Hunter Valley farewells Peter Flynn

Ground-breaking horseman Peter Flynn has died in the Hunter Valley.

Flynn, 68, had been ill for some time but during a lifetime in thoroughbreds put together a long list of career achievements and milestones.

Foremost among them was 18 years as manager of Lionel Israel’s famed Segenhoe Stud and 23 years as general manager of the Ingham family’s Woodlands Stud operation.  That affiliation continued as consultant to Darley Australia.

However, that was only a part of the story.  Peter’s CV also included a the redevelopment of Blandford Park which become known as Emirates Park.

He was a foundation member of the Hunter Valley Equine Research Foundation and served on the councils and committees of the Rural Industry Research and Development Council, the Australian Horse Council quarantine and health committee and the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

He was honoured by the HTBA with a “service to the industry” award in 2006.

Flynn was also involved in an advisory capacity with Mitavite feeds as well as lecturing to students at agricultural colleges, universities and TAFEs.  He was also in demand on the international arena as a consultant in Bangkok, South Korea and China between 1997 to 2003.

Peter and his partner Kath Peterson bred and trained many champion quarter horses and, displaying his exceptional versatility, grew chardonnay, semillon and verdelho grapes which were sold to Rosemount Wines.

Peter moved with the times by being involved in the development of “Studmaster”, a computer software program used by leading thoroughbred studs under the name of Equimaster.

Reflecting on his life in the industry in a recent interview, Flynn said he was fortunate growing up on a mixed farm at Manildra in NSW.  “My mother and father both had a wonderful touch with horses.  At the time I left school, my father thought the rural situation was very tough and he believed I should try something different.

“I worked for an electrical contractor and then, a little while later, I went into banking, and that helped give me a broader knowledge which enabled me to put my hand to a number of things.”

After being seconded to CBA’s head office in Canberra, he was appointed as head of security and assistant manager but, before long, the desire to work with horses attracted him back to the land.

In 1967, a golden opportunity arose when he was able to join the workforce at the famed Segenhoe Stud on the Pages River near Scone.  It was run by Lionel Israel who was one of the most revered identities in the Australian thoroughbred breeding industry.

Three years after Peter’s arrival, Kaoru Star joined the stud’s roster.  By the legendary Star Kingdom, he became Champion first-season sire in 1973-74 and Champion 2YO Sire in 1976-77 when his representatives featured champion sprinter Luskin Star.

“I was very fortunate to have worked with Lionel.  He was a self-made businessmen and was a great mentor.  It was my apprenticeship into the thoroughbred industry.”

Following Israel’s decision to retire in 1985, Flynn moved to Blandford Park Stud which was home to champion sire Twig Moss.

On completing his Blandford assignment, he was appointed general manager of Jack and Bob Ingham’s new operation at Woodlands Stud which was located about 25km west of Muswellbrook.

At that stage, Golden Slipper winner Crown Jester and Yeats (USA) comprised the stud’s main stallion roster.  During the next decade, the Inghams purchased Oak Range, Randwick Park and Trans Media Park as well leasing Carrington Stud.

“Although budgeting was essential Mr Jack and Mr Bob, as they were known by the staff, spared no expense in developing their thoroughbred enterprise.  Like their multi-billion dollar chicken business, they had a vision, and they developed their racing and breeding interests into a huge business, in which they took great pride.”

The Inghams bred such Group 1 winners as Lonhro, Arena, Dracula, Unworldly, Freemason, Higher, Tributes, Preserve, Gordo, Viscount and Yell and successful stallions such as Quest For Fame, Star Watch, Octagonal, Canny Lad and Commands, Strategic and Viscount all stood under the Woodlands banner.

“There is no doubt the Australian racing and breeding industries were very fortunate to have the support of the Ingham brothers, with their huge investments and passion.

“Old Woodlands consisted of about 690ha and the new Woodlands boasted 2500ha,” Flynn explained.  “The view as you drove over the crest at Woodlands would literally take your breath away and it’s a vision I will cherish until the day I die.”

Peter and Monty