Thoroughbred Hotel’s New Chapter

Thoroughbred Hotel’s New Chapter

Acknowledge: The Scone Advocate Thursday August 25 2016 by Caitlin Andrews

Featured Image: Front Cover of ‘The Scone Advocate’ Thursday August 25 2016


The Thoroughbred Hotel will soon open its doors to a new beginning,

Previously known as one of the ‘quieter locals’, it’s soon to be quite the opposite with big plans to re-establish the building as a prominent social attraction in Scone.

With the new branding and a serious facelift, The Thoroughbred will provide the local area with a high-quality bakery, upmarket restaurant, bar and accommodation facilities,

Peter Allen, a Victorian-based business developer, saw the opportunity on a previous employment stint within Scone, and given the prime location of the building and ample off street parking, thought that the venue presented the perfect opportunity to provide the area with what it has been missing.

“I has always liked the township of Scone and thought that this would be a fantastic opportunity as every small town needs a good bakery,” Mr Allen said.

“The building hold a lot of its original appeal and has quite a presence in the main street, so it will be nice to see it restored into some of its former glory and hopefully see it eventuate as an iconic venue within the town.”

In addition to the development, Mr Allen has taken a unique path with the interior design and marketing of the business, utilising the opportunity and sticking with the theme of the building by planning to showcase the local racing and breeding history, past and present.

“We have started working with a few local racing and breeding icons and also stud farms to gather as much imagery and memorabilia as possible to showcase throughout the building”, he said.

“With so many visitors to the area from all over the world visiting local farms and for major events, we thought it would be a great opportunity to capitalise on the Thoroughbred market and give th local area something to be excited about.

“We are of course the Horse Capital of Australia [and] we really want this to be a niche venue for them to visit.

“Not only a nice place to have a bite to eat or stay a night, but rather a place that gives them an insight into the proud local history that makes this area what it is today.”

One particular local legend, Bill Howey, has been assisting Mr Allen and local design consultant Kriston Harris with the project.

The connection came at impeccable timing, coinciding with Mr Howey’s recent launching of his new book: A History of Thoroughbred Breeding in the Hunter Valley. The book, which Mr Howey describes as a compilation targeting the more recent generation, will be a key reference source for the new venture.

Scone Princess @ Hollywood Park II

Featured Image: 1969 STC Golden Slipper Princess Miss Jean McPherson of Scone greets ‘Dagmar’s Boy’ after the latter won the $15,000:00 Sydney Golden Slipper Purse @ Hollywood Park in 1969.

See also: Scone Princess @ Hollywood Park I

Jean was an outstanding ambassador for the Scone Race Club, the Sydney Turf Club and as an overseas emissary of racing. She won the inaugural title at Scone from a strong field of candidates. She carried this right through the gambit meeting both ‘Vain’ (1969 Golden Slipper victor) and Phyllis Diller (USA  stage star) at Rosehill. She was not out of place with the Hollywood Park ‘Golden Goose Girl’ in Los Angeles!

Scone Princess @ Hollywood Park I

Featured Image: Jean McPherson checks ‘correct weight’ of Ismael Valenzuela after the latter won narrowly at the famous American Race Track ‘Hollywood Park’

Local Scone identity Jean McPherson was the very first STC Golden Slipper Princess ‘crowned’ at Rosehill Races in 1969. Part of the fabulous winning prize was a world trip including a visit to the famed Hollywood Park Race Track in Los Angeles CA.

There are a number of reasons why this will not happen again? Although Jean is still ‘going strong’ and living in Forbes NSW the Sydney Turf Club no longer exists and neither does the concept of the Golden Slipper Princess. In addition Hollywood Park was sold off for commercial development many years ago and racing there is a ‘figment of the past’. I’m not sure of the whereabouts of Ismael Valenzuela?

ANZAC Day @ ‘Tinagroo’

ANZAC Day @ ‘Tinagroo’

Featured image: The ‘march past’ in the gardens @ Tinagroo by the Cardiff RSL Pipe Band; Ken Smith is banging the big drum. Sarah and I were married under the tree on the lawn behind the band and the ‘Marching Koalas’ on 26th April 1975. This is of course the day after ANZAC Day. One of the band from the Cardiff RSL team stayed behind one extra day to star as the ‘Lone Piper’ at our wedding.

The younger ‘kilted’ acolytes are Kirsty Howey, Hugh Howey (‘products’ of above), Scott Davies and Henry Davies. The year was roughly 1982?

