LOGAN RACING STABLES NEW ZEALAND FINISHING AFTER 35 YEARS
Donna Logan Racing Stables handed over the reins on June 1st 2020
Donna Logan has decided to close her Logan Racing Stables at Ruakaka , New Zealand . She relinquished her NZ Trainers Licence in 2018 when she made the move to Singapore to set up a new Stable but retained the ownership of her Ruakaka base. Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley trained succesfully from Logans base in partnership after her departure but from June 1st the ownership passed to Chris Gibbs. The Training Partnership of Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley will reamain and the Stable will have a new name, Northern Racing. The change was originally planned for April but the arrival of Covid 19 put a temporary end to that. This is both a sad and exciting time in Donna's Racing Career. Donna is certain Chris and Michelle will keep up the reputation of Ruakaka Trainers turning out winning horses at every level in racing. When Donna departed for Singapore she had a big team of 60 horses in work but as horse numbers dropped away due to a the down turn in racing the business became more unfinancial . She has cut her racing shares and breeding stock back accordingly. Chris will operate a more boutique style operation and has a loyal group of local and outside owners that know what a wonderful environment Ruakaka has to offer with no mud, sand yards , the beach , the ocean, salt air, and the best natural all weather track in NZ. Some of these owners have been with Donna for over 30 years .
Donna Logan has trained at Ruakaka for 35 years and owned the business for all that time. She trained nearly 900 winners , 326 of which were at Ruakaka, with many at Group Level in New Zealand and Australia. She moved to Singapore to set up a new Stable and after 2 years of very hard work has built a thriving business and is ranked in the top 10 Trainers there. Donna had to relinquish her Trainers License in NZ in 2018 and left the Stable at Ruakaka in the capable hands of Chris Gibbs and Michelle Bradley. They finished 10th on the 2018/19 Premiership with 45 winners and currently sit at 23rd with 18 winners in the last month of this season and unfortunatley haven't had the usual Ruakaka meetings over winter.
Whangarei Racing Club has over 100 years of history . The Club moved from Whangarei in the 1970's when Whangarei's leaders at the time decided they needed the land to develop into facilities for other Sports. Kensington Park is now a fantastic centalised sporting location and home to many sports. The old race track was very round in shape and got very heavy when it rained. Many alternative locations were looked at but Ruakaka was to become the chosen site with it's free draining sand base and beach front location. A very progressive Committee in those days comprising of many Northland Racing legends such as Bob Tait, Les Donaldson, Ian Fraser (then Chairman of the County Council) with the aid of then Maori Affairs Minister Matt Rata secured the property and the Ruakaka facility was built. Committees were voluntary and years of working bees continued. There have been many great leaders ( Presidents or now Chairman Of The Board) Les Donaldson, Bob Tait, David McGregor, David Reid, Dean Logan, John Fairley , Shayne Heape and now Mike Beazley. Donna is very aware of the Clubs history and the part she played in the Ruakaka facility having had the largest Stable for many , many years that she and Dean built from scratch. In recent years the Club was granted funds from NZRB and NZTR and borrowed money to extend the width of the track. It was invisaged by past NZ Racing Board members that the survival of Ruakaka would depend on increasing the horse population to sustain raceday feild sizes , after all , they already had the best all weather track in New Zealand. This was done but no further investment was made in the Training Facilities to attract other Trainers with horses , especially over the winter months. The Racing Club have also discussed with the Whangarei District Council the posibility of tapping into the supply of treated waste water when the new Waste Water Facility in the area is developed and this may happen soon. Donna also initiated talks a few years ago with Stan Semenoff who was Mayor at the time about the importance of the Ruakaka based Whangarei Racing Club because of it's location, history and potential as a future Northland Crown Jewel. He responded by initiating a zoning change . Stan was also instrumental in the development of the new Rugby Stadium in Whangarei. The Whangarei Racing Club and the Whangarei City Council went through a major Planning Change process with the aid of Committee Members from both Whangarei and Auckland Racing Clubs and a private planning company. The process went as far as the Environment Court and a new Equine Zoning is acheivable subject to a few conditions such as the monitoring of Fauna and Birdlife for a period of time. This Zone would enable Horse Racing and associated activities to continue with some parcels of land being able to be developed into residential lots.This was very visionary , and challenging for those involved and Donna hopes that those in positions of power will continue with creating one of Northlands Crown Jewels.
It will be a great challenge for Chris and Michelle to continue on but they have a great facility to train from, a loyal group of owners and some nice Bloodstock. Donna is sure the Stable will stay strong and that Whangarei Racing Club will survive with the support of owners and hope that Northlanders will go to the races at Ruakaka and show their support when race dates are allocated. Donna is also happy that children Samantha and Robert are part of the Racing Industry. Samantha is a succesful Trainer in her own right in Cambridge and Robert works for New Zealand Bloodstock.
