Oakleigh Stud Dispersal Sale 1973
Mr Tom Flynn had enjoyed a very good innings. His was a most successful venture into thoroughbred breeding in the totemic Widden Valley. The Flynn family had established a highly profitable milk vending business in outer West Sydney. This enabled Tom to exploit his dream with the purchase of ‘Joe’s Paddock’ which he renamed Oakleigh Stud. It was run by his son Ross, daughter-in-law Vass and grandsons Len and John. Oakleigh was immediately adjacent to ‘Baramul’; the home of legendary champion sire Star Kingdom. The Harris family were close neighbours on the other side at ‘Holbrook’. However things started to go awry in the late 1960s. Established sires Red Gauntlet (imp) and Gaul (imp) were showing signs of below average fertility with advancing age. Chronic Rattles in foals was a persistent ‘fly in the ointment’. Also Tom could be a tad tyrannical at times? Tom thought he’d had enough by 1972/1973. This activated his decision to ‘sell out’ in 1973.
Oakleigh was another location where I had ‘honed my early skills’. I recall watching the 1967 Melbourne Cup in the lounge room at Oakleigh. Roy Higgins won on ‘Red Handed’. You could only just make them out through the ‘snow storm’ on the vintage TV set. I became a firm friend of the family. Many years later I was able to repay some of their kindness, generosity and hospitality. Sixty eight mares, several with foals at foot plus resident stallions Red Gauntlet (imp), Regal Light (imp) and Seventh Hussar (imp) were dispersed at Newmarket Stables, Randwick on Tuesday 1st May 1973.
The three stallions realised a total of $149,000:00; Red Gauntlet $71,000:00 to Brian Courtney, Seventh Hussar $60,000:00 to Ray Somers and Regal Light $18,000:00 to D Uren. The 68 mares made an aggregate total of $802,000:00 with an average price tag of $11,795:00. The overall gross total for the sale was $951,000:00.
Imported Alycidon stallion ‘Gaul’ had already found a new home at David Casben’s Yarramolong Stud at Muswellbrook.
In 1977 Oakleigh re-entered the thoroughbred stud world with the importation of Mount Hagen for the southern hemisphere season. The same Irish-based entire had visited Newhaven Park in 1976 as a ‘shuttle’ stallion. Sadly this bold enterprise was very quickly concluded with the emergence of the ‘new’ venereal disease of CEM (Contagious Equine Metritis).