Workyard at Syrah

The Syrah human family consists of me, Vanessa Crosland, my partner Michael Liapakis, and our children Spencer and Evan.

Stables at SyrahThe property at Bullengarook was acquired in December 2001 and has been set up as the perfect environment for our beautiful Arabians. The horses enjoy large pasture improved paddocks, sheltered by the old cypresses on the property. The stable block contains 12 stables, tack room, a hot and cold wash bay and self-contained accommodation. The stables adjoin the free lunging yard and full size dressage arena, together with ten large yards up to one acre in size.

Syrah had its genesis some 35 years ago when as a horse-mad child I declared 'when I grow up I'm going to have an Arabian Horse Stud'. I was captivated by the first pictures I saw of Arabians and when I met them at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, in the days before specialist Arabian shows.

Sam on Misty My first pony was the versatile part Arabian pony, Elmridge Misty, who excelled at sporting, jumping, eventing, hacking and dressage. She passed away in 2007 at the venerable age of 32. That's Misty Samantha Liapakis is riding (left).

A thoroughbred and a warmblood for competition riding then followed, however, in early 1988, I acquired the then yearling filly Cherox Miguela, of Egyptian, Spanish and Crabbet bloodlines, to give me an interest when my sister, Verity Smith, of Elmridge Stud, showed her Anglo Arabian. Miguela was subsequently shown lightly (and surprisingly successfully given her owner's complete inexperience in Arabian showing) and broken in. She has also proved to be an exceptional broodmare, particularly with Sarezin. Our senior stallion, Madaan, is her oldest Sarezin son.

Vanessa with SarikaThe stud really commenced with the acquisition of Sarika in 1992. Sarika was an incredibly beautiful mare who had dominated the show ring from her debut as a yearling in 1979. She was Supreme Exhibit at the Victorian Classic AA class show twice, including as a yearling, and Supreme Female Exhibit four times, as well as an Australian National Championships Top Ten Mare twice on both occasions first on the International Judges cards. Every single foal bred by Syrah descends from Sarika.(The photo at left was taken when I first met her.)

Sarika had also produced two Australian National Champions, Malmsbury Samira and Malmsbury Sami. She had long been a "poster girl" for me, so when she became available and after a lot of financial stretching, she joined the stud. Elmridge acquired her daughter, Malmsbury Samira, at the same time. Unfortunately Syrah has only one surviving daughter from Sarika – Salida. Salida however, as well as being the first foal for the stud, also has first place in my affections and had a wonderful show career before becoming a superlative broodmare. Salida has created her own dynasty at Syrah and is the dam of our young super sire Valor , Australian National Champion and East Coast Champion Valouria and multi Champion and top producer Shakeelah.

Valouria at Syrah, BullengarookThe third mare acquired by the stud was Amira El Marieshaah, acquired as a ten year old in late 2000. I had first seen Marieshaah as a yearling, and had loved her. She had a very successful show career as a young horse, and was also awarded East Coast Top 5. She has produced three wonderful and highly successful Sarezin foals for us, including our young stallion Antaarez, and our lovely young show star, Aviva, by Valor.

Kajora and Tarlea Ellabrandi (Brandi) joined us in 2004. I first saw Brandi, as a nine month old filly and was struck by her beauty and presence. While looking at Brandi, I asked to see her dam, Karisma and her dams full sister, Kajora. Kajora captivated me, and she came home as well. Both mares have produced extremely well for us, with Kajora producing the multi Supreme Khadar by Sarezin and Brandi three lovely foals including the extraordinary Eklipse by Valor.

We are always looking for the next step, and on a trip to the US in 2004, I met the wonderful World Champion and US National Reserve Champion Stallion, Gazal Al Shaqab. I went back in 2005 and saw his foals and was convinced that this was the right stallion for our program. Gazal is of course also a sire of significance.His progeny includes the World and US National Champions Marwan Al Shaqab and Pianissima As semen was not available for Australia, the search for the right son commenced.

That search ended with Azteq LBA (imp US) who arrived in February 2007. Azteq’s dam is the very beautiful US National Champion Amelia B. Amelia B is by the US National Champion Magnum Psyche. Her dam is Amety B, who as well as being a successful show mare herself, is a daughter of US National Champion Eternety. Amety B is also the dam of the US National Champion Yearling Filly, Goddess of Marwan.

Azteq is exactly what you would expect from his illustrious pedigree and we look forward to his contribution to the Syrah breeding program.

Valouria and the yards at Syrah (Photos Michael Liapakis)

Yards at Syrah seen from the stableblock

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