History of the Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia Limited

Origin of Bloodstock Agents in Australia

The sale and export of all Australian classes of horses was well established from the early 1900’s through to the start of World War Two, with many thousands of horses sold and shipped to India, Southeast & Northern Asia, and many countries worldwide by horse exporters based around Australia.

Horse exporters/traders in these early days included Australian & Eastern Co., Ashtons Brothers, Sir Rupert Clarke, The Gilder family, The Glasscock family, The Gove family, Ivan Hall, William A Jones, Inglis and Company, The Skeene family, The Watson family, The Hunter family, Sir Henry Madden and The Gidney family.

The Ashton brothers

The trading of horses from Australia to India in those days was significant with the Indian Army purchasing Remounts, known as Walers, for mounted troops, heavy horses for pulling transportation vehicles, heavy mares for breeding mules and thoroughbred stallions and mares for breeding purposes.

Private orders for racehorses, polo ponies and horses and ponies for equestrian pursuits were given to horse exporters and were included together with the Indian Army horses, in shipments to India by sea. Many reliable and experienced horsemen acted as agents on behalf of the established horse exporters to find and purchase suitable horses, either on a commission basis and or a contract price, for all classes of horses for each exporter’s individual export orders.

In those early years horses were sourced privately from stud farms, large pastoral stations, and smaller farms, breeding all types of horses required for export as well as for local horse related activities. All classes of horses, including thoroughbreds, were also purchased from recognized horse sales around Australia. The sale venues were known as Horse Bazaars, which attracted both Australian and overseas buyers looking to fill local and overseas horse orders, with established agents also involved in the selection and purchase of horses for exporters and local clients.

The largest horse sales venues in Australia during this period were the Inglis Horse Bazaar in Sydney run by the Inglis family, Kirk’s Bazaar, Campbell & Sons Bazaar, Victoria Horse Bazaar in Melbourne, Wodonga Sales in country Victoria and The Kapunda Horse Bazaar run by the Coles family in South Australia.

Kirk’s Bazaar c.1870

The Australian Government Army Remount Department were also heavily involved in the purchase of Walers, in large numbers both privately and at the above-mentioned sales during the early 1900s up to the Second World War and most of these horses had some thoroughbred bloodlines in their breeding. 

Post-World War Two, a smaller number of horse exporters continued to be involved in the sale and export of all classes of horses including thoroughbreds. The major markets for Australian horses continued to be India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Colombo (Sri Lanka), and Burma (now Myanmar).

One of most prominent post-Second World War exporters were the Gove brothers; Robert, Theo and Cyril, who carried on in the horse export trade established by their father Julius Gove and established the Australian Bloodstock Agency which held Thoroughbred Auction Sales in Melbourne at the Melbourne Showgrounds in the 1950s and 60s and continued to trade horses to overseas countries in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. The Australian Bloodstock Agency continued under the management of Brian McGuire who provided bloodstock related services to clients in Victoria in the 1960s and 70s, assisted by Ian Baird. 

The last recorded shipment of Australian horses to India for the Indian Army was in 1958 when 250 head including 150 Remounts, 50 Thoroughbred Maiden Fillies and Mares for breeding purposes, and 50 Heavy Mares for mule breeding were shipped by sea from Melbourne. The supplier and exporter were the Australian Bloodstock Agency owned by the Gove Brothers and Frank Ford acted as the agent in the purchase of a substantial number of horses for this shipment.

The Forefathers of the Modern-Day Bloodstock Agents & Consultants.

The very early forefathers of the modern-day Bloodstock Agents and Consultants in Australia included the Gove Brothers, William. A Jones, Ivan Hall and other horse exporters from those early days involved in the export and promotion of Australian horses including thoroughbreds of all types and classes. 

William A. Jones was based in Melbourne and was a prominent exporter of all classes of horses before and post-World War Two and for many years was the supplier of “Griffins” to the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club on an annual basis. 

Ivan Hall, based in Sydney, was another prominent exporter of horses to India, Southeast & Northern Asia both prior to and post-World War Two, and was a noted supplier of racehorses to Singapore, Malaysia, and India.

Post-World War Two, from the 1940s to the 1980s the prominent bloodstock agents in Australia were John Inglis, David Coles, WJ (Bill) Stutt and their respective Bloodstock Sales Companies, Jim Shannon, Frank Ford, and Bryan Muschialli. 

