Chequers Stud and the New Zealand breeding industry has lost one of its most faithful servants with the passing of Deputy Governor (Master Willie).
Deputy Governor, 29, had been suffering from the effects of old age and the decision was made to put the old horse down. “He had become part of the family,” Chequers owners Chris Campin said. “He hadn’t left the farm since his arrival here almost 25 years ago.”
Purchased in 1989 as a replacement for successful sire Prince Echo, Deputy Governor had to achieve his success at stud the hard way. Despite Group 1 form, his pedigree was unfamiliar to local breeders and he received little or no support from outside mares in his early seasons.
His popularity changed quickly with Group 1 winners Clear Rose (NZ 1000 Guineas), My Duke (VRC Sires Produce), Yelgun Dawn (Australian Oaks), Sawadee (NZ Oaks), Holy Grail (Hong Kong Derby), Hero (NZ 2000 Guineas), Leica Guv (NZ Derby) and Zirna (NZ Thoroughbred Stakes). Breeders quickly jumped on the bandwagon and he served full books in the following years.
Deputy Governor won a Listed race at Newbury as a juvenile and was transferred to the USA where he claimed the G2 Del Mar Derby at three and the G1 John Henry Hcp and G1 Eddie Read Hcp the following year giving Lester Piggott his only G1 success as a trainer.
Deputy Governor will continue to influence pedigrees for years to come through his many daughters. He is the damsire of stakes winners War Horse, La Etoile, Sale of Century, Folding Gear and Craft Irna.