Biscay’s Minders

Biscay’s Minder

Featured Image: ‘Biscay’ at age 16 (1981) in his paddock at Bhima Stud. Stud Groom Eric Coombes is ‘showing him off’. “Long gone but not forgotten”.

Eric Coombes looked after Biscay in his first stud season at ‘Baramul’ in 1969. Next year Biscay was relocated to Segenhoe Stud for the 1970 season before his final placement at Bhima where he met up with Eric Coombes again in 1971.

In a letter dated the 15th June 1971 Stanley Wootton wrote to Mr Vivian Bath, Bhima, Scone:

“I am also very glad to learn that you have Eric Coombes with you as one of your top stud grooms. I always thought he was an excellent man, competent and interested in what he was doing”.

Rare praise indeed!

Eric was one of those quiet achievers without any pretence or affectation. He simply went about his job in his own way and in his own time. You could be sure of one thing. The job would be thoroughly well done and carried out to perfection or as near as possible. Several of his brothers also served the industry in their own inimical style. Dave drove for Livestock Transport in Brisbane after a session at Woodlands. Jack worked at Belltrees until retirement. Eric and Iris reared a large family. Eldest daughter Cathy was one of our early ‘babysitters’. Vince (Butcher) and Terry (Shire Council) both lived locally. Vince was a doughty player for the Scone Thoroughbreds RLFC winning several Group 21 Premierships. Biscay will be remembered and revered for several generations. Maybe his ‘minders’ like Eric Coombes and Peter Gleeson will fade quietly into the sunset?

Biscay’s Staggering Early Breeding Statistics

Biscay’s Staggering Early Breeding Statistics

Featured Image: Backstage of Racing by Bert Lillye featuring comments ‘from the horse’s mouth’ on Biscay

The headline in the Spring Edition 1979 of now defunct ‘The Racehorse Owner’ read: “Will Biscay be the one to wear his Sire’s mantle?”.

It was a propitious, percipient, and prescient prediction. The unequivocal answer is indubitably yes. Biscay did not make waves in the industry in his first year of Stud Work. He covered 19 mares at ‘Baramul’ in season 1969. Six (6) of these were exported to the USA in 1970. I accompanied them on their trans-pacific sea journey on the MV ‘Parrakoola’ in July of that year. Zephyr Bay, Bletchingly, Scarlet Kingdom and Tangent were among the products of this first crop. The emphasis was very much on QUALITY, not QUANTITY. Mr S T Wootton was very firm indeed on this premise.

Biscay stood the 1970 season at Segenhoe Stud where he covered 29 mares. Suggest (11 races won including a track record) & Brazen Bay were the two best performing sons of this ‘get’. Biscay was relocated to Bhima Stud in 1971 where he stayed for the remainder of his stud career. In 1971 he covered 34 mares and only 18 in 1972. Blue and Gold (AJC Breeders Plate), Man of Rank (13 wins), Night Charmer (Queensland Guineas), Otehi Bay, Royal Biscay, Gay Biscay and Woodken represented him from the 1971/1972 crops. By this time Biscay had become leading 1st season Sire (1973) and attracted much keen interest although this was still the era when ‘Imp.’ rather than ‘Aus.’ was preferred in any stallion pedigree.

From 1974 Biscay covered full books of mares producing Money Talks, Deep Reflection, Arochan, Naisko and Biscapol. Both Bletchingly and Zephyr Bay had by this time established their credentials with outstanding racetrack performances. The former was later to emerge as champion sire for three consecutive seasons when based at Widden Stud producing Kingston Town, Pilgrims Way, Bakerman, Super Spree, Bet Your Booties and Canny Lad (Golden Slipper). Canny Lad has further franked the Biscay legacy as the sire of the dams of both Redoute’s Choice (Shantha’s Choice) and I Am Invincible (Cannarelle). Biscay’s other outstanding sire son success was dual champion sire and Golden Slipper winner ‘Marscay’ who stood at Widden and was bred by Woodlands.

Footnotes:

Several of Biscay’s Sire Sons suffered infertility problems; some infertile.

The ‘arthritis’ referred to in Bert Lillye’s article was severe navicular disease. Bletchingly also suffered from this infliction and probably Star Kingdom as well? I have in my possession Biscay’s navicular and pedal bones from both his forefeet.