Frank Ford, David Coles Japanese Breeder Mr Fukuichi Miki – Hokkaido visit 1972

John Inglis (William Inglis and Son Limited)

John Inglis was one of the most highly respected bloodstock identities and auctioneers of his time in Australia, with a wide range of clients, friends and contacts in the thoroughbred and horse industry, and together with his brother Dick, in time introduced Inglis family members Bill, Arthur, Reg and Jamie into William Inglis and Son. There have been several former Inglis employees who were given a start in the bloodstock industry by John Inglis including Vin Cox, John Hutchinson, Trevor Lobb, Glen Burrows, Kieran Moore, and Graham Orr. 

William Inglis & Son took over Dalgety Bloodstock International in 1994 which included the Sales Complex at Oaklands Junction in Victoria. William Inglis and Son Pty Limited was a Founding Member of the FBAA when formed in 1988 and is now an Associate Member of the FBAA.

David Coles AM (Coles Bros. Adelaide)

David Coles was a highly respected bloodstock identity and auctioneer and one of Australia’s most dynamic bloodstock promoters and marketers from the 1960s onwards. He was the inspirational head of Coles Bros. in the emergence of South Australia as a major thoroughbred breeding and sales force, attracting leading buyers from around Australia and overseas to visit the annual South Australian Yearling sales.

Sales Promotion – 1968

The Coles family had a strong connection to the horse exporters with his ancestors starting with his grand-father Sir Jenkin Coles, who established annual horse sales for pastoralist Sydney Kidman in 1896 at Kapunda, with many of these horses purchased by horse exporters of the day. The horse sales held at Kapunda were some of the biggest in Australia and continued into the early to mid 1900s attracting local and overseas buyers, exporters, buyers, and agents purchasing horses for export to countries around the world. 

In 1921 David’s father Ross started Coles Bros. selling livestock and horses of all types and classes from the company’s base at Kapunda. David followed on from his father Ross heading Coles Bros in the early 1960s and becoming a true leader in the Australia bloodstock industry. In 1968 Coles Bros. merged with Dalgety Australia and David Coles managed Dalgety Bloodstock until 1975. Coles Bloodstock combined with Elder Smith Goldsborough Mort to hold the Western Australian Yearling Sales from 1972 to 1979, now presided over by Magic Millions. Dalgety Bloodstock International also conducted bloodstock auction sales at the Melbourne Showgrounds on several occasions, with Peter Heagney as auctioneer, and prior to their takeover of Wright Stephenson & Co in 1979. 

In 1979 ABCOS was formed with David as general manager for 5 years followed by Adrian Hancock from 1984 onwards, until in 1999 Magic Millions purchased ABCOS. 

In 1984 Anthony Fleiter became the General Manager of Dalgety Bloodstock International adding Mark Dodemaide and Simon Vivian to his permanent staff and remained in charge of this bloodstock company up until the sale of Dalgety Bloodstock International to William Inglis & Son in 1994. Dalgety Bloodstock International was a Founding Member of the FBAA in 1988 while Anthony Fleiter was President of the FBAA from 1991 to 1993.

Anthony Fleiter – Image courtesy of Highclere Australia

David Coles was a great teacher and mentor to his employees with many of them going on to be noted bloodstock participants in their future working life, following their tenure with either Coles Bros, Dalgety Bloodstock or ABCOS. The David Coles graduates included his late son Christopher Coles, Peter Heagney, Adrian Hancock, John Foote, Kevin Dagg, Denis Roberts, Neil Bowden, Duncan Grimley, Simon Vivian, David Bridgland, Alastair Pulford, Philippa Duncan, Grant Bums, David Jolly, Bernard Spain, Jeff Gordon, Wayne Hawkes, Adam White, and David Hall.

Australian Breeders Co-operative Society Limited (ABCOS) & Dalgety Bloodstock International were Founding Members of the FBAA in 1988.

W J (Bill) Stutt (Wright Stephenson & Co Limited)

W J (Bill) Stutt was the head auctioneer and bloodstock manager for Wright Stephenson & Co. Ltd, a leading New Zealand based sales company selling bloodstock and other livestock of all types at auction in New Zealand, including the famous Annual New Zealand Thoroughbred Yearling Sales.

Bill started his career in bloodstock with Mackinnon & Cox and continued as the Bloodstock Manager of Wright Stephenson & Co from the 1950s to 1970s until his retirement. In the early 1950s Wright Stephenson purchased the Melbourne Bloodstock firm Mackinnon & Cox Pty Ltd., who conducted monthly thoroughbred sales and the Annual Yearling Sale in March each year. Wright Stephenson also took over Campbell & Sons, who ran regular horse sales of all classes of horses and ponies at their Flemington saleyards, and monthly sales at Wodonga. The Wodonga Sale was handed over to the local stock and station agents in the late 1960s who continued to conduct monthly auctions.

