Harris family's last link with Holbrook stud cut

  An association by the Harris family with much of the country at the south western end of the Widden Valley offshoot of the Hunter Valley which commenced over 150 years ago ended in March with the completion of the sale of their property named Holbrook Stud by Trevor and Elizabeth Alley. Elizabeth is a daughter of John Harris, one of the three sons of Bill Harris, himself a grandson of the original settler in the middle of the 18th century.

  The other brothers are Richard Harris, former secretary of the Muswellbrook race club, and Alan, the owner with wife Madge and daughter Julie of a prominent agistment and yearling preparation farm along the Pages river between Scone and Gundy in the Hunter valley.

  The Harris family sold the bulk of the Holbrook Stud, one bisected by the Widden brook and stretching back to the mountains, late in the 1990s. This left the Alleys with the holding they traded on under the banner of Holbrook Stud on the northern side of the creek and portion of the former neighbouring Oakleigh Stud.This farm has now been secured by the Paynters, the buyers earlier of the Holbrook homestead block, one on which they grow cattle.

  The Harris family bred hundreds of good horses over the years on Holbrook for themselves or clients including Easingwold (after winning the Western Australian Derby and St Leger appeared in the first two runnings of the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley, following a second in 1922 with a win the following year), Even Better (three Group1s in Sydney at four, the All-Aged Stakes, Epsom Handicap, Rawson Stakes), Castanea (12 wins included STC Rosehill Guineas-Gr.1, QTC Stradbroke Handicap-Gr.1), Persian Lyric (four Group1 wins at three, AJC Derby, QTC Queensland Derby, Stradbroke Handicap, STC Canterbury Guineas), Jane Hero (AJC Oaks-Gr.1), Lord Dudley (VRC Sires' Produce Stakes-Gr.1, Australian Cup-Gr.1, MRC Blue Diamond Stakes-Gr.1, Poetic King (MRC VicHealth Cup-Gr.1, Toorak Handicap-Gr.1, MVRC Manikato Stakes-Gr.1) and Prince Darius (Sydney Tattersall's Chelmsford Stakes-Gr.2 twice, Tattersall's Gold Cup; second at three in the Melbourne Cup and to Tulloch in the AJC and VRC Derbys), to mention a few.

  Even Better, Castanea, Persian Lyric, Jane Hero and Prince Darius were all by the most successful of the many sires used at Holbrook, Persian Book, an England bred son of Pherozshah, a close relation to Nasrullah and Royal Charger who won two races at Newmarket in a six start career. His son Persian Lyric also stood at Holbrook and, although he died in mid age, supplied more good horses out of their paddocks including Regal Jane (successful at Randwick in the AJC Queen's Cup, Summer Cup and Tattersall's Cup).