In January, HBV approached our gallops counterparts, Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) around the concept of a stud tour that incorporated both codes - an opportunity for breeders of both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds to learn about the operations of their opposite numbers, compare challenges and successful strategies, and make new connections.
TBV enthusiastically partnered with us and on Sunday 16 September, a fully subscribed tour group departed the Inglis Complex at Oaklands and the Seymour Train Station on a joint stud tour.
The first leg of the trip saw our buses rolling down the glorious driveway of Swettenham Stud with it's well manicured grounds and beautiful river views. A long-established jewel in the crown of the Victorian breeding industry, Swettenham has a roster of six quality stallions who were paraded for guests in brilliant sunshine, before we were welcomed into the breeding barn to watch a mare being prepared and then covered by Trust In A Gust (pic). A further tour of the other facilities on site, including the Goulburn River 'driving range', and a chance to ask Adam about the industry and the stud followed before HBV president, Terry Lewis, presented him with token of appreciation and guests departed for lunch.
Le Penelope's @ Kirwan's Bridge Estate delivered a delectible luncheon, with guests enjoying a vineyard wine on arrival, followed by a light main, dessert and coffee with biscotti.
On then to the second leg of the tour, up the Murray Valley Highway to Alabar Farms, where guests were welcomed with Beechworth Bakery treats and a parade of the on farm stallions, including 19YO marvel, Art Major (below).
Tanya McDermott of the HRV HERO program, designed to help transition horses into performance homes after racing, spoke briefly about HERO and introduced guests to Tiz A Masterpiece, a former Alabar stallion and now blossoming performance horse. We also got to view Arms Of An Angel, former champion pacing mare and now one of the focuses of HBV's Follow A Foal project, following two mares (including Aldebaran Maori at Aldebaran Park) through pregancy and foaling, then the resulting foals through to the yearling sales in 2020 in support of charity.
Champion sire Shadow Play was then brought in and collected in front of guests, with prominent racing industry vet, Dr Simon Robinson, then demonstrating how after collection, the semen is processed and transported for use in the AI process across Australasia. President Terry then presented Brett Coffey, on behalf of Alan Galloway, a thank you gift and guests departed for their respective drop off points.
Our sincere thanks go to Adam Sangster and his dedicated team at Swettenham Stud, Alan Galoway and the hard working staff at Alabar, and the grounds team at Inglis Oaklands for accommodating our group across the day.