Tell us about Fairdale Stud and its history.
My grandfather, Arthur started breeding horses at Fairdale in the 1940's and previous generations had been farming here for a fair while before that. The stud rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s when Pakistan 11 became a champion sire. His statistics were incredible and are comparable to the likes of Danzig and Northern Dancer, he even has his own Wikipedia page! Unfortunately he died when he was only thirteen.
Fairdale has bred over 200 stakes winners, the best probably being Hyperno who won the Melbourne Cup and was Australian HOTY.
In the last few years we have ceased standing stallions and scaled back our broodmare band as I am not a natural salesman and prefer the farming and husbandry aspect of the stud.
How many mares do you breed from?
Seven at the moment, would like a few more but have trouble competing with the big boys when trying to buy them.
Do you breed to trade, race or both?
Until we get the accountant and bank manager off our back they are all for sale.
What success have you had? (in the sales ring and/or on the racetrack)
In the last few years we have bred Cool Aza Beel, Brando, Belle Plaisir ,Chokito and now Couer Volante. Hopefully she can go on and win a Gr 1.
Selling Brando for $500k and seeing him go on and become a good horse has been a highlight.
What else do you have in your bloodstock portfolio (youngstock, racehorses etc)
Just one two year old sister to Brando and a few stallion shares.
Do you have a favourite cross?
No. I give very little, if any, weight to pedigree when deciding on matings.
Do you seek advice on your breeding decisions?
No I do it all myself, that way I can only blame myself when it goes wrong!
Best breeding advice you have received?
Breed for the race track.
My father Gerald is someone who loves giving out lots of free advice, most of it needs to be ignored!
Who do you admire in the thoroughbred breeding industry?
Anyone who has taken risks and been able to stick at it over a long period of time. The highs are rewarding but the lows can be crushing.
Mark and Denny Baker spring to mind, they are excellent horsemen who are absolutely dedicated. Denny is still working hard and enjoying it in his eighties.
You also have to admire Gary Chittick for the success he has had,plus he enjoys imparting his acquired wisdom. I also admire Justine Sclater for her enthusiasm and engaging with industry participants.
If you could own any broodmare (past or present), who would it be?
They are both in the paddock at home here. Cool 'n' Sassy (Cool Aza Beel) and Soairse (Brando) have both left good horses and had yearlings sell for good money at a time when we needed it. They are both beautifully kind mares and the kids love them.
What advice would you give someone entering the industry as a breeder?
If you back your own judgement and stick at it eventually luck will turn your way.
Proudest moment as a breeder?
Hopefully if Couer Volante can win the Thousand guineas!
We are pretty proud of the fact that of our seven mares, four have stock of racing age and three have left group winners. The other one has had two to race for two winners.
Finish this sentence: The best part of being a thoroughbred breeder is…
Aside from winning races the best part is definitely when your yearlings pass their post-sale scope examination.