Thoroughbred International Pty Ltd Dispersal Sale 1981

Thoroughbred International Pty Ltd Dispersal Sale 1981

Not infrequently in the thoroughbred breeding industry instant leviathan behemoths emerge. They invariably set out to dominate. Sometimes they do; usually for a short period only.

Brian Maher was such a person. He had enjoyed extraordinary success in the world of high finance and entrepreneurial commerce with his ‘bottom-of-the-harbour’ tax avoidance schemes. He made no secret of the fact. It was as if ‘nothing succeeds like excess’? Inevitably he attracted the avid interest of the Australian Government and ATO in particular. The pendulum swung against him.

In the interim Brian had invested very heavily in elite bloodstock. He and his equivalent cohort appear to love the high profile and enjoy the often transient limelight. In Brian’s case he elected to link up with John Kelso at Timor Creek Stud, Blandford, NSW. This was a smart move; to begin with. Brian had immediate access to the totemic Kelso brand-name with profound industry knowledge and John appreciated the ‘financial clout’ Brian brought along with him. It worked out well for a while but inevitably turned toxic when Brian thought he could dispense with John’s expertise.

With Brian’s demise in the High Court a full dispersal sale of his assets was unavoidable. This took place at the Gold Coast Convention and Sales Centre on Monday 27th July 1981 and Tuesday 28th July 1981. The conjoint agents were AML & F Brisbane, ABCOS Adelaide, Dalgety Victoria and William Inglis & Son Pty Ltd. 233 broodmares, two year olds, yearlings and weanlings were on offer.

Among the superb mares for sale were Golden Slipper Winners ‘Fairy Walk’ and ‘Vivarchi’ plus their progeny. Many were either from or closely related to the elite band of broodmares assembled by R F Moses at his boutique Fairways Stud, Muswellbrook. The resident covering stallions at Timor Creek at this time were Raffindale (GB), Jukebox (GB), Sharp Edge (GB) and Cheyne Walk. The latter was also bred at Fairways being by Le Cordonnier out of Fairy Walk (first foal). John Kelso was a great admirer of Reg Moses.

The highly successful sale brought to an abrupt end the rapid rise and equally precipitous fall of Brian Maher in the thoroughbred breeding industry. I think John Kelso was quietly relieved to be freed from the tentacles?

Banjo, Polo and Scone

Banjo, Polo and Scone

Featured Image: The first known photograph of the Scone Polo Club players; acknowledge ‘History of the Scone Polo Club 1891 to 1981’ by W A Bishop

Grantlee Kieza writes in his excellent biography ‘Banjo’ about Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s early love affair with the sport of Polo. Citing ‘Polo’ the Sydney Mail and New South Advertiser, 16 January 1892, p. 152 Kieza describes the visit by the Sydney Polo Club to Scone;

“In January 1892 Banjo and his club-mates caught the train to Scone, three hundred kilometres north of Sydney, to play polo against the landed gentry in that picturesque part of the colony. Banjo played well and in the final quarter ‘got the ball out of a hustle, and took it up the field to within  a foot of the goal, when the Scone full-back (No 4) just managed to tip it to the side and save the goal’”.

The locals eventually won, but it was a spirited match that lasted two hours, and the players all worked up an appetite for a convivial dinner at Scone’s Golden Fleece Hotel. The Members of the Committee of the Scone Club in 1891 were J A K Shaw, W B Pulling, A G White, H J Leary and W H Duckham. The Honorary Secretary was F A Parbury on whose Satur Property matches were played. Playing Members of the Scone Polo Club were J A K Shaw, W E White, A G White, V M White, A Ebsworth, F A Parbury, Dr Harry Scott, H J Leary, J J Dodd, W H Duckham, A Davies, W B Pulling and H Wiseman.

It’s just possible that this and other similar rural jousts inspired the spark for Banjo’s immortal ‘Geebung Polo Club’? Admittedly many other clubs and districts claim the right to the original entitlement. However, as author Grantlee Kieza rightly points out many of Banjo’s icons such as ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ and the ‘Man from Snowy River’ are ‘composites’?

It’s eminently possible, even probable, that Banjo Paterson cemented enduring friendships with a number of Scone’s intelligentsia including Solicitor J A K Shaw, Dr H J H Scott and Headmaster of Scone Grammar School W B Pulling. Banjo was known to make several regular visits to the town and district.

