Q & A with Dr Percy Sykes

Q & A with Dr Percy Sykes

by Mandy Logan | Oct 22, 2021 | 2012-2014

1st November 2005

Gratefully acknowledge Mandy Logan & Dr Michael Robinson

See: Q & A with Dr Percy Sykes – Logan Insurance (horseinsurance.com.au)

Featured Image: Racing vet Dr Percy Sykes examines Golden Slipper hopeful Nassau at Rosehill in 1980. CREDIT: JOHN O’GREADY

See: https://www.smh.com.au/sport/racing/master-vet-percy-sykes-dead-at-93-20140114-30ros.html


Courtesy of Racetrack Magazine and Dr Michael Robinson of Randwick Equine Centre

Few people have had as far-reaching influence on horse racing in this country as Dr Percy Sykes.  The 85-year-old veterinarian began practice in Sydney in 1951, establishing P.E. Sykes & Partners (now the Randwick Equine Centre) out of his house near Canterbury Racetrack.  Over the past fifty years Sykes has been associated with most of the leading trainers and champion racehorses.  His career-spanning association with trainers such as the late T.J. Smith, and his daughter Gai Waterhouse, and Bart Cummings is legendary.

Dr Sykes has been responsible for many of the major advancements in equine veterinary racetrack practice of the modern era; including the feeding of “high octane” feed rations, the introduction of feed supplements, blood counts, standing castrations and even the use of penicillin in the horse.

Dr Sykes was the founder, and is still the principal technical advisor, of Ranvet, the first company to manufacture nutraceuticals and other medications specifically for the performance horse.  He maintains his consultancy to the Randwick Equine Centre and is still to be seen at the Centre on most days.  In addition, he is associated with the highly successful Arrowfield Stud.  Sykes was awarded an Order of Australia in 2003 for his contribution to racing.

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See: The Golden Slipper – A Breeders’ Dream – Logan Insurance (horseinsurance.com.au)

by Mandy Logan | Oct 22, 2021 | 2012-2014

28th September 2005

Featured Image: SIR DAPPER (Aus) B c 1980, Vain – Sikri (NZ). Ron Quinton up.18 starts, 13 wins, 4 placings. Champion 3yo of 1983/84. Winner 1983 STC Golden Slipper Stakes, AJC Spring Champion Stakes, VATC Caulfield Guineas, etc. The best foal of his dam, he himself sired the winners Dapper Magic, Dapples etc.

Foreword (WPH)

I was thrilled to discover this encomium. Thank you both Mandy Logan and Graham Orr both of whom I count as long-term friends in the industry. Dan Buffier was one of the most astute stud masters I was privileged to know; except at 2:30am on an icy August midwinters night attending a foaling operation @ ‘Wingarra’! It was a round trip of c. 6 hours from Scone via the old Bylong tunnel before Geoff White fixed it up. I arrived back in Scone @ 6:00am; just in time to start work in the dark old days!

I bought my first mare ‘Breadline’ (‘Honeyline’ ex ‘Bertha’) for $1000:00 from trainer Alf Marks in the Scone RSL Club in c. 1970. She had Dan Buffier’s distinctive brand DB on her left shoulder. Sent to Bletchingly I bred stakes winner ‘Bakerman’ and his full brother ‘Nioka Prince’. They were good days; and profitable too!

The late Dan Buffier was a third generation Aussie and one of the most respected breeders in a great era in the history of the thoroughbred industry.

Just before he died, well-known thoroughbred identity Graham Orr wrote this (edited) article about the great man.

You might wonder what the article has to do with insurance, here’s why; Dan Buffier was a long-time client of Logans, insuring many of his famous horses and at one time winning a Breeders’ Bonus when in 1982 Sir Dapper won a Triple Crown Series for 3-year-olds. This $100,000 Bonus was insured by Logans.

Dan was a great “tail” man, always lifting and checking the strength of a horse’s tail before he made a purchase.