Wright Stephenson & Co Ltd – Invercargill Branch, Southland c.1925

Wright Stephenson & Co Ltd continued running regular bloodstock sales including the Annual Victorian Yearling Sales, as well as providing all Bloodstock Agency related services to both local and overseas clients from the early 1950s to 1979. 

In the early years W J (Bill) Stutt was assisted by fellow employees and auctioneers Eric Cormack and Frank Minchin, formally auctioneers with Campbell & Sons, and with staff members in ensuring years providing bloodstock agency services, including Jim Fitzgerald, Gary Ewin, Tony Cavanagh, Frank Mitchell, Neil Simple, Frank Curtin, Darryl Shearer, Tony Williams, Peter Keenen, and with the Dalgety Bloodstock takeover of Wright Stephenson & Co in 1979, Peter Heagney, Ian Baird, Jeff Gordon and Bernard Spain joined this group. 

W J (Bill) Stutt was highly respected in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries and an outstanding racing administrator being Chairman of Moonee Valley Race Club. Bill was also a successful breeder and strong supporter of the Victorian racing and breeding industry

Wright Stephenson & Co continued their bloodstock auctions and bloodstock agency services in New Zealand under Wrightson Bloodstock Limited and in time became New Zealand Bloodstock.

Jim Shannon(Bloodstock Agent and Consultant)

Jim Shannon was one of the original recognised independent Bloodstock Agents in Australia during the 1950s, 60s and 70s and was based in Melbourne. Jim provided Bloodstock Agency services to several prominent thoroughbred owners, breeders and trainers in his era including Jack and Bob Ingham. 

Jim Shannon introduced American bloodstock owner and investor Nelson Bunker Hunt to thoroughbred racing and breeding in Australia and New Zealand where he established Waikato Stud in the mid 1960s and stood some of his international stallions. He managed the bloodstock interests of Nelson Bunker Hunt in Australasia in the 1960s and 70s and became his racing manager worldwide in the early 1970s and was on hand at Royal Ascot in 1973 when Queen Elizabeth II presented Nelson Bunker Hunt with the trophy for the win by Dahlia in the G1 King George Vl and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Nelson Bunker Hunt (right) looks at horses at a Keeneland sale in 1974. Image courtesy of BloodHorse

Frank Ford (Frank Ford Livestock Pty Ltd.)

Frank Ford spent 10 years in the Australian Army Remount Department where he was involved in the breaking-in and education of remounts leading up to the Second World War and was a member of the Army Remount Purchasing Board, which had the task of the inspection, selection, and purchase of horses for the Australian Army Remount Department. 

In 1948 Frank Ford established his own business buying, selling, and transporting all classes of horses, and brought and supplied horses to his own clients as well as supplying horses to the horse exporters: The Gove Brothers, William A. Jones and Ivan Hall for their overseas orders. In 1955 Frank Ford Livestock Pty Ltd was established, conducting the purchase, sale, and export of horses in his own right, both within Australia and overseas to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia, and Oman.

1972 Yearling Sale Selling Parade Hokkaido

In 1967 Frank Ford attended the 4th Annual Fasig-Tipton Yearling Sales in Saratoga where he purchased 5 yearlings as agent for Felipe Ysmeal, his client from the Philippines, who was racing many horses in Australia. It was recorded that they were the first yearlings ever purchased at Saratoga Yearling Sales to race in Australia. 

Frank Ford (Livestock) Pty Ltd joined the FBAA in 1995 with John Ford representing the family company. John Ford as General Manager of Frank Ford (Livestock) Pty Ltd was involved in the selection and purchase of thoroughbred and equestrian horses and all matters related to local and overseas sales of horses for racing, breeding, and equestrian pursuits from 1963 to around 2000, then in his own right as a bloodstock agent and consultant through to the present day. Peter Ford was part of the family company from 1974 and was involved in the selection, management, and transportation of thoroughbred and equestrian horses to overseas clients by both sea and air, until establishing Peter Ford Thoroughbreds in 1998. 

John Ford and Peter Ford are both current members of the FBAA.

David Coles, Frank Ford, John Ford & clients from South Korea & Philippines at the South Australian Yearling Sale
Frank Ford & David Coles 1972 Yearling Sale…

Bryan Muschialli (Bryan R. Muschialli Pty Ltd.)

Bryan Muschialli commenced working in the live export trade as Export Manager for pioneer exporter William. A Jones in 1955, breaking-in and accompanying shipments of thoroughbred horses to Hong Kong for the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club. 

Bryan lived and worked in Hong Kong in 1959 and 1960, breaking in horses for the Hong Kong Jockey Club while employed by William A. Jones, who had the annual contract for the supply of ‘Griffins’ to The Hong Kong Jockey Club for many years and up until his retirement. Bryan took over the business of William A Jones and established his own company in 1968 as a livestock exporter and bloodstock consultant.

