The Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA) was active at Newmarket during the recent yearling, weanling and breeding stock sales.

A number of these FBAA agents are also valued members of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria and work closely with Victorian breeders in selling and buying breeding and racing stock.

The purchases and the conduct of the last sale at the historic complex provided an opportunity for reflection on the establishment and evolution of FBAA.

Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia was a beacon for integrity long before it became a buzzword throughout the racing and breeding industries.

And the reasons for its inception are still as relevant today as they were in 1988 when a group of concerned bloodstock agents formed FBAA.

“We are dedicated to ensuring the integrity and fairness in our horse dealings,” FBAA President Adrian Hancock stated this week.

“We have been at the forefront of developing industry best practices and we work in conjunction with racing authorities.

“In addition to the industry Code of Conduct, the FBAA has a Code of Ethics to ensure our members are reputable and can be trusted.”

FBAA founding member (and also a TBV life member) Tim Stewart recalled there were some nefarious characters giving agents a bad name back in the 1980s.

“There had always been friendly rivalry at the sales. But the reputable agents were mindful something had to be done,” he said.

A steering committee invited 19 agents to form FBAA and, of that number, three are still actively involved – Stewart, Les Young and Tony Cavanagh. Leading auction house William Inglis was also there from the outset as was its current Victorian manager Simon Vivian who operated his own agency in the 1980s.

Other sales companies initially involved, but since dissolved, were Elders, ABCOS (Adelaide), Roberts Ltd (Tasmania) and Goodwood Bloodstock (Perth).

The late Brian Agnew, who owned Wakefield Stud in Scone and bred Melbourne Cup winner Subzero, drafted the FBAA Constitution with a Code Of Ethics to maintain, improve and develop the standards, status and services of bloodstock agents throughout Australia.

“It’s always been a cut-and-thrust business although back then it was a different world,” Les Young said.

“There was a closer relationship between principal and agent 30 years ago.

“Brian was a lawyer and he did a lot of work for FBAA,” he added.

“Tony Fleiter and John Foote also helped in the early days and then we were fortunate to have people like Bryan Muschialli come on board.

Melbourne-based Muschialli pioneered the export of Australian bloodstock to Asia and the Middle East and his daughter, FBAA secretary Tracy Howard, vividly remembers him promoting the Australian thoroughbred to overseas clients.

“Dad was very ‘hands on’ and always said we could match the best in the world,” Howard said.

“He believed in accountability and reckoned the FBAA was an integral industry body…no matter if the budget was big or small or whether it was local, interstate or overseas.”

FBAA members are available to assist in the sale and purchase of bloodstock as well as assisting in matters pertaining to bloodstock valuations, consultancy, management, matings advice, insurance, shipping and other related matters.

The minimum requirement to become an FBAA member is five years involvement in the industry and two years operation of own bloodstock agency.

Key purchases by FBAA agents, who are also members of TBV, during the yearling, weanling and mare sales included:

  • Damon Gabbedy’s Belmont Bloodstock paid $250,000 for the mare Title Holder (Magic Albert) who was sold with a positive to Written Tycoon.  Belmont was also active during yearling sale successfully bidding for four lots including a $600,000 Fastnet Rock-Port Augusta filly
  • At the Inglis weanling sale Peter Ford Thoroughbreds paid $160,000 for a Hillside Thoroughbreds bred Dissident colt.  He also purchased a Swettenham bred Toronado-Lacey Underall colt among other foal buys. Peter returned for a number of mares headed by Tales of Lilakyn (Tale of the Cat) who was sold in foal to Pierro for $100,000.
  • Sheamus Mills Bloodstock signed for four foals topped by the $60,000 Star Witness – Still Dreaming colt. He also bought three mares with Curl Up (Zizou) topping the list at $80,000.  A winning daughter of Sky Cuddle (G1 Oakleigh Plate), she was purchased in foal to Star Witness on behalf of Palya Bloodstock
  • TBV Life Member Tim Stewart was active during the broodmare and weanling sale assisting Musk Creek Farm with its purchases including $75,000 for Swettenham’s Toronado-Baize colt and $150,000 for Warrington, a Fastnet Rock mare in foal to Street Boss.
  • Laurel Oak’s Louis Mihalyka was active on both sides of the auctioneer’s rostrum during the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. He sold a Sepoy colt to the Hong Kong Jockey Club for $150,000 while he spent $110,000 on an All Too Hard colt from Randwick stakes winner Galizani offered by Coolmore Stud on behalf of Victorian breeder Robert McClure.
  • Meanwhile at the Inaugural Chairman’s Sale, Peter Ford and Sheamus Mills bought filly foals by Dissident ($80,000) and Choisir ($60,000) respectively.
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