Above: Sally Ballantine at Thompson Creek Thoroughbreds

Thompson Creek has grown steadily in its three years of operation, but even by its growth standards, September 26 last year was a special day. The fledgling nursery welcomed five foals in 24 hours.

“It was a busy day but a rewarding one,” said Thompson Creek’s Derek Ballantine. “Five healthy foals and five mares in good order.

The 2019 breeding season was a huge success for Thompson Creek, based at Modewarre, 20 minutes from Geelong. After announcing it would offer its services to outside breeders for the first time, the family operation foaled down just short of 50 foals. While managing covers for almost 70 mares to all the main Victorian studs, and working with partners to manage mares to the Hunter, one senses a huge enthusiasm from those at Thompson Creek for the upcoming season.

“We are proud of our first season but haven’t rested on our laurels,” says Managing Director, Sally Ballantine.

Thompson Creek has been busy in the off season.

“We have reflected on our strengths and where we can improve. It has resulted in improvements to our facilities: much better, and safer crush facilities, improved foaling down facilities catering for larger numbers and a bigger team,” Sally said. “We have implemented an improved back office system that will provide more efficient communications for our clients.”

But while some things have evolved, one thing clearly remains the priority.

“We maintain our absolute focus on the health of the mare and foal and while we are proud of our relationship with all of the major studs, we believe we will be better again and more efficient managing covers,” she said.

Above: horses at Thompson Creek Thoroughbreds

“This is really important for all of our clients, to know that there is the balance between the benefits of a boutique provider but with all of the professional trappings of the larger farms.”

With the challenges of 2020 all around us, Sally thinks Thompson Creek can play an important part in the breeding industry.

“This is obviously a unique and challenging environment for breeders and we think we can help: super competitive pricing compared to the bigger farms, no hidden costs, and a flexible approach accommodating short and long term boarders. We talk straight with our clients and work hard to achieve their goals – including innovative pricing arrangements,” Sally said.

“And we should never forget this is a passion for so many breeders and when people can get out and about again, we think being only 20 minutes to the Great Ocean Road is a great place to indulge one’s passion. What could be better than a glass of wine on the farm inspecting your foal before lunch on the Coast or a local winery – and all only an hour and fifteen minutes from Melbourne?”

And one senses similar enthusiasm from Derek Ballantine, the industry veteran now managing all equine activities at Thompson Creek.

Derek, who has served as a stud manager, syndicator, breeder and author in a lifetime with thoroughbreds appears rejuvenated by the experience.

“It is easy to get out of bed on a property like this – the mares and foals have a natural environment, with top class fencing and pastures. We have a great team. I can say to breeders that your mares and foals will have no better start than here at Thompson Creek.”

Sally tells us there is limited availability still left for interested breeders.

“We are again grateful to our many clients, including the larger studs, for sending us their mares ahead of the upcoming season. We still have limited availability left and encourage anyone interested to call or for those who can, we welcome visits to the farm,” she said.

For more information, contact Sally Ballantine: 0438-642-004 or www.thompsoncreek.com.au