SEPTEMBER 7 marks the ninetieth birthday of an icon of the horse sales rostrum, the still active David Coles of Adelaide. David earned tremendous respect from buyers and vendors for his courtesy, entertainment and discernment in the heady days of South Australian yearling sales in the 1960s and 70s.
It was an era in which leading buyers from around Australia flocked to the Adelaide yearling sales, a series at that time conducted at the city's Wayville showgrounds, to take advantage of a big upsurge in the quality of South Australian breeding.
Spearheading the era, one which saw the emergence studs such as Colin Hayes established Lindsay Park, Jim O'Connor's Milluna and the Brown's Narrung, as rivals to the leaders of New South Wales and Victoria was David Coles, the then youthful head of the family's long established Adelaide bloodstock sales firm, Coles Bros.
The firm subsequently conducted the sales as part of pastoral service giant Dalgetys with David Coles as the manager until South Australian breeders formed a marketing organisation under the banner of Australian Breeders Co-operative Society Ltd.
The management team for the ABCOS Sixth National Yearling Sale in 1985 read like a who's who of bloodstock marketing. It included David Coles (Chief Executive), Neil Bowden (sales), Adrian Hancock (auctions) and Kevin Dagg (Melbourne manager).
Adrian Hancock went on to be ABCOS general manager before branching out on his own as a bloodstock agent. Bowden (international) and Dagg (Victoria) are also prominent agents. Others who gained wisdom under David Coles included Peter Heagney (a director of Inglis and their Melbourne manager), Simon Vivian (Inglis auctioneer and consultant), John Brown (Sydney bloodstock agent), John Foote (Brisbane agent), Philllipa Duncan (bloodstock agent), Duncan Grimley (principle of Glastonbury Farms, a breeding and agistment operation near Scone, and John Singleton's bloodstock manager), David Bridgland (bloodstock agent and Adelaide Sky Racing representative), Alastair Pulford (Darley Nominations Manager), Adam White (Vinery) and trainers Wayne Hawkes (Sydney), David Jolly (Adelaide) and David Hall (England).
In recent years David Coles has had an office in the Magic Millions Adelaide complex and been involved as consultant with the Sangster's Swettenham Stud Australian breeding and racing interests, initially with its founder, the late Robert Sangster, and then his son Adam. Owner of the Swettenham stud at Nagambie in Victoria, Adam Sangster is one of Australia's most progressive studmasters.
Besides his big involvement in South Australian breeding, David Coles has been a leading racing administrator, including being Chairman of the South Australian Jockey Club from1984 to 1989. He is a Life Member.
For his services to breeding and racing David Coles is a recipient of the Australia Medal (AM) and the prestigious Morphettville Equine Clinic Matrice Award. Awarded annually and bestowed this year on Adrian Hancock, the Matrice is presented to a person, organisation or a horse in the thoroughbred industry for outstanding contributions to the South Australian industry. - Brian Russell Media