ROSS WILLIAMSON: 1939 – 2022

ROSS WILLIAMSON: 1939 – 2022

Vet Surgeon to the Saudi Royal Family’s racehorses

By Robyn Williamson

May 9, 2022 — 3.50pm

Acknowledge: Obituary: Ross Williamson, veterinary surgeon to Saudi prince’s thoroughbreds (smh.com.au)

Featured Image: Ross Williamson in Mudgee 2021

Having only just farewelled one equine veterinary legend (Dr Patricia Ellis) yet another followed very rapidly. This is a tribute to my late colleague Ross Williamson who similarly pursued a very peripatetic and fascinating professional lifestyle! I duly acknowledge faithful spouse Robyn who I met at Randwick Races all those years ago when both Ross & Robyn were on ‘furlough’ from the Middle East.

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Dr Patricia Ellis AM

Featured Image: Dr Patricia Ellis AM

Occasionally in life one is privileged to meet with contemporary fellow professionals of outstanding merit. Dr Patricia “Trish” Ellis was such a person.

Citation: Patricia Ellis AM University of Melbourne

Acknowledge:

Dr Brian H. Anderson BVSc, MVSc, MS, MACVSc, Diplomate ACVS Registered Specialist in Equine Surgery

Patricia Ellis graduated with First Class Honours in Veterinary Science from the University of Melbourne in 1968 with the Australian Veterinary Association – Victorian Division Prize for best aggregate score in all years of the course and since then has been a trail blazer in the profession and an inspiration to many of her colleagues.

Since graduation, Patricia’s career has been a fine blend of academic achievement, successful private practice in Australia, Ireland and the Middle East, and a long influential stint of public practice. Patricia graduated at a time when women were a small minority of the veterinary profession, however, she was soon recognised more for her intellectual rigour and comprehensive understanding of veterinary science than for her gender.

Time spent in practice in Ireland and in the United Arab Emirates gave Trish an understanding of the political machinations behind international movement of animals and her keen interest in equine medicine soon saw her applying her skills and scientific knowledge in the area of international movement of horses to ensure that while the horses could move, their diseases did not. Patricia has been heavily involved in the horse industry both as a participant and as an equine veterinarian for many years and has been recognised for her service with numerous awards.

She was recognised by the Wakeful Club in 2004 when she received the Jo Miller Award for outstanding contribution to the equine industry and by Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria as the recipient of their Industry Contribution Award in the 2005/6 season.

Patricia has been a leader in the veterinary profession and a cherished mentor for many veterinarians over the course of her career. Patricia was the first woman president of the Australian Equine Veterinary Association in 1992 and her pioneering work as a woman in a male dominated part of the profession was recognised in 2006 with the award of a Belle Bruce Reid Medal for Outstanding Women Veterinary Science Graduates.

The veterinary profession has recognised her achievements by awarding her an AVA Meritorious Service Award, the AEVA Award for Veterinary Excellence, the Equine Veterinarians Australia Award for Services to the Horse Industry. In 2009 Patricia delivered the Pascoe Oration to the annual Equine Veterinary Conference to a standing ovation.

Patricia’s contribution to the Australian horse industry and the Australian veterinary profession were rewarded in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours with the award of the Order of Australia for significant service to veterinary science, particularly through the development of quarantine and biosecurity protocols in the equine industry.

Dr Ellis has always made herself available to give back to the University, the institution which set her on her professional path. Patricia has served on many working parties, advisory committees and she taught undergraduate veterinarians about the horse industry for many years. In addition, Patricia has served her graduating year well as the long-serving liaison with the faculty, organising reunions and keeping our alumni informed about developments at the University and the faculty.

In summary: a veterinarian of the highest professional integrity, who has used her veterinary training to benefit the wider community as well as the profession, Dr Patricia Ellis is a true role model for all veterinarians and is a worthy recipient of the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Science honoris causa.

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Tom Payne Tribute

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/payne-family-of-waverley/

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from Old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses –  he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

It was a classic of cosmic proportion. Well might Banjo Paterson have penned something akin to his epic 1st stanza of “The Man From Snowy River”. Banjo himself would have played polo 120+ years ago against a few of the forebears of those present including MC Anto White and Scone Polo President Duncan Macintyre?

