As Telemon Thoroughbreds builds its brand in Australia, an experienced and passionate team of staff have been recruited to re-establish the Queensland property as a breeding ground of champion race horses.
Heading up operations is General Manager Joe Heather who has accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge in his career from his race track upbringing, formative years in the Hunter Valley and at some other Queensland thoroughbred operations Glenlogan Park, Patinack Farm and River Junction.
Today Joe leads a small, close-knit team at Telemon Thoroughbreds, a 240-acre stud located at Innisplain on the banks of the Logan River in South East Queensland.
The Gold Coast born-and-bred horseman has overseen operations at Telemon since it was launched in June last year. Now he aspires to return the stud to past glories when it stood stallions such as Success Express, Written Tycoon, Bel Esprit and Mossman, and bred champions including Zoustar, Buffering and Gold Edition.
Joe credits his late father Jeff, who was a trainer at Gold Coast Turf Club, for providing him with the grounding he needed to start a career in the industry.
“It starts with Dad, a very old-fashioned country horseman who taught me a lot of basics,” said Joe.
“I used to spend my mornings and weekends down at the track with him so I caught the bug there.”
With his passion in thoroughbreds well and truly established as a teenager, Joe set out to gain as much experience as he could to forge a career in the industry.
“I started out as a work experience kid at Woodlands Stud in the Hunter Valley. I used to fly down there in the school holidays.
“After I graduated high school, I packed up the car, moved down there and started full-time.”
Joe reflects on his time at Woodlands as his most formative and acknowledges the contribution that the likes of the late Peter Flynn and Scott Holcombe, who were both at Woodlands then, had on his career.
“I still credit a lot of what I have learnt to my time at Woodlands and that experience is what I tap into everyday still.
“It was a fantastic operation and I was lucky to be educated by some very key people.”
At Woodlands during its transition to Darley, Joe’s role included working with the stallions and a roster that had the likes of Lonhro, Commands, Octagonal and Canny Lad.
“I have a massive soft spot for Lonhro from the time I used to look after him. He was a very intelligent horse to handle and a horse that got me hooked on the industry when I used to watch him racing.”
With opportunities back home in Queensland calling, Joe returned as part of the management team at Glenlogan Park before taking on a nominations and bloodstock role at Patinack Farm.
Then for four years leading up to starting at Telemon Thoroughbreds, Joe managed River Junction farm which had a boutique band of broodmares and race horses that were raced primarily with Tony Gollan.
“We had horses of the calibre of Whiskey Allround, a good homebred, and Looks Like The Cat and Traveston Girl, both group performed two and three-year-olds.
“It was a great ride and we bred some very nice horses that had some great sales success.”
These past relationships have helped Joe establish a strong client base already at Telemon Thoroughbreds.
“A lot of the River Junction mares will foal down with us and return back in foal. We’ll look after the foal’s conformation before they return to River Junction farm.
“Patinack is also where I developed a lot of the clients and broodmare owner contacts that I have today – a lot of them have been with me since then and am really thankful to them.
“Dan and Rae Fletcher (owners of Telemon Thoroughbreds) were actually some of those clients that I met during that time.”
After keeping in contact over the years, the Fletchers offered Joe the opportunity to run the farm for them – an opportunity Joe saw as a great fit for he and his family.
“My wife Beth runs the office and does the administration, and our two kids Lachlan and Sarah are mad keen about getting out of the house and onto the feed run with Dad.”
With his family loving life on the farm, Joe has a steely glare to bring sustained success to Telemon Thoroughbreds.
“The one common theme in this property’s history is constant success.
“That’s the feedback you get when you speak to trainers and bloodstock agents about horses coming from the property. They have a lot of confidence in the type of animal that can be bred and raised here.
“Our job is to provide the right bloodstock, run the property to the best of its ability and keep producing those horses.”
Already Joe and the owners Dan & Rae have been working on the development of a premium band of broodmares on the farm owned in partnership with clients.
“That’s our way of improving the level of our bloodstock and bringing our clients along on the journey.
“We continue to focus on improving the quality of the mares here and standing some more successful stallions as well.”