Renowned bloodstock authority Brian Russell celebrated his 80th birthday with a huge cast of friends and relations at Muswellbrook last weekend.
Russell was born at Trundle in western New South Wales on 21 September 1930, six weeks before Phar Lap won the Melbourne Cup. After a short stint working on the land, he has spent nearly 60 years as a journalist and is still an active industry contributor.
He initially worked on country newspapers at Coonabarabran and Wyong before joining NSW Country Life where he took charge of the thoroughbred section in 1963.
In 1971, Racetrack Magazine owner Arthur Thorn head-hunted Russell to edit its bloodstock section. Those were the days when Racetrack and Turf Monthly were the only national media outlets for the breeding industry. A decade later, Brian branched out and established the Australian Bloodhorse Review, now known under different ownership as Bluebloods.
Brian and his wife Deidree, who a relation of celebrated jockey Jack Purtell, live at Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley. He continues to publish weekly breeding newsletters for the industry. His son Ian is also in the racing media as a long time employee of AAP Racing.