Thoroughbred Breeders WA welcomed Peter Vincent and Judith Odgaard to the committee at its recent AGM.

Peter Vincent manages De Grey Park in the south-west on the shores of Geographe Bay.  It was owned by Peter’s father Dick Vincent and he bred and sold Group 1 winner Barely A Moment (Gilded Time) and Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Cadenza (Oratorio) out of those paddocks a short drive along the coast road from Capel.

“I returned to WA when Dick started to feel the pinch health-wise,” Peter said.  “Prior to passing away at 97 last year he sold the farm and his partner Jan moved to Marybrook. I now live ten minutes from De Grey Park where the mares board and manage the farm and stock for owner, Ray Jones, which keeps me busy each and every day.

“I grew up on Talga at Toodyay where Dick stood Royal Comet and Victory Lad prior to moving to Dongara. Following secondary schooling and a few years at Marcus Oldham and in New Zealand, I bred Simmental cattle at Hamelin Park, Williams, before dispersing in 1992 and moving to Perth where I operated a cattle consultancy and marketing agency for ten years,” he recalled shortly after the AGM.

“In 2003 I was appointed General Manager of the Shorthorn Society in Sydney for eight years before founding Performance Herds Australia, a consortium of innovative registered Shorthorn cattle breeders focused on genetic evaluation rather than the show ring.

“Whilst breeding cattle I rode stock horses every day and had a couple of Thoroughbred mares I bred as a hobby but the commercial Thoroughbred industry is an entirely different game. It requires dedication and knowledge and has been a steep learning curve for me over the last eighteen months.   John Andrew has been extremely generous in advising me as to management of the mares and yearlings and John Chalmers’ assistance has been invaluable to me when making the most important of all decisions…which mare goes to which stallion.”

De Grey Park is a shareholder in Geisel Park stallion Aysar (Deep Field) with five mares among his first book and Peter’s other mares will be served by commercial sires like Playing God and Universal Ruler.  The De Grey Park yearlings averaged $130k at the Magic Millions Perth Sale this year which was reward for the investment in quality mares and performance sires made by Dick in previous years.

“I intend to upgrade the mares at every opportunity and Aysar’s pedigree suggests that he can provide a platform to do that without going to the east coast.”   Currently, they include Tipsy Moment, the dam of Miss Conteki and winners of $1.2 million, Corn Flakes, the dam of Corn Cob, winner of 11 races and the Peters Investments mare, Morning Song, who has a Maschino foal at foot and is back in foal to Playing God.

One of Peter’s pet projects is enticing more young people to the industry.  “Education is the key and then providing them with every assistance,” he said.  “The secondary schools can be a source of  future employees and employers. Most of these kids are keen and capable but the current courses at ag colleges are confined to cropping, sheep and cattle; I would like to see secondary education include equine management at regional colleges, too”.

“I don’t think it’s too extreme to say that Westspeed has saved the industry in WA. It’s an incredibly successful scheme and apart from underpinning commercial breeding and racing it encourages the syndication of horses.  Whether individuals own two or twenty percent of a winner is irrelevant; they own a champion and the more who experience that thrill the wider the public involvement and the greater the understanding and support for our industry.”

Dr Judith Odgaard joined the TBWA committee last month bringing vast experience and a strong belief in all forms of equestrian sport and activities.

Judith, with then husband Don Baker, stood stallions at Henley Park Stud and is also widely-known in EWA circles as a ‘show jumping tragic’.  She was forced to cease riding due to a non-horse related accident before serving on a number of jumping club committees as well as being a judge and selector.

Based near Northam at Mokine, she can play a part on the TBWA committee after being passionate on the periphery in recent years.  For some time Judith has been increasingly concerned with the perceived Welfare aspect of our equestrian activities and she considers it necessary for all involved to become more proactive.

“We have to lift our game.  We’ve gradually become sitting ducks for the animal liberationists.  They are never satisfied, and if they can close down the live sheep trade, we could be next in line.”

While acknowledging the work of Off The Track and the rehoming of retired racehorses locally, Judith points out there are worrying developments at home and abroad.

The Victorian State Government is currently undertaking an animal welfare reform project to replace its Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.  “It appears anyone organising an event in which horses are used in sport, competition or for recreational purposes will now require a license.  That could decimate our horse-loving lifestyle.

“At the World Equestrian Games in The Hague, the Cross Country had to be moved from a park in the city to a controlled area at a military installation to ensure the safety of horses, riders and spectators from protesters.”

Judith has welcomed two foals so far this season – a filly by St Jude sire King Of Athens (USA) and a colt by Scenic Lodge stallion Dash For Cash.  This year, her mares are booked into Safeguard (Mogumber), Hi World (Kelstar) and Lucky Street (Darling View).

Back in the day, Henley Park’s roster included Group 1 Railway Stakes winner Kilrickle (Endless Honey) who was owned by Irish-born grazier Fred Connaughton and was named after his 3,300-acre farm north of Three Springs.  Tamerteur (Indian Conquest) was also based at the Swan Valley property.  Judith bred and sold his son Nilotic to clients of trainer Ross Price and he went on to claim the inaugural running of the LR Beaufine Stakes at Belmont.

Judith is a Science Technician at Helena College in Glen Forrest and is setting up a pathway for students into the breeding industry with one, hopefully the first of a number,  recently completing her Year 10 work experience with Dr Fiona Lacey at Olive Grove Equine Clinic in Bullsbrook.