With 25 years in the wool industry as a wool classer and shearing contractor, Ponderosa Park’s Paul Kelly and Sue Miller, can now add to their resume the achievement of being the number one selling Victorian weanling vendor at the recent Inglis Great Southern sale.
Paul hails from a diverse background which includes shearing, wool classing, camp drafting and at one point, even crafting his trade to become a farrier.
Paul’s partner Sue comes from an equestrian background, where she competed mainly in the three-day eventing space, means that this diversity is a winning combination for their business.
For the last decade, Paul and Sue have turned their hands to Thoroughbreds and what a success this decision has turned out to be for them.
When asked about what it feels like to reach an aggregated total of $593,000 from 13 weanlings in the Select Weanling session, Paul could hardly contain his excitement at the result, but was quick to praise his engaged team of staff.
“Well it hasn’t hit us yet, but we’re all excited back here on the farm, even the farm workers. We have nice workers on the farm now and they are all excited, everyone’s hard work has finally paid off,” Paul said.
Set on 330 acres of irrigated land in Nathalia on the Victorian border, Ponderosa Park is some 200kms away from Oaklands Junction, where they achieved their most recent milestone. Paul and Sue have a vision of completing their state-of-the-art equestrian complex for Thoroughbreds.
After each sale, Paul and Sue try to enhance one part of the farm, slowly working their way down their list, inching one step at a time closer to realising their vision. When asked what they will be crossing off their list this time, Paul laughs and says, “We need to get the feed bill sorted this time”.
Over 12 years ago when Paul and Sue bought their first three fillies and made a slight profit, they became hooked and have not looked back. No stranger to hard work, Paul credits the people that he and Sue have around them for their success.
Paul is grateful to his team of staff, as well as the sales companies. A special mention must go to Inglis’ Mark Dodemaide, who makes sure that Paul and Sue are always looked after.
When Paul was asked which weanling from this draft caught his eye, without hesitation he remarked that lot 151, a colt out of Folly (NZ) was the pick of the bunch. Paul purchased Folly (NZ) in foal with the colt at the Inglis Sydney Weanling and Broodmare sale in 2018 for $13,000. He ended up fetching $95,000 at this Great Southern sale.
Paul could not get over the demand for his draft at this year’s Great Southern sale. Likening the demand for inspections to a scene from an airport controller trying to manage traffic control, he remarked, “We were shell shocked with people trying to get our horses. If I had been landing planes at the airport, they all would have crashed. I do want to apologise to people who had to wait their turn to look at our horses”.
When asked what Paul thinks the recipe to success for this year was, other than having ‘fashionable horses’, as Paul puts it, he is certain it is down to the entire draft being nominated for Super VOBIS.
Paul is firm in his belief that the VOBIS programme does really bring home the dollars.
And, advice to those who wish to one day achieve what Paul and Sue have?
“Along the way, don’t treat people any worse than you want to be treated yourself – don’t talk down to people and treat them the way you wish to be treated yourself. Treat everyone with respect.”