The following ‘Geebung Polo Club’ was printed in ‘The Antipodean’ the year after Banjo visited Scone to play Polo against the locals in 1892. ‘Banjo’ also played against the Muswellbrook Club at a venue in Sydney later in 1892.

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Bellerive Stud Dispersal 2000

Bellerive Stud Dispersal 2000

For much of the second half of the 20th century the partnership at Woodlands Stud, Denman was one of the most prolific winner producing cartels ever in the thoroughbred breeding world; Australia and elsewhere. The principals in control were G E Ryder, Dr Tom Street, David Crystal Senior and David Crystal Junior. They had formed a most advantageous synergistic association with then emerging young Randwick trainer T J Smith. It helped that George Moore was No I rider for the stable. Tom Street was on the AJC Committee while George was a real force on the STC.

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Newhaven Park Stud Dispersal 1996

Newhaven Park Stud Dispersal 1996

1.00pm Sunday 31 March 1996 @ William Inglis & Sons ‘Newmarket’, Young Street, Randwick

It all begins with a dream; yet another hoary old cliché. Sometimes dreams are realised. John Kelly Senior had returned from WWII and taken up the reins at the Kelly Family’s totemic property Newhaven Park at Boorowa. It was he who established the Newhaven Park Thoroughbred Stud in the 1940s. Owned by the family since the 1920s the prime farmland of 3200 acres was run as a sheep (wool) and cattle property. It might be claimed John Kelly started out with a significant advantage over his competitors. This was proven pristine breeding country for all classes of livestock including thoroughbred horses.

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S T Wootton Dispersal Sale 1987

S T Wootton Dispersal Sale 1987

‘End of an era’ is probably an overworked cliché. However I think it’s more like an understatement in the case of the final dispersal of Stanley Wootton’s bloodstock on 26th April 26th 1987. It could be appropriate that it was the day after ANZAC day? Coincidentally it’s also my wedding anniversary!

The sale was ‘embedded’ in the Easter Broodmare Sale beginning after Lot 70 in the general catalogue. Twelve mares, three weanlings, seven racehorse fillies and five racehorse colts made up the offering. Six year old mare ‘Tobina’ in foal to three times champion sire ‘Bletchingly, also bred by Mr Wootton, topped the sale at $200,000:00. Lot 80 ‘Risca’ (Vibrant/Magic Symbol, dam of Biscay) made $85,000:00 in foal to a very late service to Vain.

‘Risca’ was the biggest foal I ever saw in my whole professional career. She actually caused a condition known as ‘obturator paralysis’ in her dam Magic Symbol who was a very big mare indeed and had delivered many foals. ‘Risca’ had to have a veterinary assisted birth (me) due to ‘hiplock’. Both of these clinical conditions are rare in thoroughbreds (and horses in general) although quite commonplace in some breeds of cattle. Magic Symbol finally regained her feet after about 48 hours’ recumbency. It was a great relief to all concerned at Bhima Stud where special care had enabled her recovery. It heralded the end of Magic Symbol’s breeding life.

In all the twelve mares grossed $684,000:00 at an average of $57,000:00. The ‘crazy eighties’ were inflationary times in a very heated market in the thoroughbred world.

The list of covering stallions was also a firm indicator: Biscay, Bletchingly, Dalmacia, Keen, Lunchtime, Red Anchor, Rutland, Salieri, Tolomeo, Vain and What A Guest.

Oakleigh Stud Dispersal Sale 1973

Oakleigh Stud Dispersal Sale 1973

Mr Tom Flynn had enjoyed a very good innings. His was a most successful venture into thoroughbred breeding in the totemic Widden Valley.  The Flynn family had established a highly profitable milk vending business in outer West Sydney. This enabled Tom to exploit his dream with the purchase of ‘Joe’s Paddock’ which he renamed Oakleigh Stud. It was run by his son Ross, daughter-in-law Vass and grandsons Len and John. Oakleigh was immediately adjacent to ‘Baramul’; the home of legendary champion sire Star Kingdom. The Harris family were close neighbours on the other side at ‘Holbrook’. However things started to go awry in the late 1960s. Established sires Red Gauntlet (imp) and Gaul (imp) were showing signs of below average fertility with advancing age. Chronic Rattles in foals was a persistent ‘fly in the ointment’. Also Tom could be a tad tyrannical at times? Tom thought he’d had enough by 1972/1973. This activated his decision to ‘sell out’ in 1973.

