The history of thoroughbred breeding in the Upper Hunter Valley dates back to the very early days of settlement with the importation of the TB Stallion ‘Crawford’ to Potter Macqueen’s Segenhoe Stud in 1826. Since then there has been an expanding continuum.
In the early 21st century the valley is acknowledged as one of the premier TB breeding areas of the world comparing favourably with both Newmarket UK and Kentucky USA. There have been a number of iterations when one area of the valley or another has reigned supreme. Broadly speaking the region has been divided into at least three geographical clusters: Denman and environs including Widden, Bylong and Baerami Valleys plus Jerrys Plains, Muswellbrook and district, Scone and region with Merriwa and also latterly the Murrurundi/Timor precinct.
It might be reasonable to argue that the TB enterprises were gradually squeezed northwards by the encroaching coal mining industry from earlier establishments in the lower Hunter Valley; especially around Maitland. Remarkably the ‘mud map’ of thoroughbred studs in 1900 very closely resembles that for 2016 with ownership the only issue. There is one notable exception: Widden Stud.
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