The ANZAC tradition was rigidly observed and richly enhanced every year at ‘Tinagroo’ homestead. Owner/grazier Bob Mackay was patron of the band while Murray Bain was the equivalent titular head of the City of Newcastle Pipe Band. It was the tradition then for the visiting band to assemble on ANZAC eve at the Scone RSL Club where they were all billeted for the night. It was a risky plan! An early start was made for the 6:00am dawn service at the Lone Pine cenotaph. Squealing pipes and pounding drums were no help to acute, per-acute and chronic hangovers! The Gundy Service and March were next on the agenda at 9:00am when breakfast was served for the stoical champions with staunch resilience. The Scone Service and March to the War Memorial in Kelly Street was timed for mid-morning by which time some tongues were hanging out! The rest of the day was given over to assembly @ Tinagroo homestead where the hospitality was traditionally lavish. Ponty Mackay always managed to produce a quality meal of gigantic proportions. It was great day out for the gourmands as well as the gourmets! Athol Brose and Triple Malt Scotch assuaged the palate of the ‘true believers’. By late evening everyone was happy when the designated drivers took over for the long haul back to Newcastle. On one infamous occasion ‘Black Douglas’ failed to make it ‘over and out’ of Thompson’s Creek!

Like many such noble traditions this seminal event died with the inexorable passage of time and the demise of the principal players; on both sides. ANZAC Day @ Tinagroo is consigned to the realms of history together with its prime protagonists. We are that much poorer for their passing.

Message from Local Resident Gerry Harvey

Message from Local Resident Gerry Harvey

Gratefully acknowledge Di Sneddon & ‘The Hunter Valley Times’


Foreword (WPH):

It’s exactly 54 years since I arrived in the Upper Hunter Valley from a far different and very distant place. Over a long, long week end in early October 1967 I traversed the globe from NW Ireland, Northumberland, London, USA (Boston, Washington, San Francisco), Trans Pacific (Honolulu, Fiji, Auckland NZ) to Sydney via Brisbane on to Scone. On the very first day with my new employer I was taken to ‘Baramul’ in the Widden Valley. It was then owned by Sydney Solicitor A O Ellison. I distinctly recall it as a ‘magical mystery tour’ even to this day. I thought it was the most unspoiled and physically stunning location I had ever seen in my limited lifespan. I still think so; as do Gerry Harvey and Di Sneddon! Thank you both for sharing this moving tribute. I have never met Gerry Harvey. I may be mistaken but I think one of the very first thoroughbreds acquired by this most leviathan of owners was a filly called ‘Selsey’? She was bred and raised by the late Stanley Wootton; also at ‘Baramul’.

Also on this website I have paid tribute to ‘Baramul’ in many different formats including:

Also in ‘Blogs’

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‘Joannina’ Wins at Scone

‘Joannina’ Wins at Scone

Featured Image: Hunter Valley News report ‘Favourites Prevail at Scone’.

See also:

Iconic fictional racing author Dick Francis stated presciently in one of his many popular books ‘Breeders are dreamers of dreams’. He was so right! With the success of Bletchingly firmly established our local trifecta of Pat Farrell, Hilton Cope plus the author were supremely confident that their combined part-purchase (60%) of his first-crop sprinting star Pilgrim’s Way would further embellish the trail of gold! The latter was Bletchingly’s first sire son to go to stud. His lucky co-owners were breeder Tiggy Moses, Wallace Munro and Murray Cole who retained 40%. We had the right stud: ‘Yarraman Park’.

Alas the alchemy did not work out to perfection? While no failure Pilgrim’s Way was a modest success at best. His first winner is featured in the image above. Sarah and I selected ‘Joannina’s dam ‘Mellessini’ (Convamore/Farsak II) as a yearling and were able to purchase her at a manageable price. She was from the famous ‘Sappho’ family so beloved by F K ‘Darby’ Mackay. Significantly her only win was the First Division of a 1000m Maiden at Scone. Things pretty much stayed that way.

We actually also bred the record-winning (number of races won) progeny of ‘Pilgrim’s Way’. ‘California Express’ was out of ‘Beyond All’, a close relation on ‘Lowland’ and won 28 races; admittedly mainly on the Queensland Country and Provincial circuits. It’s still a lot of wins! He was a three-quarter brother in blood to our record breaking yearling colt Bletchingly/Beyond All ($105,000:00) who raced as ‘Norseman’ and succeeded in a winter mid-week race at Canterbury when trained by T J Smith.

