Contradictory he may sound but to know John Duncan is to understand his economics on life.
Having surmounted the drudgery of paid employment as a sheep and dairy farmer in Dannevirke, semi-retired Duncan is beginning to savour the highs and lows of horse racing.
"I've worked all my life but only in recent years I can afford to [engage in horse racing]," says the "old enough" horse owner from Hastings, adding a sizeable income in life often goes to educating one's children.
"You save your money and the kids will waste it all away."
As much as he loves horses, making money from racing is paramount.
"It's hard to make money out of anything, as you know."
Duncan will be the first to attest to the notion there's no easy formula to have one laughing all the way to the bank.
Consequently that's where the contradiction from the part-owner of top racemare Fleur De Lune kicks in like a thoroughbred hitting the home straight.
When Australian buyers recently offered some serious dosh for Fleur De Lune, Duncan flatly turned it down.
"I said no because there's more to life than money," he says.
"Money is important when you haven't got much but when you have it then it's not so important.
"Is that Irish?" he asks.
He switches play to the Scottish bloke who once said: "There's no disgrace in being poor. It's just the inconvenience."
Wife Colleen Duncan and Ada Parnwell, of Cambridge Lodge, are the other part-owners of the Lee Somervill-trained horse competing in the showcase $200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes at 4.31pm in Hastings tomorrow.
The 5-year-old mare, by Stravinsky from Kapsjoy, comes in as the third-highest ranked runner in the elite field for the 1400m race on the first of three meetings at the annual Rush Munro-sponsored Hawke's Bay Spring Racing Carnival.
TAB is offering $6.50 for a win on Fleur De Lune.
Duncan finds comfort in the belief there's always a buyer for a good broodmare.
In 18 starts, Fleur De Lune has had four group one placings.
In last year's Makfi Challenge, she was third behind the Stephen McKee-trained Mufhasa and the John Bary-trained 2011 Horse of the Year Jimmy Choux (retired to stud last year).
She has recorded a third and second in the New Zealand Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha and was third in the Easter Handicap at Ellerslie this year.
A fortnight ago, Fleur De Lune won the Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa.
She won her maiden on a heavy track at Te Rapa 18 months ago.
Duncan was banking on a barrier draw of between 4-7 to boost her chances tomorrow but she has to make do with No1.
Fleur De Lune, based at Oak Stud in Cambridge and having earned more than $200,000, takes most conditions in her stride but Duncan says they will never run her on a hard track.
Tomorrow's track in Hastings is rated "slow" (mildly rain-affected) so she'll be a starter with South African Jason Jago in the saddle - with fast (like tarsealed road) at No 1; 2-3 good (firm); 4-6 (dead); 7-9 (slow); 10-11 (heavy, boggy).
"She's a good horse so you have to see her race against the best."
Mother Kapsjoy, the daughter of Kaapstad, is expecting a full sister to Fleur De Lune.
Fleur's 3-year-old half-brother, Kaapsboy, has had two starts as a 2-year-old winning his maiden race in Rotorua and finishing third in the Rider Stakes in Otaki.
"Jason Jago thinks he's as good as Fleur," Duncan says, adding some horses thrive better in smaller scale stables.
Somervill, who is Parnwell's private trainer, has only a dozen horses under his tutorship.
Duncan's other horses of note are Oringi Belle and Go Dolly.
The former, who Guy Lowry of Hastings trained, won a few stakes races.
"His heart failed and he died on the course in Hastings about a decade ago," he says, adding 4-year-old mare Oringi Belle raced against top gallopers.
He alludes to what Black Caviar trainer Peter Moody, of Victoria, said on TV the other night: "All horses have something wrong with them".
Go Dolly, a half sister to Proof, who came on the heels of Oringi Belle, won four races before she was sold to someone in Te Awamutu.
A bloke who isn't keen to put any more than $20 on a horse, Duncan says it's "bloody expensive" business to race horses.
"I'd sooner win a good race than pick up money off the tote.
"My wife keeps a track of every cent and let's me know every morning," he says of Invercargill-born Colleen who is the "syndicate manager" and whose brother Charles Morris Cassidy won the New Zealand Cup in 1948 as a jockey on Sir Garnish.
A conservative man who occasionally takes a risk, Duncan embraces a philosophy of keeping as far away as possible from the petri dishes and test tubes of laboratories when it comes to breeding horses.
"I believe in spare the rod and spoil the child," says the man who prefers to put eggs in several baskets, investing in buildings here and buying a few shares in Australia.
"I believe in buying assets. People put money in financial institutions and banks and get nothing back from them."
But then again, he has bought shares in a couple of banks, too.
"If you can't beat them, then join them."