* Tinkler puts Patinack Farm on the block
* Mining mogul asking around A$200 mln - source
* Entrepreneur struggling to pay off debts, meet court costs
By Jane Wardell
SYDNEY, April 2 (Reuters) - Mining mogul Nathan Tinkler is
selling Australia's largest thoroughbred racing and stud empire
as he struggles to pay off debts and raise funds for court
The young entrepreneur is asking around A$200 million
($208.29 million) for Patinack Farm and potential buyers include
Chinese parties, according to a source close to the sale, who
was not authorised to speak publicly.
Tinkler has splashed out more than A$300 million on
Patinack, the fulfillment of a long-held dream for the horse
racing fan, since establishing it in 2007.
The Australian's decision to put his beloved horse business
on the sales block will likely add to fevered speculation about
just how deeply the 37-year-old is in debt.
Tinkler has swung from his position as Australia's youngest
billionaire to faltering debtor in just a few months after his
undiversified portfolio was left heavily exposed to plummeting
His main asset, a 19.4 percent stake Whitehaven Coal Ltd
, has shrunk in value from more than A$2 billion at its
peak last year to just over A$400 million.
Sources have told Reuters that Tinkler owes A$600 million
against that stake to his main backer, U.S. hedge fund manager
Farallon Capital Management LLC's asset manager Noonday.
Noonday, which heads the loan consortium that includes
Credit Suisse Group AG, has been looking at options
including pressing for the sale of shares or converting some of
the loans into equity, sources have told Reuters.
Tinkler is also the target of several lawsuits to recover
millions more in unpaid debts, the most prominent of which is
A$28.4 million being sought by junior coal explorer Blackwood
Corp Ltd over an agreed share placement deal.
Tinkler, who now lives in Singapore, told an Australian
court last month that his taxable income in 2010/2011 was just
A$9,834 and he drew funds from an A$1.4 billion trust held in
the name of his wife.
He said on Tuesday divesting Patinack would allow the
Tinkler Group to focus on its core operations of resources, port
and rail infrastructure and property.
"As I am spending more time overseas, I do not have the time
to manage the business," he said in an emailed statement.
Tim Bennett, a partner at Ernst & Young, which has been
tasked with an international marketing program for the sale,
said it is expected to take several months with interest from
local and overseas buyers.
Tinkler has already sold off hundreds of broodmares and
stallions in a series of unreserved auctions that attracted
largely discounted prices.
The business still has more than 1,000 horses and 150 staff.
Buyers at an auction in Queensland last October told Reuters
Tinkler had built up Patinack too quickly, amid reports his
major stables had run out of feed and the business was
struggling to raise entry fees for its stallions for major
Australian media reported late last year that Tinkler tried
to offload the entire business at a loss to a Qatari sheikh.
Tinkler's spending spree on Patinack included A$19 million
on 59 horses at a single annual yearling sale.
"I've always been a fan of the horses and stuff and I
suppose it's probably got a bit out of hand, but it's good fun
and I enjoy it," Tinkler said in a rare TV interview in 2011.
Tinkler has in recent months sold off many of the trappings
of his quickly-found wealth, including a luxury car collection,
while liquidators have seized his private jet and helicopter.
But he retains his other personal passions - the rugby league
and soccer teams of Newcastle, his adopted hometown north of