Thoroughbred Breeding Statistics from 1981 (‘40 Years On’)

Thoroughbred Breeding Statistics from 1981 (‘40 Years On’)

Featured Image: The Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association of Australia News Bulletin September 1981

The Leading Sires List (1981) was a great triumph for the local (Australian bred) sires. Five of the top 10 seven were bred in Australia. The list again showed the dominance of the Star Kingdom blood.

The leading sire was Bletchingly who was also leading sire in 1980. This is a remarkable record for a sire with only three crops racing. He had 35 winners of 92 races and $623,000:00. It helped that top earner Kingston Town won 4 Stakes Races (MVRC Cox Plate, AJC Warwick Stakes, STC Sydney Turf Club Cup and Tatts Chelmsford Stakes) plus a second and a third from 5 starts and $212,325:00. A horse I bred ‘Bakerman’ (ex-Breadline by Honey Line IRE) won 5 races in Brisbane including the BATC King George VI Stakes and $34,500:00. ‘Super Spree’ (Ex-Royal Lark) by Comic Court) won 8 races and $48,300:00. Kingston Town’s full brother ‘Private Thoughts’ won 3 ½ races in Sydney and Brisbane including the QTC XXXX Quality Handicap and $32,450:00.

Second leading sire was Kaoru Star. He had 50 winners of 112 races and $607,543:00. His best was ‘Full On Aces’ (Colt ex-Better Draw by Better Boy), winner of the AJC Sires Produce Stakes, VRC Sires Produce Stakes, STC Golden Slipper Stakes , 2 seconds and a third from 7 starts and $227,150:00. Kaoru Star was also Leading Sire of Two-Year-Old Winners featuring ‘Full On Aces’ having previously won in 1976-77 year when represented by champion Luskin Star.

Vain (Widden Stud) was fourth on the General Sires List with 57 winners of 139 races and $492,718:00. Planer Kingdom finished fifth with 37 winners of 67 races and $490,606:00.

Osmunda finished second on the Two-Year-Old Winners list with 9 winners of 14 races and $183,510:00. ‘Black Shoes’ was his best ‘get’ who won four races including the VATC Blue Diamond Stakes, AJC Gimcrack Stakes and STC Silver Slipper Stakes for $129,500:00.

The 2020/2021 statistics are as follows:


1 Written Tycoon 379 193 313 12 17 $17,035,983 Ole Kirk, $1,989,050
2 I Am Invincible 358 208 335 12 17 $15,741,201 Libertini, $944,000
3 Not a Single Doubt 236 103 150 8 10 $15,639,605 Classique Legend, $7,132,000
4 Snitzel 319 161 245 13 18 $14,281,120 Wild Ruler, $1,205,200
5 So You Think 266 133 230 12 18 $13,910,170 Think it Over, $1,344,000
6 Fastnet Rock 228 111 177 14 16 $12,316,954 Personal, $1,041,250
7 Zoustar 247 142 217 12 15 $12,295,285 Zoutori, $1,248,000
8 Sebring 330 149 222 10 11 $11,126,586 Nettoyer, $978,000
9 Exceed and Excel 200 99 148 7 10 $10,664,035 Bivouac, $3,452,600
10 All Too Hard 276 138 242 5 11 $10,041,066 Behemoth, $1,751,640

Coquetdale Home Guard FC 1944

Coquetdale Home Guard FC 1944

Featured Image: Coquetdale Home Guard Football Club 1944

See also Howey Family History on this website: and

This would have been a major event at the time. The players were all from the local district and the selected team made up by those who were exempt from National Service during WWII. Most were from the elder cohort of their generation and involved in essential services which included farming and agricultural pursuits. The provision of adequate home grown food was pivotal to success during the extreme exigencies of the war effort both for serving troops and incarcerated urban civilian populations. They included my late father John Howey of East Hepple Farm who was ‘Manager’ of the team. He was 40 years old and had enlisted at the beginning of WWII before being demobilised after 6 months service and sent back to the farm. Edwin Howey of West Hepple Farm who supplied this reference was in the same category.

I actually do remember many of the players. The three Wood brothers Matt, Jim and Alec were related to Eliza Rogerson who worked at both East Hepple and Warton. Dennis Davy was from Warton or a neighbouring farm nearer Thropton. Archie Scott achieved a measure of enduring fame as the trainer of Waterloo Cup Winning (Live Coursing) Greyhound ‘Holystone Lifelong’ at Aintree in 1953. The winner was owned and bred by Major Gus Renwick of Holystone Grange for whom Archie later worked when living at Holystone. It’s a very ‘Coquetdale’ line-up so redolent of the times.