Media Centre

Studs escape the worst
of the Australian fires

FIRES that raged through parts of Australia last weekend do not appear to have hit unduly in the heart of breeding country - a great relief to an industry that nearly watched the 2007-2008 breeding season collapse due to an outbreak of equine influenza.

The rampant bushfires that have killed more than 130 people and were called "a tragedy beyond belief, beyond precedent and really beyond words" by deputy prime minister Julia Gillard,  swept through Victoria, where Adam Sangster's Swettenham Stud is located and Darley Australia has a property of 1,100 acres.

However, the fires missed most of the main studs in Victoria, according to John Messara, president of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and head of Arrowfield Stud in New South Wales, although he said: "It's probably a bit premature to properly analyse what's happened in the thoroughbred stud business.

"Most of those with thoroughbred properties seem okay,"  Messara told the Racing Post. "Fires were geographically not far from Nagambie, where most of theleading Victoria studs reside, but didn't encroach. Most of the studs, however, have had a lot of their staff seconded for volunteer duties in their area."

Messara added that breeder and trainer Cliff Brown lost his houses and shed to the flames, but was able to save all his horses by cramming them three to a box in his stables and fighting the fire back with water hoses.

Read more in Tuesday's Racing Post, or buy the newspaper as a pdf from 9am on Tuesday





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