Donna was born in Kawakawa and moved to Whangarei at a very young age. She learned to ride a horse before she could walk. Her Secondary Education was , shall we say, not extensive. Donna left at the age of 15 and worked for her Father in his Demolition Business. She was certainly no Silver Spooner and soon learned Management skills when she was left in charge of a group of tough men. She drove a D8 Bulldozer and could dismantle a house or building and get it stacked on trucks to take back to the yard. They then expanded into the House Moving businees moving many large houses by truck , some for long distances.She is an only child and was treated like a boy by her Father Bruce.Bruce and her mother , Betsy, also operated a mobile Takeaway called the Pie Cart , that made fantastic Burgers, Fish ans Chips and all sorts of Takeaway food and drinks. Donna would often have to sleep in the car and could take a cooked chicken to School for lunch that she would swap for sandwiches. Donna worked in the Pie Cart and in a Vege Shop they owned called Graemes Salad Bowl , where the Killer Prawn is based in Whangarei. She did contract work at the Port lagging pipes with Tar Tape and an Oxy Acetalyne Torch and worked in a Maunu Road Dairy part time. She was brought up tough and had to work hard.
Donna can trace parts of her family history back to America in the 1700s where her fifth great grand mother Betsy Ross was comissioned by George Washington to design and make the first American Flag. That name was passed down to her mother , Betsy Ross Graham , nee Carpenter. A decendant of that line was Donna's great grandfather William John Daniel Carpenter , a big American man, who jumped ship and became a Bounty Hunter and later married a local Maori women. Her brother was the great grandfather of Winston Peters our current Minister Of Racing. Thus Donnas Maori ancestory goes back to the Maori Iwi of Ngatiwhi . This Iwi is based between Cape Brett in the north and Takatu Point on Tawharanui Peninsula and out to Great Barrier Islands and other islands such as the Poor Knights. Donnas grandfather designed and patented a Twin Screw propeller that was used on the very early U Boats because it made very little noise. Donnas toughness and determination to succeed is perhaps partly inherited from these people.
Donnas introduction into horse racing started in the days of the Pie Cart when Donna's parents became good freinds with NZ Racing Legend Baggy Hillis and they raced horses with him and went to lots of Race Meetings together. Bruce and Betsy owned a horse called Fair Rev that was trained by Sid Edwards . Sid trained the great front running horse of the time Jans Beau. He offered Donna a job riding work and taught her to raceday ride. Her Uncle and Aunty , Bob and Gloria Autridge, had 2 sons who were Jockeys so not to be outdone by her cousins Stephen and Toby she wanted to do the same. In the late 80's Donna was a Jockey and rode 8 winners but found it hard to get rides being based in Northland. She was called Long Shot Logan. Donna thought it would be a good idea to take up Training so she could get more rides. She leased yards from Whangarei Racing Club in 1985. It was very difficult to get a Trainers License in those days but she was granted one. Her first winner was Silver Kris , half brother of Champion horse Uncle Remus, that she trained for Northland Racing Icon Les Donaldson. Donna trained in partnership with her husband Dean Logan from 2003 until Dean's death in 2015. They were both members of the Whangarei Racing Club Committee for many years , Dean for many years as President, and are both Life Members. They both worked hard to build the Stable from nothing.
Apart from Donnas ability to train she has a great eye and for buying a horse and has succesfully bought many great horses, aided by Racing Guru Gary Cossey who is the closest thing to a brother Donna has. Her eye and her Equine ability has been inherited by her daughter Samantha and son Robert who works for NZB and exudes knowledge, intellect and style that will carry him up through the ranks in racing.
Amoung the Stables Best Results were
Good Faith - Won G3 Foal Stakes and G1 Sires Produce
Vapour Trail - Won G2 Sir Tristram Stakes, G1 NZ Oaks G2 Eight Carat Classic and L Guineas Trial
El Duce - G2 Counties Cup, L Foxbridge Plate, G2 Waikato Cup twice, G3 Lindaur Stakes, G2 Queen Elizabeth, G2 Guineas, and second in the NZ Derby
The Mighty Finn - G2 Counties Cup
Victory Smile - L Coulandra Cup and G1 Metropolitan Handical at Randwick
Castle Heights - Grafton Cup
Mosquito - G2 City Of Auckland Cup
Ring Of Fire - G2 NZ Saint Leger and G1 Tatts Cup Australia
Zabeat - G1 Wellington Cup and placings in the Coulandra and Grafton Cups
Jazzella - G2 Newmarket Handicap, G3 Breeders Stakes, G3 Darley Plate, L Silk Stocking Gold Coast and placings in G1 Railway , Newmarket and Concorde
Dashing Donna - Won L Newmarket, Placed G1 Raiway and G2 Concorde
Hasselhoof - Won G2 Rich Hill Mile
Habibi - Won NZ Derby, G2 Championship Stakes and G2 Guineas
Rising Romance - Won G2 Royal Stakes, G2 NZ Stakes, G1 Australian Oaks, second in G1 NZ Derby and G1 Caulfeild Cup
Volkstoknbarrel - Won G1 Herbie Dyke Stakes, G1 Bonecrusher, Gi Haunui Farm Classic, G1 Rosehill Guineas, G2 Great Northern Guineas, L Karaka 3 YO Mile, second in G1 NZ Derby, G1 Zabeel Classic, third Australian Derby
Donna Logan Racing Stables Singapore has a strong 45 plus Stable that will kick off again on July 11th with 10 runners .and she can't wait to get her first Group winner in Singapore.
Donna would like to thank all her owners for their support over the years and for the good times that were had racing both in NZ and Australia. She hopes to train for many years to come and will catch up with everyone on her return trips to NZ. We are forever hopeful of getting the next Champion horse and often think of the great quote from Northland Racing Icon , Bob Tait , Put youself in the best company and your horses in the worst.