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Bells toil for better times - Harness - Racehorse TALK

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O.P. « 2018-Oct-04, 05:53 PM »
Bells toil for better times

WORKING TO HELP: Peter and Leean Bell with a Hurrikane Kingcole filly born at Egmont Park Stud this week; Mr Feelgood wins the Cranbourne Cup in 2011 (below left); and Majestic Mach in action (below right).

PETER and Leean Bell have had one ambition since taking over at Egmont Park Stud in the Toowoomba region – to make breeding in the harness racing industry as affordable as possible.

With the ravages of the drought crippling the Queensland and NSW rural sectors, the couple work overtime doing whatever they can to support owners and breeders to remain in the industry.

They believe unless they protect the breeding industry in Queensland now, irreparable damage will be done.

“This is the worst drought I have seen in all my years,” Peter said.

The Bells are country people through and through.

Born in 1960 in the town of Miles, 300km northwest of Brisbane, Peter grew up with his two brothers and sister on the family property running cattle and sheep, and farming crops.

Later, Peter managed the livestock on the family properties as well as breaking in and shoeing. His talents didn’t end there, as he turned his hand to wool classing and even ran a sawmill for a time.

During this time, Peter married and had three children who all became involved with the local pony clubs.

Sharing management duties with her husband is Leean.

Born in Nanango in 1961, she is one of eight siblings. Her parents lived in town where her father was the local barber.

From an early age Leean had a love of horses. Until she could afford her own horse, she rode other people’s for them, exercising pony club horses, campdraft horses and preparing show horses.

She also educated kids’ ponies, with people coming from all around for her services.

Working as a teacher’s aide for 12 years, she met Peter through the Biddeston State School where he was president of the P&C Association.

In 1996 Peter became farm manager at Egmont Park Stud, looking after the crops, all farm maintenance, fencing, weanling and yearling preparation.

This continued until 2002 when the stud was sold after the death of resident stallion Perfect Art. Peter then left and became production manager at an engineering works.

Peter and Leean tied the knot on December 2, 2006.

Later that month Peter took on the role of private stud manager offered by Kevin and Kay Seymour at Goldrush Lodge, adjoining Egmont Park.

A year later Leean left the Education Department to join Peter full-time, travelling to Victoria to complete a breeding and reproduction course.

The Seymours later acquired Egmont Park Stud, with the two properties together totalling more than 728ha.

“Kevin and Kay Seymour are wonderful people in general but as employers they are the best,” Peter said.

“What they do year-in, year-out for the harness racing industry is incredible.”

Leean listed the breeding of Group 1 winner Majestic Mach and the arrival of stallion Mr Feelgood as some of the highlights of their career at Egmont Park.

Majestic Mach suffered only one defeat in his first 25 starts, and that was at the hands of champion Lennytheshark in the NSW Pacers Derby.

Egmont Park now boasts well-credentialed stallions in Mr Feelgood, Gotta Go Cullect and Hurrikane Kingcole. There are about 200 horses, including broodmares, foals, weanlings, yearlings and agisting race horses.

With no drought levy in place, the Bells have resisted increasing agistment charges.

“If we fail to do anything now it could have a far reaching effect on our industry,” Peter said.

“For the owners who can’t afford a lot of money to stay in the breeding industry, we have priced Gotta Go Cullect very well and are giving breeders $2000 free agistment and up to $1000 free vet fees for mares on the farm.”

The Bells love living at Egmont Park and being involved in all facets of the harness racing industry.

CM story today.

GiddY Up :beer: