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    Honourees at the top of the tree after 57 years’ of ‘Success’ Honourees at the top of the tree after 57 years’ of ‘Success’

    WINNERS: Mary (left) and Jackie Gibson after a win at Tabcorp Park Menangle.

    IT’S a legacy unmatched in harness racing. And thanks to Jackie and Mary Gibson, it may continue for many more decades to come. So... Honourees at the top of the tree after 57 years’ of ‘Success’

    IT’S a legacy unmatched in harness racing.

    And thanks to Jackie and Mary Gibson, it may continue for many more decades to come.

    So it was a fitting tribute to these stalwarts of the industry that the Gibson family have been named the honourees for this year’s 10-day Bathurst Gold Crown carnival.

    The late John Gibson will forever be remembered for his efforts in the breeding industry.

    And fortunately his wife Mary and daughter Jackie have carried on that tradition in grand style with their remarkable work through their now-famous Success Stud at Young.

    It’s a ‘success’ story never before seen in the industry. And it began with 50 acres bought by the Gibsons 30 years ago.

    It’s possibly the only time in John and Mary Gibson’s life that they really were heading in the wrong direction.

    This amazing couple were driving up and down the wrong street when they stumbled on what was to become Success Stud.

    John said to Mary: ‘look there is a for sale sign’.

    Mary said ‘no, too big we are not going to buy it’.

    So naturally, John turned in to have a look. And after some negotiation, they bought the property.

    It was quite the journey for the Gibsons, who had been operating a farm at Oakey in Queensland with 600 acres.

    John was a pioneer in importing stallions to Australia. In fact he was involved in importing at least 72 horses into Australia, including stallions.

    The Gibsons got to know the Young district through working with Eric and Roy Harpley and had visited the region as both John and Mary had become experts at working on stud farm fertility rates.

    Mary also owned a stallion named Walton Hanover.

    The plan in moving to Young was to potter around with a few horses. It never quite worked out that way.

    When they first moved down from Brisbane they spent six months at the farm ‘kicking back’ in their own words until Mary decided she needed to get a job.

    She did that and worked in Young for a while and returned to the farm when things began to crank up.

    The first year at Young they had 17 mares and even that was a change from Brisbane where they had 42 yearlings go to one yearling sale, which took an awful lot of trucks and loading and unloading.

    Jackie explained that it was a ‘slow burn’ when they got to Young, where they had three stallions at one stage.

    But Mary was a marvellous horsewoman and John just loved working with horses and was happy to do that well past his planned retirement.

    Jackie? Well, she was simply born into the horse industry.

    Success Stud was the first group to introduce AI into breeding.

    Initially Queensland harness racing refused to let it go ahead, but came out and after a demonstration accepted that it could be done securely and professionally.

    The notion of transporting semen from one property to another was considered to be rather foreign.

    In the United States it had been happening quite a bit, but Australia still hadn’t accepted it as a practise.

    In the early days, when it began, they used to collect semen from for example some of the Dumesny stallions and Jackie would drive to Forbes, halfway, collect the semen and take it back.

    Then they began to import semen; under the rules in Australia you can only use semen for a horse up to two years after their death.

    Nowadays you see embryo transfers and semen transported from the best stallions from all over the world.

    Jackie is a fan of two embryos per season. It happens in a lot in other breeding areas .

    Success Stud received a jolt when John passed away in 2015.

    He had a cough for a while and they were on holidays and Jackie encouraged him to get to a doctor to see what it was all about and it turned out to be lung cancer.

    John had radiation treatment for some time, but it did nothing to lift his spirits.

    Here was a man who enjoyed a feed and when he lost his sense of taste it made things extremely difficult.

    So, on to 2016, their first season without John – and both Mary and Jackie found it particularly challenging.

    Jackie admitted she was full of self-doubt.

    Even now she wants to stop and give John a call to get some advice.

    Still, she was particularly appreciative of the support she received from Tony Dumesny. who she described as her backbone and someone she could always turn to.

    Now, after 57 years involved in the business, it is nice to see Success Stud and the Gibson family recognised – and celebrated – at Bathurst this year.

    LEGEND: The late John Gibson.

    BATHURST GOLD CROWN HONOUR ROLE:

    1990 – Jimmy Caffyn

    1991 – Kevin Newman

    1992 – George Gath

    1993 – Jack Honan, Bill Wise and Noel Simpson

    1994 – Tony Turnbull

    1995 – Don Clough

    1996 – Brian Hancock

    1997 – Ken Dyer

    1998 – Harry Pearce

    1999 – Mick Lombardo

    2000 – John Tapp

    2001 – Wayne and Anne Lamb

    2002 – Dennis Wilson

    2003 – Ken Brown AM

    2004 – Bob McArdle

    2005 – The Jack family

    2006 – The Manning family

    2007 – The Dumesny family

    2008 – Chris Gray

    2009 – Steve Turnbull

    2010 – The Fitzpatrick family

    2011 – Jayne Davies and Noel Alexander

    2012 – The Hando Family

    2013 – Doug and Janet Moore

    2014 – John Coffey

    2015 – Chris Alford

    2016 – The McCarthy Family

    2017 – Kevin Thompson

    2018 – Peter and Marie Neil

    2019 – Bernie and Cath Hewitt

    2020 – Colin and Cheryl McDowell

    2021 – Bernie Kelly and Bruce Harpley

    2022 – Michael Formosa

    2023 – Leigh, Ray and Brett Davis

    2024 – The Gibson family

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