to drive us to school, so across the paddocks we would ride on our ponies.
“My father was a bit of a punter and we would go to the races, then I developed more of an idea what racing was about when my sister Dotty got a job riding trackwork in Sydney.
“When I met Brendan, that’s when I really became immersed in racing and it’s gone from there. Our first Group One win with a horse Brendan bred, Marky Mark, was only seven years ago and where we are now, that makes you really stop and take a breath.
“Probabeel is our queen and we’re so looking forward to her becoming a broodmare. We’ve had some special mares over the years – J’Dane and Zonza are the two that have meant so much to us – and Probabeel is another.”
Even before the Sistema sale, the Lindsays were donors to various charities, but that input has grown significantly with the establishment of the Lindsay Foundation, of which Jo is a trustee.
“The first charity we assisted was the Blind Institute and their guide dog initiative, and we continue to also with assistance dogs for special needs and companionship. More recently the foundation made a capital injection to Riding for the Disabled and we also support Starship Hospital with their helicopter and air ambulance service.
“There are various others too, much of it is about helping children and others who are not as fortunate.
“Brendan and I are very same like, we both came from family backgrounds that were by no means wealthy and we now acknowledge, as do our family, that we definitely can’t spend everything and there are worthy causes that can benefit.”