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John Cambell made a Life Member of VSTA

Life Membership of VSTA for John Campbell.

We are delighted to share the news that John Campbell, the former president of the Australian Standardbred Breeders Association (ASBA), has been honored with a life membership in the Victorian Square Trotters Association (VSTA). This prestigious recognition is a testament to his immense contributions to our community. John’s unwavering commitment and service on VSTA committee have been instrumental, and his life membership is a clear indication of the profound impact he has had.

John Campbell, a figure deeply rooted in the Harness Racing community, hails from a family with a rich legacy in the sport. He is the son of the esteemed Jack Campbell, a fact that adds a personal touch to his remarkable journey.

In 1972, John took over a studmaster from his father, and he and his new wife Kay moved into the property known as Loddon Valley Stud.

John and his wife Kay’s breeding success has left an indelible mark on the sport. Their horses, including Flashing Red, winner of two New Zealand Cups, Rip Van Winkle, a juvenile star of the Australian Harness circuit, and former Tasmanian Classic winner Turbo Tyson.

John Campbell’s impact on the industry is undeniable. His influence has been felt far and wide as a studmaster, breeder, trainer, owner, and administrator. His life membership is a fitting addition to his many awards and achievements and a testament to the impact of his involvement in the industry.

John Campbell receives his Life Membership of VSTA.

Urgent message from ASBA re- FREE RETURNS.

Urgent message on FREE RETURNS.

ASBA has contacted HRA and confirmed that it was never intended to charge the levy for historical free returns.

If breeders receive an invoice for a foal born from a free return that resulted from a service before the 2022 breeding season, please get in touch with the stud and request they liaise with HRA to advise them of the free return status of any foals that match this circumstance.


No benefits around the Eureka.

What benefits has the Eureka bought to solve the breeding issue?

We are less than two months away from the second running of the TAB Eureka, which Australian Breeders fund via Harness Racing Australia’s (HRA) imposed stallion levy.

As part of selling this very unpopular levy, HRA’s CEO Andrew Kelly stated that race will drive prices skyward at yearling sales, increase the number of foals, and increase the popularity of locally bred stallions among breeders.

Rough estimates show that none of the three promises has eventuated; in fact, breeders have just walked away. Yearling sales, while the top end has been steady, breeders are struggling to recoup costs, and most middle-range yearlings are struggling to make much over service fees, which evokes a sense of shared struggle.

It’s a stark reality that foal numbers have not increased as many smaller breeders quit or reduced the number of mares they serve yearly.

While colonial-bred stallions have good results on the racetrack, breeders are hardly flocking to book them.

The most concerning news for HRA and the industry, in general, is the significant decline in waging, a trend that needs to be addressed.




Stallion in focus- Ohoka Punter

By Peter Wharton

The Bettor’s Delight stallion Ohoka Punter, who is again standing at Egmont Park stud, Queensland, is a young sire – he was foaled in 2009 – already well on the way to proving a success with his first crops racing.

Actually, Ohoka Punter has made a splendid start to his stud career. In his first season, he left 36 foals, and of these, he had 22 to the races halfway through their three-year-old season, and 16 were winners. Only 10 of Ohoka Punter’s first crop were not winners or placed.

Of five two-year-old starters this season, two were winners, including the Albion Park winner Sporty Zara (1:54.7).

From his first crop he sired a smart gelding in Ellis Street (1:52.3), a winner of 10 races including the $52,000 Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series 3YO Final, the QBred Triad 2YO heat winner Missed Consequences (1:56.4), Gem Punter Pete (1:55.1), Rockon Rocky (1:55.7) and a top filly in Firebolt (1:55.3), whose four successes include the $32,000 QBred for Life 2YO Final.

Ohoka Punter was a top racehorse, winning close to $1.2million, and he was a dual Derby champion and a nine-time Group winner.

On the score of blood, Ohoka Punter lacks nothing. His sire Bettor’s Delight (1:49.8) was a champion with stake earnings of $2.5million and has been the leading sire in both hemispheres for some time. Bettors Delight is the sire of two of Australasia’s greatest pacers in Lazarus and Leap To Fame.

Millwood Minisota, the dam of Ohoka Punter, has been one of the gems of the New Zealand stud book. She is the dam of eight individual winners, five of whom took records of better than 2:00, including Our Millwood Maizie (1:51.4), Ohoka Le Bron (1:55.8), and Captain Kobe (1:58.1).

