AFTER forty years of dedication across two hemispheres, advising the best Thoroughbred operations in Australia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Asia, Henry Plumptre has received the honour of the 2014 Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association (HTBA) President's Award for lifetime achievement at the HTBA awards evening at Scone last month.
Born in England, Mr Plumptre is managing director of the Australian operations of Darley, a world power in Thoroughbred racing and breeding owned by His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the UAE.
Mr Plumptre's Australian sojourn began in 1977 when he began work on the historic Widden stud in the Widden Valley alongside Antony Thompson's now deceased father Bim Thompson.
During his time as Darley's Australian chief, Mr Plumptre has presided over a breeding, training and racing team yielding results including the 2010-11 and 2012-13 champion Australian sires with Lonhro and Exceed And Excel; champion Australian broodmares Accessories and Dextrous; and champion Australian juvenile Sepoy.
Mr Plumptre's dedication and determination to preserve Australia's renowned Thoroughbred breeding grounds in the Hunter Valley also found him in the protest march at the 2012 Sydney May Day Rally (along with thousands of people) to make the State government more aware of the incursion of mining in the region.
Martin Byrne, instrumental in fostering the development of some of Hunter Valley's leading stud farms, was honoured with the Murray Bain Services Award.
Originally from County Wexford in Ireland, Mr Byrne has also mentored and developed many industry leaders.
Shortly after arriving in South Australia in 1981, Mr Byrne moved to NSW to manage Gooree stud near Mudgee, then to Segenhoe stud in the Hunter Valley, which is now Vinery, a property with a history dating back to the 1820s.
Currently running his own broodmare and agistment property Wexford Farm on the Muswellbrook-Denman Road, Mr Byrne has extended his ability to influence and shape the growth of industry leaders including Peter O'Brien (manager of the new Segenhoe stud, Scone), Craig Anderson (Amarina Farm, Denman), Andrew Baddock (manager of Gooree stud), Scott Holcombe (manager of Milburn Creek Thoroughbreds, Wildes Meadow), and Brian Nutt (Attunga stud, Scone).
Darley stud horses also featured in the four-legged awards with its unbeaten filly Earthquake (winner of the MRC Blue Diamond Stakes-G1) taking the Scone Race Club's champion juvenile filly, and four times Group One winner Guelph - the Pages Event Equipment champion three-year-old filly. Both fillies are daughters of Darley's champion sire Exceed And Excel.
Widden stud's 2008 Golden Slipper winning stallion Sebring, sired first crop three-year-old Group One winner Dissident, who was awarded the Equilaw champion three-year-old colt.
The JG Goldner Champion racehorse went to sprinter Lankan Rupee, while his sire Redoute's Choice (which stands at Arrowfield stud, Scone), was awarded the Inglis champion HTBA sire.
Fastnet Rock colt Zululand was the International Animal Health champion two-year-old, while Zabeel matron Regard (dam of Atlantic Jewel and Commanding Jewel) was crowned the Scone Equine Hospital champion broodmare.
I Am Invincible, who stands at the Mitchell family's Yarraman Park, Scone, was the HTBA Kentucky Equine Research champion first season sire. By champion European sire Invincible Spirit (by Danzig's Green Desert), I Am Invincible has sired 15 winners including five stakes winners and three stakes placegetters to date.