06/26/2012 2:28PM

Moyglare Stud owner Haefner dies at 101


Walter Haefner, the billionaire software and automobile executive who owned Ireland’s powerful Moyglare Stud, has died in Switzerland at age 101. Swiss news reports, citing a release from Haefner’s family, said the entrepreneur died in his sleep last week.

The Swiss businessman bought 450-acre Moyglare in Maynooth, County Kildare, in 1962 and turned the former dairy operation into one of Europe’s great nurseries with such celebrated runners as 1990 Belmont Stakes winner Go and Go, the only European-trained U.S. classic winner; 2002 Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle, Grade 1 winners Twilight Agenda and Dress to Thrill, and Irish or European classic winners Assert, Refuse to Bend, Dance Design, and others. On June 21, Moyglare’s homebred Princess Highway won the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot as the latest in a long line of high-class runners.

Haefner was the largest individual shareholder in the software maker CA, formerly Computer Associates, and also owned Swiss car-importation business, Automobil- und Motoren AG. In March, Forbes estimated his net worth at $4.3 billion. In 2011, Haefner handed Moyglare’s reins to his daughter, Eva-Maria Bucher Haefner. This year, the farm is sponsoring The Moyglare 50, a group of 50 non-stakes flat races through November, for which Moyglare will send a 1,000 euro check to each winning breeder.

Haefner’s funeral was private. A public memorial is scheduled for July 3 in Zurich.