The late David Whishaw began his interest in breeding thoroughbreds in the mid 1960′s after he was given a broodmare as a birthday present – he aptly named her BIRTHDAY TREAT.
In anticipation of the introduction of the TAB to Tasmania and the belief that it would lead to a revival in Tasmanian racing, David decided to turn part of Armidale into a thoroughbred stud. Armidale’s first winner was PALADALE in 1964.
He leased a stallion called SAILOR’S REWARD who turned into a useful sire, but the breakthrough came when he was able to lease a horse called SANDASTRE. On the strength and success of SANDASTRE David was able to build up a band of broodmares, including the outstanding racemare PEPPINELLA, who was bred and raced by Armidale and won the Tasmanian Derby, Tasmanian Oaks, the Guineas and St Leger.
In 1971 David approached local businessman and family friend Robert Fergusson to join with him in financing an imported stallion for Armidale. SWALLOWTAIL II was the first of many stallions to stand at Armidale from Ireland and England. Successful sires to follow included POACHER”S MOON, ST BRIAVELS, ALIOCHA and in more recent times, LADONI, TOUGH SPEED and SAVOIRE VIVRE.
In the late 1980′s David’s third son Denis, took over the management of Armidale, and along with wife Robyn, worked hard to upgrade pastures, fences and the bloodlines of the stud mares. In the 1990′s Armidale began to market yearlings in Victoria, and over the years have built up a reputation for producing sound, well grown, attractive yearlings. Armidale Stud still holds the record for the highest priced yearling at the Inglis Autumn sale, when Denis sold an ENCOSTA DE LAGO colt for $215,000 in 2004.
Sadly, Denis died very prematurely in late 2004 just after turning 50, leaving wife Robyn and three young children with what had become the Tasmania’s leading stud. Robyn remains active in the operation of the farm and is also a board member of Tasracing.
Now 13 years on, the fourth generation of Whishaw’s are starting to make their mark on Armidale. Denis and Robyn’s eldest son David completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science Degree in Hobart, before coming home to Armidale to implement some of his ideas and take on the management and future of Armidale Stud. He is assisted on the stud and farm by his wife Rhiannon.
Daughter Camilla went to Melbourne to complete a four year Naturopathy degree. Since graduating from the Darley Flying Start she has spent time working at some leading hunter valley studs and has more recently developed her own business Optim Equine.
Youngest of the three, William, is a passionate farmer and is employed by leading Tasmanian company TAS ALKALOIDS as a field officer. In his spare time he assists on Armidale.
Over the past 50-years Armidale has been fortunate to stand stallions who have won the State’s Leading Sire and Two Year Old Sire on multiple occasions, including POACHER’S MOON, ST BRIAVELS, NORTHERN CHATEAU, WEASEL CLAUSE, BLESSINGTON, ALIOCHA, LADONI, and SAVOIRE VIVRE.
Armidale has won the Broodmare of the Year title on many occasions, more recently with mares including LA TOURELLE (dam of WEASEL WILL & DARTINGTON) FORGETFUL (NZ) (dam of MISLAID and NUCLEAR FREE), CARLOWE (dam of TRIPLE ASSET ) and QUEEN’S OWN (dam of LADY LYNETTE).
Each year the stud produces a constant stream of winners, including stakes performers Australia-wide. In recent years Armidale has produced LADY LYNETE (14 wins including Group 2 Blazer Stakes) LIKE A CAROUSEL (placed Group 1, Sydney Cup) TRIPLE ASSET (Group 3 TBV Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes & Group 3 Jansz at Morphetville) BLACK ‘N’ TOUGH (dual Listed winner) REBEL BRIDE (4 stakes wins including Group 3 Bow Mistress) GENUINE LAD (Group 3 Launceston Cup) and dual Newmarket winner HELLOVA STREET.
This season Armidale has produced the states leading two year old, a filly by first season sire Needs Further from Gehenna (by Ladoni) named PATEENA ARENA. She has won both the Listed Stakes Races for two year olds the Elwick Stakes and the Gold Sovereign Stakes.
The Armidale stallion roster is going from strength to strength with NEEDS FURTHER creating headlines with his first crop to hit the racetrack and the ultra good looking son of HIGH CHAPARRAL, ALPINE EAGLE joining the ranks in 2017.