Office extraordinaire, Lisa Dunbar has been a central part of keeping the Wexford team in check and the stable running smoothly. As office manager for the past four and a half years, Lisa's job varies between the day to day office operations and at times helping within the stable.
With a lengthy background in the thoroughbred industry, Lisa has the knowledge and experience that is essential in understanding the inner workings of this busy racing stable! Never one to complain and always ready to welcome you with a smile, we are lucky to have Lisa as part of our team.
Lisa had a chat with us, amongst her busy schedule, so we could learn a little more about her background in the racing industry and gain an insight into her success in the breeding industry.
How did you first get involved in the racing industry?
I grew up in Canterbury, north of Christchurch, on a native plant nursery. We lived next door to a welsh pony stud. When I was six, my sister and I were fortunate enough to be given a young green pony, called Megan. It continued from there, through to pony club and competing locally in eventing, dressage and show-hunter. I got my first off the track thoroughbred “Racer” (by Racing Is Fun), that developed from a wayward youngster through to becoming a useful show, show-hunter and dressage horse.
I bred my first thoroughbred, “Reuben” (Shear Tirant), when I was 22. He lived until 28 years of age and sadly passed away last year. He was an amazing horse, having been ridden by my daughter Brooke, my sister, Brooke's father and myself. Reuben also taught jockeys to ride at the Cambridge Academy.
I have been in the Waikato for nearly 21 years and I own twenty acres in the lovely Walton, north of Matamata. I agist, breed and pin-hook thoroughbreds as Timberlee Thoroughbreds. I also breed full size ponies with my english riding pony stallion to retired TB mares.
I am an NZTR Authorised Syndicator and was previously vice president of the Waikato Thoroughbred Breeders, before becoming the branch secretary. In the past I have been an equine tutor for theory for thoroughbred breeding students and apprentice jockeys. I have also worked in a saddlery, a feed store and as a bank teller.
I have a Level 4 thoroughbred breeding certificate, Level 5 racing stable management certificate and a diploma in accounting.
In my spare time I am an apprentice master saddle fitter, helping clients and horses with saddle fits and maintenance throughout the Waikato. I have one daughter, Brooke, who also rode ponies and worked at Wexford during the university holidays. She has recently completed a health science degree.
What is your current role at Wexford?
I am the office manager at Wexford, where I have worked for the past 4 ½ years. This involves the usual account and administration tasks, looking after the staff and clients and anything else that arises. There is never a dull moment!
When possible I like to attend the races or trials and help out as one of the team. I'll also help to load or unload the odd horse during the day!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working with the amazing staff and Andrew and Lance on a daily basis. Of course the beautiful horses we have in the stable are a bonus as well!
Being inside on a beautiful sunny day.
What has been your proudest racing moment with Wexford?
Being a part of winning two New Zealand Derby’s was huge. Having a racing share in winter galloper 'Aero de Paris', now the winner of five races, has been a big thrill.
Do you have a soft spot for one horse in particular?
I really love Dragon Leap. He is a beautiful, kind boy and always up for a cuddle.
One horse in the barn people should keep an eye on over the next few months?
Satono Alladin x Etosha Lass - he is a beautiful type and has a superb nature. He is an absolute pleasure to deal with.
What is your favourite thing about Wexford Stables?
The great team environment and celebrating the wins with everyone! It's fantastic meeting the lovely clients from all walks of life.
Some little added extras about Lisa...
What is the best horse you've bred?
Lucky Fun (Proisir-Emerged) who is still racing in Hong Kong. He has won three races so far.
There is a wee story behind him... I purchased his Dam, in foal, for $100 at the broodmare sales. She was a winning full sister to Shuka (2 x Group 1 winner) so a real bargain!
The year I bred Lucky Fun, I was lucky enough to win the stallion service to Proisir at the Breeders Stakes. The mare foaled a beautiful colt (Lucky Fun), who sold at the weanling sales. He stayed in New Zealand until he was a late three year old, before heading to Hong Kong.
Best horse you have pin-hooked?
C’est le Guerre. Timberlee Thoroughbreds pin-hooked this horse for clients at the weanling sales. He sold at the Karaka Yearling Sales and went on to win the 2008 New Zealand Derby.
One surprising thing?
I am re-starting our native plant and hedging nursery with my daughter, Brooke.