The celebration kicked off at the Scone Polo Club where a memorial plaque was unveiled at the Flagpole. This was an invitation event for family and close friends. Anto White directed operations in his own inimical style. Arthur ‘Joe’ Bragg, John Gilder and Bear Payne delivered homilies laced with humour and fondest reminiscences. A clear pathway of the classic trifecta of ‘Waverley’, ‘Terrigal’ and Polo was soon established.

Adjournment to the ‘Linga Longa’ was a popular sequel to meet up with the main ‘congregation’. Orations were provided by Bill Howey, John Binnie, Katrina ‘Treen’ Payne, Millie Plumptre, Ken MacCallum, Susie Fearon/Payne, Angus Payne and Steve Payne. The latter stole the show with a compassionate masterpiece of construction worthy of publication ‘in his own (w)rite’; as John Lennon might have written? The hospitality at the legendary Gundy Hostelry was predictably munificent. Thank you Brenda ‘Brazie’ Ogilvie and the Payne Family!

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Parkville Piggery & SPEW 1995

Parkville Piggery & SPEW 1995

Featured Image: Acknowledge Getty Images;

“A delegation Lynda Stoner, Judi Coward and Prof. Peter Singer talk with the Piggery manager, Mr. Cliff Thorogood”. It would have been a robust discussion. Cliff was a friend (and client) of mine. They don’t come any tougher or more forthright! Lynda Stoner might have provided stiff competition to the local icon ‘Wingen Maid’?

Animal Liberationists protested outside the Parkville Piggery, just north on Scone. The Piggery is part owned by the PM Paul Keating. Australian actress Lynda Stoner was one of the thirty-three participants at the Parkville intensive piggery action, 1995. On 21 November 1995, thirty-three activists waded through muddy terrain in the jet-black night. This was a very hot political topic of the day. Mr Keatings’ association with Piggery Principal Mr ‘Big Al’ Constantinidis attracted huge coverage in the press of the day. Investigative journalist from the ‘Political Right’ were in a feeding frenzy like never before!

See also: Mr. Hodges at Parkville with the piggery in the background. Piggery is… News Photo – Getty Images

See also: Animal Liberation (organisation) – Wikipedia

Animal Liberation is a non-profit animal rights organisation based in Sydney, Australia, founded by Christine Townend and led by current CEO Lynda Stoner. It was formed in 1976, one year after the release of Animal Liberation by Australian philosopher Peter Singer. Animal Liberation’s primary campaigns are to advocate against the use of animals for food (factory farmed or free range), clothing, research, sport and entertainment, by promoting a vegan lifestyle.

Local farmer Peter Hodges achieved national renown by setting up SPEW: “The Parkville and Scone Environmental Watch” Committee. The main aim of the organisation was to seek assurances that the Kingdon Ponds Catchment which supplies fresh drinking water to Parkville and Scone was not contaminated by piggery effluent. Peter achieved his objectives. The piggery has gone!

George Barratt @ Moonan Flat

George Barratt @ Moonan Flat

Featured Image: Bert Lillye’s article in ‘The Sun Herald’, Dec 9, 1979

There’s little doubt that George Barratt was an ‘unlikely’ resident at Moonan Flat. Even less likely was it that Australia’s leading racing journalist of the day and a ‘Hall of Famer’ Bert Lillye would track him down? Both reckoned without the exquisite detection skills of long-term Scone resident Archie Shepherd. Archie had honed his survival instincts as a Forward Scout at Shaggy Ridge (NE Papua New Guinea) in the epic WWII contest versus Japan in the Pacific arena. ‘Keeping a (betting) book’ was part of the scenery. It was a wartime habit Archie fine-tuned to perfection when back in civvies at Scone. Uncovering the whereabouts of the likes of George Barratt would have been child’s play for Archie? There’s no racetrack at Moonan Flat but there used to be in the halcyon gold mining days of yesteryear. See ‘The Dennison Diggings’ elsewhere in this ‘Blog’. Does anyone remember George Barratt?

