Australian Thoroughbred

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Vale: Ron Tandberg. Famed cartoonist and avid breeder
January 24, 2018 Ron Tandberg at the Kyneton Cup (pic-Carmelo Bazzano-Herald Sun)

Renowned Fairfax cartoonist and member of Victoria’s thoroughbred breeding and racing industry Ron Tandberg recently passed away aged 74 after a battle with cancer.

Those close to him such as Kyneton trainer George Osborne and friend, former colleague and co-owner Nigel Henham all spoke highly of a man who simply loved his horses.

His homebreds notably wore blue colours with a distinctive Tandberg cartoon incorporated.

Tandberg often had five or six homebred horses in the stables at any one time whether it was with Clarrie Conners, Kelvin Southey or, for the past eight years, with Osborne at Kyneton.

He first achieved major race track success in as a part owner of the Clarrie Conners trained Skalato who won the Group 2 AAMI Vase at Moonee Valley on W.S. Cox Plate Day in 2000.

But, famously, Skalato was also first past the post in the Caulfield Guineas two weeks prior only for the win to be taken away from him six weeks later after the victor returned a positive to an anti-inflammatory drug.

The incident would, however, not steer Tandberg away from the industry. Instead he became more involved and more passionate about his horses.

Henham, who co-owned several with Tandberg including his homebred 2010 Pakenham Cup winner Blaze Adrift said he was a thinker who had firm views about the welfare of his horses.

“He cared a lot about the welfare of the animal. He was a lovely, lovely character. Ron always had his camera with him and loved taking pictures of his horses,” Henham said.

“He had strong opinions about his horses. He was determined to be patient with them…he didn’t race his horses as two-year-olds…and he really didn’t like his horses racing on the Geelong synthetic track!”

George Osborne couldn’t speak more highly of Tandberg.

“I have been training for 27 years…he is right up there at the top of the list (as an owner). He loved his horses.

“When he did come up to the stables, he spent an hour patting his horses.

“I would speak to Ron religiously about his horses after each race…he just loved to talk about his horses.

“He also had an appreciation for the small things in life. I remember we won at Camperdown once. He had the best day and didn’t want to leave. He was awarded a book about the history of the race club and really treasured that book.

“He was a wonderful man,” Osborne said.

Osborne says Tandberg passed away with shares in four horses still with him at Kyneton. This included recent Deniliquin Cup winner and New Year’s Day Burrumbeet winner Shy Frank.

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