NZ Bloodstock owner Knighted

Peter Vela has received a knighthood in the New Zealand New Year honours list.

Vela has been an active breeder, owner and administrator for more than 40 years and among his Group 1 winners have been Ethereal, Darci Brahma, Romanee Conti, Noble Heights, Riverina Charm, Star Dancer and Grand Echezeaux.

“Extremely humbling was my first emotion and then very proud for myself, my family and friends and it’s a wonderful recognition for the industry as a whole,” Sir Peter said. “It’s an amazing surprise, a shock and an enormous thrill.”

Vela’s homebred winners have come off the family’s Cambridge based Pencarrow Stud.

“I didn’t think Romanee Conti’s win in the Hong Kong Cup could be surpassed and then her daughter Ethereal came along and won the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups,” Sir Peter said.  “She’s got to be the racing highlight for me.

“As far as breeding goes, it’s Darci Brahma.  He’s done everything from top yearling to champion two and three-year-old and first season sire.”

In 1996 with his brother Philip, Sir Peter acquired Wrightson Bloodstock and renamed as NZ Bloodstock the auction house has been, and continues to be, a major success and influence on the industry.

In 1998 Sir Peter was instrumental in the establishment of NZ Thoroughbred Marketing to promote the country’s industry on the global stage.  His companies have sponsored numerous races and events both at home and overseas, including providing vital support for the establishment of New Zealand’s Racing Hall of Fame.

Sir Peter also established Vela Fishing with his brother Philip in 1976 and the company is now the largest privately-owned quota holder in the country and played a major role in developing key international markets for New Zealand seafood.

Made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to racing in 2002, Sir Peter amicably split his business interests earlier this year and took over the thoroughbred operations with Philip concentrating on the fishing business.