Pam Gerard to take sole charge of Ballymore New Zealand

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Change is coming at the trans-Tasman Ballymore Stables operation, with Pam Gerard set to take sole charge of the Matamata base.

Established in 1982 by Hall of Fame trainer Michael Moroney, Ballymore Stables has become renowned for its achievements on both sides of the Tasman headed by a total of 55 Group One wins.

The decision has now been made for Gerard, Moroney’s training partner since 2016, to assume ownership of the Matamata stables and for Moroney to relinquish his New Zealand trainer’s licence.

“We’ve been working on a plan for the past 18 months to ensure the future success of both our stables, and the decision has been made for Pam to take ownership and sole charge of Ballymore’s Matamata operation,” Moroney said.

“Pam joined Ballymore as a highly respected horsewoman and during her time with us she has excelled, not only with her hands-on role at Matamata but also for the development of horses moving between the two stables.”

After beginning his career as foreman and then training partner of legendary horseman Dave O’Sullivan, Moroney went solo in 1982 and his very first starter, Bold Avon, was a winner. He claimed his first Group One win with Imperial Angel in the 1985 New Zealand 1000 Guineas and his first in Australia, the 1989 South Australian Oaks, with Heavenly Body.

Moroney claimed back-to-back New Zealand trainers’ premierships in the mid-1990s before branching out with an Australian stable, originally in Adelaide and then in Melbourne, where he was allocated boxes at Flemington’s famous Chicquita Lodge.

An early classic success was with Second Coming in the 1997 Victoria Derby, and the same horse finished third when stablemate Brew won the 2000 Melbourne Cup. That period also included the Blue Diamond Stakes with True Jewels, and at the end of the season Moroney was awarded the prestigious Fred Hoysted Medal for training excellence.

While Brew’s famous victory secured Ballymore’s place in Australian racing, the Matamata stable has also continued to operate successfully, with major wins at home as well as being integral to the development of Australian Group One winners such as recent stars Roch ’N’ Horse and Tofane.

Canterbury-born Gerard began her training career in the late 1990s and after moving north in 2011 to a senior position with Te Akau Racing, in 2016 she was offered the role as Ballymore New Zealand’s resident trainer.

“Our paths happened to cross at the time I was looking for a change and when Mike made the offer I was happy to take on the challenge, it was too good an opportunity to turn down,” Gerard said.

Subsequent years have seen Gerard flourish in her role, winning at Group One level with On The Rocks as well as multiple elite level placings to Savile Row, Arrogant, Harlech and Roch ’N’ Horse.

In the current season, Group and Listed wins by Pendragon, Savaglee, Pericles and Sassy Merlot head a tally of 31 that have Ballymore in the top 10 on the New Zealand trainers’ table.

“It’s hard to believe that I’ve been with Ballymore for nearly a decade now, but it’s been fantastic to work alongside Mike and benefit from his vast knowledge and training skills,” Gerard said.

“Now I have a fresh challenge presented to me and I’m looking forward to the next step in my career. I’m very grateful for everything Mike has done for me to this point, and it means a lot that while I will be the sole licence-holder in the New Zealand stable, it will be business as usual with Mike continuing to have input.

“The timing is good to strike out on my own, what with the stakes increases and other incentives that we’ve seen this season. That will also mean horses in the Melbourne stable coming across to make the most of those opportunities, and of course horses from the Matamata stable going over there.”

While the new structure, set to take effect on July 1, will mean change, Moroney remains confident about the future.

“Just as Dave O’Sullivan supported me in my early years, I will continue to support Pam, which includes the two stables working in tandem as we plan programmes for respective stable members,” Moroney said.

“You would be aware of my recent health challenges, however, I’m pleased to report that I’m making very good progress and responding well to the fantastic medical care I’ve been so fortunate to receive and I’m now at home.

“It’s very satisfying to see how well the two stables have continued to perform and I’m grateful for the efforts of all our staff as well as the good wishes and support received from so many of Ballymore’s clients.

“Everyone involved in Ballymore can rest assured that the new structure will prove just as effective as it has over the years, and we look forward to further successes in both New Zealand and Australia.”

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