HVBHBA First Annual Scone Sale 1979
Featured Image: Front Cover First Annual Scone Sale 1979
In the late 1970s a series of well-attended and enthusiastic meetings of thoroughbred breeders were convened in Scone. In mid-1978 the Rules of The Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association of Australia, New South Wales Division, Hunter Valley Branch were formally adopted.
Rule 3 states:
The objects (sic) for which the Branch is formed are:
(a). To promote and advance the interest of the Breeders of the Bloodhorse in the Hunter Valley district.
(b). To regulate or assist in regulating the days of sale, order of sale and procedure in connection with the Hunter Valley Branch Yearling Sale or Hunter Valley Branch Sales.
(c). To co-operate with and assist all other divisions and Branches of the Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association of Australia.
The inaugural committee elected in Scone to implement these objectives included the following: Peter Hodgson (Chamorel Park), Jack Sheppard (Gyarran), John Harris (Holbrook), ‘Bim’ Thompson (Widden), John Kelso (Timor Creek), James Mitchell (Yarraman Park), David Bath (Bhima), David Casben (Yarramalong), Peter Morris (Woodlands D-KR), Hilton Cope (Kelvinside), Betty Shepherd (Trevors), John Clift (Kia Ora), Ray Gooley and Bill Howey (Veterinarians). Their success or failure may be judged against today’s values.
Among many of the early deliberations were the promotion of racing at Muswellbrook, sales at Scone, co-operative buying groups for goods and services and a ‘black list’ of bad debtors! The legal profession under current legislation might have discovered fertile territory had some of these come to fruition?
Perhaps the major early significant achievement was the promotion of the First Annual Yearling Sale, White Park Racecourse, on Sunday 4th March 1979 at which 204 lots were catalogued. There was a BBQ and parade of yearlings at 6.30 p.m. on Saturday 3rd March 1979. This followed the Denman Race Club Meeting at Skellatar Park, which was sponsored by the HVBHBA with the Upper Hunter Breeders Improvers Handicap (fillies and Mares), 1200m., $1000 prize money with a Winners Trophy of $200 and Breeders Trophy of $100. The programme featured six races with total prize money of $6400:00 and trophies $700:00. Woodlands Stud (1200 M Juvenile Handicap $2000:00 plus $200:00 trophy), Balfour Stud (Handicap 1400 M $1000:00 plus trophy $100:00) and Yarraman Park Stud (Improvers Handicap 1400 M $800:00) were also major sponsors on the day. First race was a Maiden Handicap of 1000 M for $800:00.
The sale was officially opened by media personality Mike Willesee who purchased his first yearling, Lot 115, the Chestnut Colt by Coolness ex. Liquid Fire consigned by the Holbrook Partnership, Widden Valley. The liquor licensing laws of the period demanded that on Sunday, alcoholic beverages and refreshment could only be provided by ‘committee’ from the minute bar at the Scone Race Club. There were some very interesting accounts and ‘shouts’ from that arrangement which the combined tyrannies of time and distance fortuitously prevent accurate recall and/or redress!?! It was measure of the calibre of the man that ‘Bim’ Thompson voluntarily elected to vacate some of his ‘choice’ boxes on course to accommodate well-presented yearlings consigned by Sledmere Stud who had been allocated the less favourable tie-up stalls. Would this be likely to happen today?