Sales catalogue page – 1968

Bryan continued in his own right with the sale and purchase of thoroughbred horses within Australia and the sale and export of horses including thoroughbreds to overseas countries including Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Napal, Pakistan, Sir Lanka, Thailand. Bryan was a pioneer and great ambassador for the promotion of Australian thoroughbreds for racing and breeding within Australia and overseas.

1980s loading system for South Korea shipment

Bryan Muschialli joined the FBAA in 1989 and was President of the FBAA from 1999 to 2003 and continued as a committee member up until his passing in 2013. Bryan believed the FBAA was a standout to the thoroughbred industry for member professionalism, integrity, and accountability. In 2016 the FBAA established the inaugural “Bryan Muschialli Life Membership Award”, which was awarded to Les Young of Doncaster Bloodstock, who continued as a member of the FBAA up until his passing in November 2019.

Additional Thoroughbred Auction Companies & Bloodstock Identities

In Queensland in the 1960s, 70s and 80s bloodstock auctions and bloodstock agency services were provided by The Australian Estates Company, Primaries Mactaggarts Bloodstock Services and, in 1986, Queensland Bloodstock Breeders Sales (QBBS) with the Brisbane Showgrounds used as the selling venue. 

The Australian Estates Bloodstock team included David Chester as Bloodstock Manager assisted by Garth Hughes, Ken McCaffrey, Colin McGaw and Bevan Hatch. David Chester and Garth Hughes were the auctioneers who were both involved in the bloodstock industry in Queensland for many years.

David Chester

Australian Estates held the Queensland Yearling Sales each year and in 1980 held this sale at their new selling complex at Southport on the Gold Coast, with Elders IXL Limited taking over in the early 1980s. In 1992 Magic Millions was established with David Chester, Paul Knight and Sheridan Wood running the bloodstock services. After various changes in ownership, Magic Millions was purchased by Gerry Harvey and Katie Page-Harvey.

Elders IXL Limited was a Founding Member of the FBAA in 1988. Magic Millions, after being a member of the FBAA since 1992, is now an associate member of the FBAA. 

The Queensland Bloodstock Breeders Sales Pty Ltd was conducted by Ian Baxter assisted by Simon Vivian, Garth Hughes and Tony Williams conducting yearling and mixed sales in Queensland for several years. 

In the 1970s and 80s there were several Thoroughbred Auctions Sales conducted in country New South Wales, and are an important part of the history of bloodstock agencies and their services, and include:

  • Blanch, Burke & Smyth Bloodstock Agents Tamworth NSW.
  • Terry Burke, Morris Blanch and John Cunliffe.
  • Peter Milling & Company Dubbo NSW. Peter Milling.
  • Pitt Son & Keene Pty Ltd. Scone NSW.
  • Co- Agents with William Inglis & Son Hunter Valley Bloodstock Breeders Yearling Sale and Mixed Bloodstock Sales held in Scone.

The late Harry Lawton, an FBAA member joining in 1996, was one of the pioneers in the formation of racing partnerships in the 1980s and 90s bringing many owners into racing.

The Formation of the Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia Limited

The FBAA was incorporated as a public company, limited by guarantee, on 19th December 1988. John Foote, with the assistance of Brian Agnew of Moray & Agnew, was the driving force behind the establishment of the FBAA.

FBAA Founding Members

Doncaster Bloodstock Services Pty Ltd(Les Young)
Philipa Duncan Bloodstock Pty Ltd(Philipa Duncan)
Freyer Bloodstock Pty Ltd(John Freyer)
Kieran Moore Quality Bloodstock Pty Ltd(Kieran Moore)
John Palmer Bloodstock Pty Ltd(John Palmer)
William Inglis & Son Pty Ltd(Arthur & Reg Inglis)
Tim Stewart & Associates Pty Ltd(Tim Stewart)
Bernard Desmond Spain Bloodstock Agent(Bernard Spain)
Dalgety Bloodstock International.(Anthony Fleiter)
A.J. Cavanagh Bloodstock Pty Ltd(Anthony ‘Tony’ Cavanagh)
Australian Breeders Co-Operative Society Ltd(Adrian Hancock)
Roberts Bloodstock Pty Ltd(Dennis Roberts)
Simon Vivian Bloodstock Pty Ltd(Simon Vivian)
Coles Corporation Pty Ltd(David & Christopher Coles)
Elders IXL Ltd(David Chester)
John Foote Bloodstock Pty Ltd(John Foote)
Belmont Bloodstock Agency Pty Ltd(Debra Evans & Damon Gabbedy)
Goodwood Bloodstock Agency(Mark Pilkington & Jeremy Smith)