TBV Grassroots: Gary O’Meara from Miranda Park
The love of horses is in the family’s blood as Gary, together with his brother, decided as teenagers to start breeding from their own stock on the family property, Elstree Park, Bullengarook. They stood two stallions at Elstree Park, Warmington and Increase. ‘We mainly bred horses to race and to syndicate.’ Gary O’Meara reminisces.
As a twelve-year-old boy, Gary O’Meara, owner of Miranda Park, was given a thoroughbred-cross and a love for horses quickly developed. “Ever since then, one way or another I have been involved with horses,” said Gary.
Gary purchased Miranda Park with his wife Helen in 2003 and together they have developed the two-hundred-acre farm into a thoroughbred breeding and agistment farm.
“We have built it up to the point where this season we have eighty mares, forty-five of which we have foaled down, and the remainder are dry mares.”
In addition, Miranda Park have also been consigning yearlings at the sales over the past few years as an additional string to their bow.
Gary has broad experience in all aspects of the industry, having previously been an amateur jockey, horse breaker and owner-trainer and he is also a long-serving member of the Kyneton and Hanging Rock Racing Club committee. However, it was always the breeding side of the industry that Gary was most passionate about.
“Although I enjoy my involvement in all aspects of the industry, breeding has been my passion from the start. We currently own either out-right, or in partnership, ten mares. We have yearlings this year by Astern, Vancouver, Shooting to Win and Press Statement and foals on the ground by Pride of Dubai, Rubick, Highland Reel, Toronado and Foxwedge to name a few. We are constantly striving to deliver a higher quality product for the yearling market.”
The passion for the industry has led Miranda Park to be a thriving farm and it is evident that this admiration for the industry runs in the family. “It stems from the love of the thoroughbred and the desire to produce very high-quality horses. My wife Helen, my son Tom, and Brad who works with us all have a passion for the animal. We all really enjoy the day to day work with the horses.”
Victoria was always where Gary wanted to set up his establishment.
“The Macedon Ranges is very suited to horse breeding. I remember Mark Read researched extensively when looking for a property and he decided on Glenfern Park in Romsey. It was the most similar he could find, in terms of soil types and climate to New Zealand’s Waikato region, and we are very closely located. The geography lends itself to breeding as our farm has a variety of terrain, ranging from creek flats to rising hills which benefits both the mares and yearlings.”
Victoria most certainly has clear seasons within the year and Gary explains how being based in a part of the country with distinct seasons is beneficial for breeding horses.
One main difference that Victoria has is the Super VOBIS scheme. “It really makes the thoroughbreds in Victoria much more viable and attractive, as well as being easier to market from a breeding perspective.”
Although Gary has always been involved with horses and the thoroughbred industry, it has not been a full time career until more recently. Gary spent thirty years as a teacher where he fit the horses around his teaching career.
In 1995 while on a short-term teaching contract in Shanghai, Gary co-managed the very first shipment of horses from Australia to China. In more recent years he has continued to combine the two interests.
“I was teaching VCE Chinese Language, and alongside that I have developed my interest in the Chinese Racing Industry. I currently work as a consultant for Lindsay Park liaising with their Chinese clients and developing their Chinese client base.”
Gary frequently spends time in China visiting clients and thinks that with David Hayes returning to Hong Kong to train, this will only increase.
“In September I attended the Yulong thoroughbred auction and race meeting with one of David’s sons JD, and that was my fourth visit to the Yulong racetrack.”
Over the past sixteen years Miranda Park has developed enormously. The advice that Gary would pass on to anyone starting in the industry is ‘to try to start with a small number of high quality horses; seek advice from as many experienced people as possible and set realistic goals and expectations.’