Congratulations to veteran Dubbo-based stock and station agent Peter Milling, who received the Order Of Australia Medal on the King's Birthday for services to the livestock industry.
Mr Milling has had a life-long association with livestock after joining his grandfather's stock and station agency soon after school, which was based at Dunedoo; the now 100-plus year old company having offices in Dubbo and Wellington.
But he also had a passion for Thoroughbreds.
In 1971 Mr Milling became the first secretary of the Western Districts Blood Horse Breeders Association (now defunct) with its 14-strong committee initiating a Thoroughbred sale at Dubbo and conducted by Peter Milling, Son and Company.
This commenced in March of the following year, comprising 85 mixed lots, and continued annually until its final yearling auction in January 2017.
My position at The Land (since 1990) with this column lent itself to my involvement with Peter Milling and Company's live auctions, of which I attended numerous, primarily at Dubbo - for yearlings and then a mixed sale in July.
I next travelled to Peter Milling and Company's other yearling sales at Wagga Wagga, the National Capital Yearling Sale at Canberra, Goulburn, and Hawkesbury - each lasting for varying periods and all held at racecourses.
There were also a few on-site property horse auctions, which included Mr Milling wheeling his gavel at its Hardwicke Stud Bloodstock mixed sale, Yass, then owned by Laurie and Philippa Morgan, as well as one for the performance horses at El Caballo Blanco on the outskirts of western Sydney.
Through these times, Mr Milling also enjoyed many successful outings, racing his own horses and savouring winning moments, along with his late wife Toni, which included a favourite home-bred Vibrant Citadel.
The grey mare won six races (including in Sydney) when trained by Leanne Aspros at Bathurst.
The Eva Langworthy-trained Milyarm and another home-bred Vibrant Spring were other memorable favourites.
"The greatest passion in his life has always been racing," Mr Milling's daughter Gaby Milling said.
"Every Saturday, he sits in the loungeroom at home watching the races, and he will pick out the best looking horse, and invariably that horse will win or place."
Queensland in front
Arrowfield Stud's sire Snitzel heads the champion Australian sires' list for two-year-old earnings with 15 juvenile winners - his chief contributor being Golden Slipper Stakes-G1 winner Shinzo.
However, Queensland champion sire Spirit Of Boom leads the way via the number of two-year-old winners in 2022/23 with 23, which equalled his impressive 2021/22 haul.
Standing at the McAlpine family's Eureka Stud at Cambooya, Spirit Of Boom progeny earned $1.7 million for the 2022/23 season, his major contributor Miss Coota, adding $294,000 to the tally.
By outstanding Australian-bred sire Sequalo, Spirit Of Boom was an immediate stud hit to become champion Australian first season sire for winners, siring 18 two-year-old winners, including five stakes winners in 2017/18.
While fourth on the leading Australian sires of two-year-olds with earnings at $3.27 million, another Queenslander, Better Than Ready, sired 20 winners (2022/23), including this year's Magic Millions Gold Coast Two-Year-Old Classic winner, Skirt The Law.
By More Than Ready, Better Than Ready stands at the Kruger families Lyndhurst Stud at Warwick.
Like Spirit Of Boom, Better Than Ready found immediate stud success - each becoming Queensland's champion first season sire in successive seasons, Spirit Of Boom retired to stud in 2014, while Better Than Ready retired in 2015.
In the 2021/22 season, Better Than Ready was the champion Australian sire of two-year-olds for winners, siring 25 winners.
In Europe, Coolmore Stud's high-profile shuttler, Justify, recently sired a two and three-year-old group one winner. While in Australia, the three-year-old US Triple Crown winner took the leading first season sires' title, his major earner being Learning To Fly.
These results will assure that Justify progeny will be "hot property" at next year's major Australasian yearling sales.