Gainsborough Lodge Dispersal Sale 1977
Just as the Kia Ora Stud Dispersal Sale had in NSW in 1961 so must the Gainsborough Lodge Dispersal Sale in 1977 have ‘sent shivers through the thoroughbred breeding industry’; in the latter case essentially in Queensland. The sale featured 273 thoroughbreds including 161 mares, 3 yearlings, 106 weanlings and three stallions: Beau Brummel (USA), Charlton and Rock Roi.
Local, State, National and even International ‘bull market’ economic conditions spawn new breeds of entrepreneurs in any age. They are sorely needed. Alfred Grant was such a person and elected to invest some of his development and real estate fortune in his dream: a ‘state-of-the-art’ thoroughbred breeding enterprise on the Darling Downs. He called it Gainsborough Lodge. It was definitely cutting edge and top flight for the era; or whatever corny cliché you care to choose. Nonetheless the prevailing economy turned ‘vicious’ and an inevitable liquidation sale ensued.
I attended the sale; with thousands of others! I had delusions of grandeur myself. Recently married I/we owned a couple of broodmares, a small farm and a share in the recently retired stallion “Bletchingly’. There was actually a lot of confidence in the industry at the time despite the forced sale. Spouse Sarah, a much better judge than me, had picked out two lots which we thought would be the foundation of a brilliant new thoroughbred breeding venture. They were NZ bred mares ‘Agronomist’ (Lot 158) and ‘Setaria’ (Lot 86). Full sisters by Agricola ex Marib (by Sabaean) both were in foal to early services by Beau Brummel. All fired up we couldn’t fail. We did. We didn’t even raise a bid; ‘Setaria’ was knocked down to Colin McAlpine of ‘Eureka Stud’ for $21,000:00 and ‘Agronimist’ to local breeder Gordon MacNicol for $26,000:00. The opening bid in each case was too hot for us in a very hot market indeed. This is often the case with ‘real’ dispersals and was the story of the two days of fierce competition.
Years later we were able to purchase another full sister ‘Turua’ in foal for the more modest sum of $3000:00. That’s more like it! Turua was the dam of Biscay filly ‘Aquilina’ who won two races for us.