Proud breeders of 2016/17 QTIS Horse of the Year PARADIS IMPERIAL

The distinguished history of Gainsborough Lodge revolves around two very prominent men: Alfred Grant and Col Richards.

Grant was known as the `shy man of real estate' and accumulated a substantial fortune from his various agricultural endeavours and property development.  In the late 1960s, he focused on horse racing and breeding and embarked on a vision of establishing one of the finest horse studs in the country.

Early in the 1970s Grant built up Gainsborough Lodge, near Toowoomba, into an elaborate breeding property, importing the expensive stallions Beau Brummel, Charlton and Rock Roi. By 1974, inclusive of the Wellcamp property, it was the largest and possibly best-equipped stud in the Southern Hemisphere with an airstrip, a horse hospital and an all-weather training track alongside architecturally designed breeding barns and training stables. In 1976 Grant sold more than one hundred yearlings.

In 1974 Alfred Grant Holdings ran into severe financial difficulties and by March 1977 three subsidiaries collapsed with Grant declaring himself bankrupt. Gainsborough Lodge was liquidated and a dispersal sale of the thoroughbred stock was held on 11-12 July.  A total of 273 lots were offered in addition to his three champion stallions, with Gainsborough Lodge subsequently suffering a lack of impetus and direction until Col Richards acquired the establishment in 1991.

The eighties had seen Col Richards already begin to leave a significant imprint on Queensland thoroughbred racing and breeding through his involvement with the then prominent Rosemount Farm establishment at Beenleigh, south of Brisbane, as well as through his association with Magic Millions Sales as a founding member of the company.

It was also the eighties that saw Col Richards enjoy his first major Group 1 success as an owner when Hooplahannah carried his green and orange racing colours to victory in the 1983 STC Rosemount Wines Classic, a coveted event better known as the Coolmore Classic these days.

Richards proceeded to make Gainsborough Lodge his bloodstock headquarters for close on 25 years, until his passing in the first half of 2015. For quarter of a Century the larger-than-life character was to be regarded as a pillar of the Sunshine State's thoroughbred industry, as well as the driving force behind the highly-regarded Brisbane Bloodstock Sales company.

The name of Col Richards is also inevitably associated with the dual Group 1 winning racehorse Oliver Twist. A son of the former Gainsborough Lodge resident stallion Alex Nureyev (USA), this top-class galloper won a series of Group 1, 2, 3 and Listed events across Australia. His 46 starts netted $1.3 million in prizemoney accrued through 14 wins, eight seconds and five thirds that included victories in the VRC LKS Mackinnon Stakes (G1), VATC Underwood Stakes (G1), VRC Blamey Stakes (G2) and VATC Coongy Handicap (G3).

All told, Col Richards’ involvement with the Queensland thoroughbred industry spanned close to 50 years and it is by no means destined to end in the short-term despite his sad passing. His famous RF brand — initiated four decades ago during his days as proprietor of Rosemount Farm — is to be perpetuated by his daughter Melinda as she strives to emulate her father's vast level of achievement.

Stud Manager CHRISTINE FROHLOFF 0429 140 942