A unique tour of Victoria’s horse racing breeding operations was run over the weekend with a couple of busloads of people joining the journey.

Harness Breeders Victoria (HBV) and Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) jointly organised the tour for their respective members through north central Victoria. It included visits to Nagambie’s famed Swettenham Stud and the world-leading Alabar Stud at Koyuga.

HBV president, Terry Lewis, said overall the stud tour was a great success that was made possible by the “very informative and gracious hosts”.

While it was a chilly start, the sun was shining, and all the guests were warmed up with some impressive bloodstock at their first destination, the world-class Swettenham Stud on the Goulburn River.

Tour guests enjoyed seeing the bloodstock and surrounds of Swettenham Stud

Treated to a line-up of spectacular thoroughbred bloodstock headlined by new boy Highland Reel, Melbourne Cup winning Americain and the handsome Toronado, visitors were impressed by the quality and presentation of the bloodstock and the Nagambie property.

Swettenham Stud principal Adam Sangster (and member of the TBV committee) was thrilled to host the touring group, especially those from the standardbred sector.

“It is really important for our two breeding industries to work together and takes lessons from each other,” Sangster said.

“It was great to welcome the big group of breeders and show off our line-up of stallions.”

Following Swettenham, guests were greeted with a welcome drink and two-course lunch at Le Penelope’s restaurant at Kirwan’s Bridge Estate, enjoying a delicious lunch showcasing the region’s best seasonal produce.

Tour guests enjoyed lunch at Kirwans Bridge Estate

The tour then headed north to Alabar Farms, the premier standardbred stud in the Southern Hemisphere. The tour group came up close and personal to super sires and racetrack stars such as Art Major, Always B Miki and Vincent as well as learn about the semen transport process used in Australia.

Alabar Stud near Echuca hosted tour guests

“It was great to see such beautiful stallions being treated with such respect and care at both locations. I thought it was a great day and I learnt a lot, especially in relations to AI and covering of mares. The partnership between TBV and HBV was great to see,” Terry Lewis said.

“As a committee, we felt this was a terrific initiative and aimed to achieve several things at once – a learning opportunity for breeders in both codes to see how their counterparts operate, possibly giving them a few ideas and a bit of inspiration for how they run their own breeding business.”

“While socially, it was great to compare challenges and share successful strategies, as breeding is a tough caper and learning new ideas and perspectives can be helpful.”

“Of course, the opportunity to view world-class bloodstock of any breed is a fantastic thing and Alabar and Swettenham went over and above to give all our guests an unforgettable experience, with stallions at both farms presented in top order.”

TBV pays a special thanks to HBV Executive Officer Desiree Pettit-Keating for her organisation of the tour.

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