An unraced sister to Ohoka Punter in Millwood Ivy is the dam of one of NSW’s leading three-year-old fillies this season, Millwood Bliss (1:53.2).

Millwood Minisota was by the great Christian Cullen (son of In The Pocket) from Millwood Annie, by Falcon Seelster and tracing to the NZ Oaks winner Ar Miss, whose family has come to the forefront as one of the leading broodmare lines in both Australia and NZ. 

This is the family that has produced the outstanding race mare and NZ Cup winner Armalight, Excel Stride (NSW Derby), the Hunter Cup winner Honolua Bay, Arma Xpress (2YO Filly of the Year), and the Miracle Mile hero Spankem (1:47.7).

Ohoka Punter has spent his entire career at Kevin and Kay Seymour’s  Egmont Park Stud, Biddeston, Queensland.





Breeding Viewpoint


Breed shaping stallion Washington VC has died after a possible heart attack at the age of 28. Washington VC was, of course, the sire of Im Themightyquinn NZ, Im Victorious. NZ, Report For Duty NZ, Hokonui Ben NZ, and Dasher VC.

At the age of 28, the Presidential Ball stallion Washington VC left an indelible mark on the horse racing world. His legacy is not just in the number of races won but also in the spirit of competition he instilled in his progeny. His offspring triumphed in 28 Group One races, a remarkable feat, a testament to his success as a sire.

His last foals are now three-year-olds.


South Australian 2023 Horse of the Year, Miss Idaho, made a triumphant return to racing at Globe Derby over the weekend. Starting her three-year-old career with a bang, she led from gate 1 and scored a victory by a significant margin of almost 10 metres.

The daughter of Ultimate Machete has now won seven of her eight starts after being initially passed in at the yearling sales. Prominent South Australian owner Frank Borg purchased the filly after the sale from breeders Garry and Melva Graham.


Over in the West, Waverider, a leading WA Derby hope, proved his mettle. The son of Downbytheseaside, trained by Ryan Bell and driven by Kyle Symington, emerged victorious in the $50,000 Group 3 3YO Pearl Classic. This win adds to his impressive record, with six wins and three seconds from just 11 starts.

Waverider sat parked outside stablemate Franco Encore and was too classy, posting his sixth win (with three seconds) from just 11 starts.

Waverider was a $60,000 purchase from the 2022 APG Perth Sale.


The APG Victorian Gold Bullions winners were Perpetuity (American Ideal) in the fillies bred and owned by the Benstud Team, and the colts and gelding final went to Soho Spectre (Art Major), owned by his breeder west Australian Rob Watson


We need something like this to get people interested in Breeding.

Breeding needs young people to get involved.


Now, before you all go, say that some studs have stallion parades.

Yes, I’ve seen some studs hosting stallion parades. But how many are actively engaging and showcasing their stallions to secure bookings? This is not just a marketing strategy, but a way to highlight the unique contributions of each stallion and the breeders and trainers behind them. It’s time for us to step up and actively participate in the industry we love.

The world is rapidly evolving. Breeders, our pillars, are aging, reducing their involvement, and even leaving us. The need for young blood in all three crucial areas-ownership, training, and breeding-has never been more pressing.

Imagine the possibilities if we could showcase the multifaceted aspects of breeding, such as collection, to these syndicate groups. By inviting them to bring their clients to an open day, we could ignite a spark of interest in the younger generation, potentially revitalising our industry.

Other avenue’s in harness racing, which is ripe with opportunities for young breeders. However, it’s crucial that we catch up in terms of education and breeding opportunities.

Our thoroughbred cousins do this well with scholarships and programs that allow young people to enter the breeding industry, like Fast Start. By providing similar resources in harness racing, we can empower and inform the next generation of breeders.

Harness Racing Australia collects levies on shuttle stallions and frozen seamen that they put towards one race, which has caused studmasters and breeders alike to complain. However, I’m sure the noise would settle down if this money was used to promote breeding scholarships.

Government funding would also be available to promote such programs.

With breeders, we have foals, racing stock, and turnover. It’s that simple.

Without them, we have none.

Nutrien is about to launch its Winter Wollies online sale, with over 100 lots. I’m sure there will be some lovely broodmares in that sale, even some already in foal. That’s an excellent place to start if you want to get involved.