This is a story which “fits” any era; Dan’s stallion selection policy, steroids in yearlings, 2-year-old racing; it is also a trip down memory lane – now read on…

Ask most expert breeding men and women and they will quickly tell you – Buffier is a name which is intrinsically tied to the ‘Slipper’. Yes, he’s the man who bred two Golden Slipper winners – Birthday Card (1962) and Sir Dapper (1983).

This is the story of the third generation Aussie/Franco `nobleman’ – Dan Buffier one of the most respected breeders of our era, yet a man who shunned the limelight throughout his life.

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‘Savabeel’ Rising Star

‘Savabeel’ Rising Star

Featured Image: SAVABEEL (AUS)


Race Record: 3rd – Salinger Champagne Stakes (1600) Gr.1

See: https://www.breednet.com.au/sire-tables/

Perusing the Sires Premierships Tables (as I do several times a day) I’m struck by the rise-and-rise of NZ based-based super star ‘Savabeel’. His success in his homeland has been exceptional. He’s just enjoyed a stellar Saturday (01/04/2023) in Australian racing with outstanding victories by his progeny in the Group I Races @ Royal Randwick:  ‘I Wish I Win’ $3 million T J Smith Stakes (1200m) & ‘Major Beel’ in the $2 million ATC Derby (2400m). This is an extraordinary double by any measure of achievement. They propelled ‘Savabeel’ to the No. 2 position on the Australian General Sires List with earnings of $15,270,073 second only to ‘I Am Invincible’ with $17,618,318. We are just 2/3 of the way through the racing calendar 2022/2023 but a high placing is assured. I seriously doubt any of our homebred sires in recent times could produce two Group I winners on the same day over distances of 1200m and 2400m? Some of our major races at 1800m and beyond have either very few or occasionally NO local-breds competing!

Postscript: The hot ‘Savabeel’ form was fully franked in the $1 million ‘Coolmore Legacy’ 1600m with the victory of ‘Atishu’ 5 year old Mare (Savabeel ex Posy NZ) = $580,000:00 first prize. It propels ‘Savabeel’ to a clear 2nd. on the General Sires List.

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Scone Triumphant in Trump’s Florida Heart Land

Scone Triumphant in Trump’s Florida Heart Land

See: https://www.uspolo.org/news-social/news/from-one-cambiaso-to-the-next-scone-steals-gauntlet-spotlight-with-uspa-gold-cup-victory

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/scone-wins-2019-cartier-queens-cup/ 

Featured Image:

2023 USPA Gold Cup Champions: Scone – Tomas Panelo, Poroto Cambiaso, Cody Ellis, David Paradice, David ‘Pelon’ Stirling. Presented by USPA Chairman Stewart Armstrong.

While ex-President Donald Trump has been having a difficult time recently at his Florida home ‘Mar-a-Lago’ Scone local David Paradice has been making merry at USPA ‘Gauntlet of Polo’ nearby. This adds further cachet to his earlier victory in the Gold Cup at Windsor Great Park in the presence of QE II. David is very firmly promoting the name Scone on the global Polo map. Nominative determinism? Videos of the on-field action reminded me of the movie ‘Pretty Women’ with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts; especially Julia Roberts! I wonder Donald trump didn’t think of that?

I was playing a few palliative hands of Contract Bridge with David’s nonagenarian mother Mrs Bobbie Paradice at our ‘Geraldton’ home while her third son (David) was strutting his stuff USA style. She made no mention of it. My response to her forcing bid of ‘2 no-trumps’ was paramount. I’ve just realised the exquisite piquancy of the TRUMP reference! Today (01/04/2023) an SMH journalist referred to the ‘inexplicable insanity’ of the Trump Dynasty. I think I also failed in my contract bridge retort. We ended up with an ‘impossible’ no-trump contract! David did rather better.

I don’t think I know the Cambiasos? Should I?