Oakleigh was another location where I had ‘honed my early skills’. I recall watching the 1967 Melbourne Cup in the lounge room at Oakleigh. Roy Higgins won on ‘Red Handed’. You could only just make them out through the ‘snow storm’ on the vintage TV set. I became a firm friend of the family. Many years later I was able to repay some of their kindness, generosity and hospitality. Sixty eight mares, several with foals at foot plus resident stallions Red Gauntlet (imp), Regal Light (imp) and Seventh Hussar (imp) were dispersed at Newmarket Stables, Randwick on Tuesday 1st May 1973.

The three stallions realised a total of $149,000:00; Red Gauntlet $71,000:00 to Brian Courtney, Seventh Hussar $60,000:00 to Ray Somers and Regal Light $18,000:00 to D Uren. The 68 mares made an aggregate total of $802,000:00 with an average price tag of $11,795:00. The overall gross total for the sale was $951,000:00.

Imported Alycidon stallion ‘Gaul’ had already found a new home at David Casben’s Yarramolong Stud at Muswellbrook.

Carrington Stud Dispersal Sale 1972

Carrington Stud Dispersal Sale 1972

Mr S G White thought he’d had enough in1971. This activated his decision to ‘sell out’ in 1972. ‘No-one is buying my yearlings’ he proclaimed. Unfortunately his investments in imported stallions Stockade, Faubourg II, Corifi and most recently Just Great (by Worden II) had failed to ‘deliver the goods’. It can be a ruthless business. Numbers count.

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Kia-Ora Stud Dispersal Sales 1959 & 1961

Kia-Ora Stud Dispersal Sales 1959 & 1961

Featured Image: Front Cover Dispersal Sale Catalogue of Kia-Ora Stud, Scone 1959 & Front Cover Dispersal Sale Catalogue of Kia-Ora Stud, Scone 1961

I wrote earlier these sales must have sent shudders throughout the thoroughbred breeding community in not only the Hunter Valley but also NSW and Australia. The two sales represented ‘dispersals’ in different interests of the same property joint ownership. The 1959 sale was under instructions from the Union Trusteeship Company of Australia Limited acting for P F ‘Percy’ Miller. The second 1961 sale was on account of Canara Pty Ltd. Mr Norman Wheeler had ‘bought in’ both ‘Double Bore’ and also ‘Judicate’ (imp) for 2500 Guineas and 9500 Guineas respectively from the 1959 sale. Clearly his intention had been to continue on his own behalf; which resolve lasted for only two years. Five times Champion Sire ‘Delville Wood’ was purchased by near neighbour Ray Bowcock of Alabama Stud for 1200 Guineas at the 1959 sale.

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Tinagroo Stud Dispersal Sale 1957

Tinagroo Stud Dispersal Sale 1957

Mr W H Mackay died in 1956. The mercurial, magnetic and charismatic scion of the hegemonic Mackay clan of the Hunter Valley had enjoyed a full and varied; albeit eccentric and quirky life. Among his many passions which included poetry, polo, piping, pastoral properties, racing, ornithology and ‘romancing’ was thoroughbred breeding. His Tinagroo Stud at Scone was his personal Xanadu. ‘Freckles’ broke the course record at Randwick for 7 furlongs at 1 min 22 secs in 1942. This will stand for all time because the equivalent metric distance is now 1400 metres. Brilliant 2yo ‘Dark Elegance’ was another exceptional product of the stud.

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St Aubins Stud Dispersal Sale 1956

St Aubins Stud Dispersal Sale 1956

Mr W J Smith had diminished his stock by dispersing 61 highly bred brood mares, 12 yearlings and 5 two-year-olds at his reduction sale on the property in May 1951. This led five years later to the complete dispersal of remaining bloodstock on Monday 14th May 1956. 43 mares with foals at foot and 24 dry mares were featured in the catalogue. Foals-at-foot were by resident stallions Near Way*, Hua, Beau Sun or Video. The same stallions had covered all the mares on offer between them. Three stallions; Hua, Near Way* and Video were offered for sale. In addition 14 yearlings were included and five racehorses; making a grand total of 89 lots

A supplementary catalogue of bloodstock comprising nine lots in total was also offered at the sale on Scone Race Course on Tuesday 15 May 1956.

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