It never ceases to amaze us the strong bonds that are made on our tours. The recently concluded New Zealand tour is proof of that.
The 15 strong group came from a diverse range of locations spread throughout Australia including Mackay, Port Macquarie, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Seymour, Avenel and Deepwater. Whilst they started off largely as strangers, a group of like minded racing and breeding enthusiasts have moulded strong friendships which will no doubt continue well beyond the tour.
The veteran of the group was the amazing Val Curry from Brisbane. I won’t embarrass Val by giving away her age, but I can guarantee you that she was leading the way on all fronts throughout the tour. She was the instigator of the ‘Charli Brown Syndicate’ which was formed during our New Zealand adventure. This new syndicate will be made up of members from the tour group who have joined together to part own our very nice Reliable Man filly from Saskia who goes to Darren Weir. The syndicate was named after Trelawney Studs’ ‘rolly polly’ chocolate Labrador of the same name. I only hope the filly races with as much enthusiasm and energy as Val who is nothing short of remarkable !
It was delightful to be joined by very successful Victorian breeders Frank and Karen Butler. Waikato Stud proved to be highlight for the Butlers who are proud shareholders in the mighty Savabeel.
Joining the Butlers from Victoria were more successful breeders in Peter and Christine Mills. Their luck was nearly in when Fat Chap failed narrowly to get the money at Kembla Grange during the tour, with the Gai Waterhouse trained steed going down in a photo.
The Mackay connection was strong with Mick Hackett, Barry Menzies and Darren Doyle. The tour was tinged with sadness with the recent passing of their ‘chairman’ Stu Smith. We raised our glass more than a few times in memory of Stu during the tour.
Port Macquarie’s Charlie Buchanan and Lynette Zahra enjoyed the tour. During our travels we were able to visit the couples lovely filly by Tavistock at the Cambridge stables of top young trainer Stephen Marsh. The filly will race as Edible Flower and is one to watch closely.
One of our very loyal supporters is Robert Hill from Carseldine. Rob didn’t have great deal of luck with his first few Ontrack horses. His luck seems to be on the up now though as a part owner of the highly promising Savanna Amour and also the consistent Chris Waller trained Kiwi stayer Brassy Belle. Rob was also appointed ‘chairman’ of the ‘Charli Brown Syndicate’ during the tour.
Former amateur jockey Rob Wheatley and wife Cate were again great company. The Wheatleys hail from the Northern Rivers NSW township of Deepwater, where they are well known to racing circles in that area. Rob and Cate have been long term supporters of Ontrack both on the track and off. Hong Kong Tour veterans, they will also play an important part of the ‘Charli Brown Syndicate’.
Join us in 2017 for our next edition of the New Zealand Horse & Wine Tour which will be held again over 5 nights November 23 – November 28, 2017.