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Clovelly Stables @ Scone Equine Hospital & Dr Karon Hoffmann

Clovelly Stables @ Scone Equine Hospital & Dr Karon Hoffmann

Dr Karon Hoffmann BVSc MVSc PhD DipVetClinStud MRCVS Dipl. ECVDI

Featured Image: Dr Karon Hoffman at work at Clovelly Stables, Scone c. 1990

Dr Karon Hoffmann developed her enthusiasm for diagnostic imaging early during her veterinary career as a large animal internist. Her initial posting was almost 30 years ago at Scone Equine Hospital where Karon developed the Neonatal (Foal) Intensive Care Unit. It was one of the very best decisions I ever made in my professional life! “You need a foal care unit Bill and you need me to run it”! Since that time she has pursued both research and clinical expertise in the discipline and has earned both a Master’s degree and PhD in Diagnostic Imaging. Karon has published over 40 scientific articles. She has represented the profession in many roles, including as President of the Australasian Association of Veterinary Imaging and been an invited speaker at many conferences. Karon was a worthy recipient of the CVE Hungerford Award for her holistic contribution to research, teaching and clinical scholarship in large and small animal sonology. Karon is a Diplomate of the European College of Diagnostic Imaging. Karon uses the synergistic nature of routine and advanced diagnostic imaging and interventional procedures to help in the diagnosis and treatment of many complex clinical cases.

See also: Equine Vets – Hospital & ICU: Scone Equine Hospital

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Havelock Ellis

Havelock Ellis

See also: Havelock Ellis – Wikipedia

Henry Havelock Ellis, known as Havelock Ellis (2 February 1859 – 8 July 1939), was a British physician, writer, and social reformer who studied human sexuality. He was co-author of the first medical textbook in English on homosexuality in 1897, and also published works on a variety of sexual practices and inclinations, including transgender psychology. He is credited with introducing the notions of narcissism and autoeroticism, later adopted by psychoanalysis. He served as president of the Galton Institute and, like many intellectuals of his era, supported eugenics.

In April 1875, Ellis sailed on his father’s ship for Australia; soon after his arrival in Sydney, he obtained a position as a master at a private school. After the discovery of his lack of training, he was fired and became a tutor for a family living a few miles from Carcoar. He spent a year there and then obtained a position as a master at a grammar school in Grafton. The headmaster had died and Ellis carried on the school for that year, but was unsuccessful.

At the end of the year, he returned to Sydney and, after three months’ training, was given charge of two government part-time elementary schools, one at Sparkes Creek, near Scone, New South Wales and the other at Junction Creek. He lived at the school house on Sparkes Creek for a year. He wrote in his autobiography, “In Australia, I gained health of body, I attained peace of soul, my life task was revealed to me, I was able to decide on a professional vocation, I became an artist in literature . . . these five points covered the whole activity of my life in the world. Some of them I should doubtless have reached without the aid of the Australian environment, scarcely all, and most of them I could never have achieved so completely if chance had not cast me into the solitude of the Liverpool Range.”

He resolved to return to England and sailed in La Hogue in January 1879. On 27 February he confided in his diary: ‘These three years I have spent in Australia seem to me like those three during which Paul was in Arabia’.

Vale David Bath

Vale David Bath

President Scone Race Club 1984 – 1994

One could mount a strong argument that David Bath was one of; if not the most significant leader at the helm of racing in Scone throughout its various iterations over 180 years (1842 – 2022).

He served as President of Scone Race Club from 1984 – 1994 having succeeded Bill Howey (1978 – 1984). David had inherited ‘Bhima Stud’, Scone which was the home of Star Kingdom’s son ‘Biscay’ as well as other notable sires. During David’s decade at the top Scone Race Club was transformed from its popular although ‘physically restricted’ tenure at White Park (1947 – 1994) to the present exceptional eclectic location at Satur. It was thanks to David’s calm demeanour and firm resolve in managing a testosterone-driven cadre of strong individuals that he was able to hammer home the overall success of the ambitious agenda. He successfully moulded the team to produce the outstanding result members, patrons and the professional racing fraternity appreciate so much today.

David traits include but not limited to being loyal, generous, gentle, gregarious, kind, charitable and unselfish. The Scone Race Club is proud to be able to recognise and acknowledge a truly outstanding leader on Today’s program (Country Championships ‘Consolation’ Sunday 20 March 2022)

WPH