Heytesbury Stud, one of Australia's most influential thoroughbred breeding operations, is shutting its doors.
Heytesbury Holdings director Paul Holmes a Court said yesterday that next month's Perth Magic Millions sale would be the last time yearlings from the historic Keysbrook nursery would be sold at auction.
Studmaster Dennis Tilbrook will offer eight yearlings by the stud's current sires Saxon and Husson Lightning.
"It's obviously a difficult decision on a personal level, having watched my father, mother and grandmother develop Heytesbury Stud from scratch," Holmes a Court said.
"I'm retaining our racing colours, an interest in new stallion Ouqba, and certainly won't be selling the farm, but 2013 was our last breeding season.
"From a business level it was not a hard decision.
"The industry needs a huge injection of investment to bring the bloodstock side up to be competitive and I guess I am not prepared to do it.
"If I am not prepared to do it then should I be in it?
"We still have the infrastructure at Heytesbury and who knows what may happen in the future?
"My father did things that had never been done before and might never happen again."
The late Robert Holmes a Court launched Heytesbury in 1971, with the dream of breeding his own Melbourne Cup winner.
Holmes a Court bought Silver Knight, that year's Melbourne Cup winner, to be his foundation sire and the Victorian mare Brenta was among his foundation broodmare band.
Black Knight, the offspring from the coupling of Silver Knight and Brenta, delivered Holmes a Court the 1984 Melbourne Cup.
Holmes a Court raced Australian Horse of the Year Family Of Man, who won two Kingston Town Classics, Chanteclair, Lawman, Boardwalk Angel and a host of other stars.
He was widely criticised when he decided to stand Haulpak, who had one front leg in a special brace after falling on a road near Ascot.
But the son of Dignitas rose to become WA's greatest sprinting sire, producing a horde of winners, including the outstanding sister and brother Hold That Smile and Carry A Smile, who both won WA Horse of the Year titles. Carry A Smile followed in his sire's footsteps and stood at Heytesbury.
Holmes a Court brought the immortal Golden Slipper winner Pago Pago as an elderly sire to stand at Keysbrook. He also imported US Group 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile winners Success Express and Is It True and Californian sprint star Zabaleta.
Holmes a Court bought Australia's most expensive yearling in 1981 when he paid $825,000 for Luskin Star colt Paint The Stars.
"I was in Melbourne at that time (1980s), but Heytesbury Stud was well known around the country because of the exploits of Robert," Thoroughbred Breeders' WA president Ian Riley said.
"It came as a shock, surprise and sadness that it is closing. It is a sad time for Paul because I know his passion for the stud and for the industry."
·Leading apprentice Jerry Noske will take a week off after injuring an arm in a fall at the Belmont Park trials on Monday.
" a difficult decision on a personal level From a business level it was not a hard decision." "Heytesbury Holdings director *Paul Holmes a Court *