Dr Peter Rossdale has passed away

Dr Peter Rossdale OBE, MA, PhD, Drmedvet(hcBerne), DVMS(hc Edinburgh), DVSc(hc Sydney), FACVSc, DESM, FRCVS

Dr Peter Rossdale visited Scone with spouse Jill when on one of his man Australian visits at the behest of the University of Sydney Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science and the Australian Equine Veterinary Association. He very kindly told me Scone was the only place on the globe other than Newmarket UK that he would like to have been in Equine Veterinary Practice? Maybe he was being polite?  Jill Rossdale bred an outstanding international racehorse by the winner of the 1977 Blue Diamond Stakes  ‘Blazing Saddles’ (Todman/Lady Simone by Wilkes; bred by Jim Fleming @ Stone Lodge, Segenhoe). I think ‘Blazing Saddles was one of the first Australian-bred stallions to ‘shuttle’ to the UK? Jill’s horse might have been ‘Mr Brooks (GB)’ [Blazing Saddles ex Double Finesse GB by Double Jump GB] who raced in both Europe and the USA where he met his fate on the racetrack; possibly in Florida? Peter and Jill also had a son who spent time @ Bob Watson’s ‘Roseneath Stud’, Cobbitty on a ‘gap year’ at the behest of ex-AEVA Treasurer and Keeneland USA representative Professor Rex Butterfield.

Dr Peter Rossdale has passed away

Dear EVA Past Presidents,

You will be sad to learn that Dr Peter Rossdale OBE, MA, PhD, Drmedvet(hcBerne), DVMS(hc Edinburgh), DVSc(hc Sydney), FACVSc, DESM, FRCVS, has passed away. Dr Rossdale was in his 90s. From the Team Page at Rossdales

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The Path to Glory ‘Riding the Olympic Rings’

The Path to Glory

‘Riding the Olympic Rings’ by Zoe Lackey

The Australian Stock Horse Journal – November/December 2000

“We’re all off to the stadium now,

We’re all gonna show them how…”

The Rider’s Anthem, led by the vocal Stewart Booth and created by a talented team of individuals could be heard echoing around P4 carpark and through the tunnels of Stadium Australia. It reflected the confidence and focus of the group from “the bush and scrub” united for the sole purpose of the Sydney Olympic Games.

They had come a long way from since the first Boot Camp held at Scone from 10th – 12th March when Sergeant Don Eyb (later dubbed “the Don”) and Tony Jablonski were confronted by a motley mob full of curiosity and a touch of trepidation. Darrel Clifford made his mark as Camp Boss, directing parking, issuing panels and keeping the strays in line. Fiona Wallis and her many helpers answered questions, filled out forms and dished out meal tickets.

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Directing a Moment in History: Senior Sergeant Don Eyb, Commander NSW Mounted Police Unit

Directing a Moment in History: Senior Sergeant Don Eyb, Commander NSW Mounted Police Unit

‘The Australian Stock Horse Journal’ – September/October 2000

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/sydney-olympic-games-opening-ceremony-2000/

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/australia-on-horseback-at-sydney-olympic-games-2000/

Featured Image:

Author’s Note: I live in Scone, have enjoyed a longstanding association with the Australian Stock Horse Society since inception (1971) and yet I knew nothing of this totemic event which rightfully captured and transfixed global attention at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony 2000! I was aware that ASHS General Manager and Scone Shire Council Councillor Brian Brown had zealously pursued the rights with SOCOG 2000 for Australian Horses be included in the great celebration. Everyone was. Brian was his own best self-promotor. He succeeded beyond his and our wildest dreams! His successor Steve Guihot was his antithesis. Steve could keep a secret! I never knew the ASHS riders were training in Scone; although I knew several of them?

At about the same time (1997) I’d assumed my modest role as Councillor (Veterinary & Horse Committees) with the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales. We run the annual Sydney Royal Easter Show. Senior Sergeant Don Eyb was Commander of the NSW Mounted Police Unit. It was his annual obligation to produce the NSW Mounted Police Musical Ride at each SRES. It’s one of the perpetually popular major ring events every year. I think it’s also the very best public relations exercise the NSW Police Force has! I only learned later of Don’s exceptional triumph at Olympic Park; and not from him! He was yet another inconspicuous champion in the ‘Modesty Stakes’! It’s my view Senior Sergeant Don Eyb was the ‘clandestine’ hero of the Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Directing a Moment in History

Just imagine being asked to choreograph and direct 120 horse and riders who are to perform the official welcome in the opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. An event staged before 110,000 people (‘I was there’), with another three and a half billion watching around the world. It was a moment in history.

Commander of the NSW Mounted Police Unit Senior Sergeant Don Eyb was handed the job in January (2000), when he was asked by SOCOG, and Horsemaster Tony Jablonsky, to train and co-ordinate the first segment of the Opening Ceremony.

Senior Sergeant Don Eyb was asked because he was the only person in NSW known to have experience in training large numbers of horses. According to Senior Sergeant Don Eyb, it was the most nerve-racking experience of his life!

Opening ceremony organisers Ric Birch and Ignatius Jones had a basic concept, with the riders bringing in the Olympic Flag, staying for the National Anthem and then taking out the Australian Flag – as well as performing the Olympic Rings. The rest was up to Senior Sergeant Don Eyb.

“I had to devise a practical routine which all the horses could manage,” Sergeant Don Eyb said.

“The first object was to get the volunteer riders to work as a team. Most of them didn’t know each other. Both men and women had come from all walks of life.”

Training for the riders began with learning a mounted troop drill. The group was then introduced to the element of music and the flags.

“Each time we rehearsed there were slight improvements. Horses are creatures of habit and love repetition, so they naturally got better.”

Throughout the performance, Sergeant Eyb was constantly talking to the riders via radio microphones to earpieces hidden beneath the riders’ hats, to help them control their nerves and focus on the job.

“It was a tremendous effort by the riders and support staff, to travel such distances and to put in the necessary time. I was so proud and relieved when it was over. It’s the biggest thig I’ll ever have to do,” Sergeant Eyb said.

“When we started, most of the riders didn’t know each other. When it was over, it was like we were one big family. We’ve all realised we were an important part of history, which has bonded us together.”

The act has created a world record – by using 120 horses, the 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony has made the Guinness Book of World Records in the category of the most horse used in a public display. This surpasses a previous display in the United States, when 80 horses were used.

A reunion of the riders has already been planned for September 2001, and again in 2004 to coincide with the Athens Olympics.

Wallabadah Races Canned for Good

Wallabadah Races Canned for Good

Author’s Prelude (WPH):

We could see it coming. Another one ‘bites the dust’. Others will follow. Some will say this is more ‘WOKE’ in action. Others will see it as responsible industry governance with human/animal safety and welfare paramount.

Featured Image: Horses enter the straight during the 2016 running of the Wallabadah Cup.(ABC News: Lisa Herbert)

End of an era: Wallabadah races canned for good

By Jeff Hanson

November 27, 2021

See: End of an era: Wallabadah races canned for good – NSW Country and Picnic Racing

See also: 161 years of bush racing at Wallabadah – ABC News

See also: Australia’s oldest country race meet anticipates great conditions for 164th running of the Wallabadah Cup – ABC News

Fundamental Question: ‘Will Merriwa be next’?

Wallabadah Jockey Club will not race again. Photo: Northern Daily Leader.

The Wallabadah Jockey Club has been part and parcel of the North West racing scene since 1852 and claim to be the oldest country racing track in Australia.

On the eve of their 170th anniversary meeting that was scheduled for January 1 2022, the club recently announced that they would not be hosting any more meetings, stating that their track did not meet Racing NSW standards.

In an interview with Prime7 News North West, Club representative Tim Mackie said it was the undulating nature of the unique Wallabadah course that led Racing NSW to make the tough decision.

“If anyone has been here, they know what the up-hill, down-hill nature of the track is and due to that, country racing have had to make a decision,” Mackie said.

The country course has a nine-metre decline from its peak to the home straight, and according to the Prime7 News report, the NSW Jockey’s Association told racing NSW that jockeys were ‘reluctant to return’, which prompted an investigation by Racing NSW stewards that led to the track being deemed not suitable for ‘horse and rider’.

Wallabadah races in the early 1930s.

Mackie said it was disappointing to lose so much history, with Wallabadah considered the oldest country racing club in Australia, but he understood that the safety of jockeys and horses was Racing NSW’s main concern.

“This race meeting, in my opinion, has been a flag bearer for the history of horse racing and it’s unfortunate that it has come to this,” Mackie said.

“But we live in the modern world where workplace health and safety is paramount.”

NSW Country and Picnic Racing unsuccessfully reached out to Racing NSW for comment regarding the closure of Wallabadah.

The Wallabadah New Year’s Day meeting has since been moved to Tamworth. Continue reading →

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 eb 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’

See: https://hunterrivertimes.com.au/index.php/2021/10/07/message-from-local-resident-gerry/

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: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/the-pilgrim-the-major-and-the-spouse/

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.