Craiglea Stud is a name synonymous with Racing Queensland and is highly regarded as one of country racing’s longest serving and most ardent supporters. It’s also the birthplace of galloping superstars like international sprinting sensation and 9-time Group winner Falvelon, not to mention Queensland’s breakthrough Golden Slipper winner Calaway Gal. Even at their peak, Craiglea Stud is where these equine heroes came to recover and relax from their record breaking feats on the track.
The spelling and agistment of up to 400 racehorses at a time has always been the core business of this stunning 430 acre (174 hectare) property located on the picturesque Mary Rivers flats, 20 minutes inland from Noosa and just 90 minutes north of Brisbane. But the former dairy farm which was transformed into a heavenly haven for racehorses in the early 1980’s by owners Stan and Marilyn Johnston, has also developed a growing reputation in the breeding stakes for its loyal owners and currently stands 6 quality stallions. Craiglea was also home to the ill-fated stallion Moon Rocket whose breeding career ended much too early judging by the stunning results of his runners to hit the track so far.
The Johnston’s have also expanded into the racing game with their flashy blue and white crossed silks returning more and more often to the winners’ enclosure. Gallopers like Craiglea Warrior and Craiglea Charm have delivered the Johnston’s winning success around the state, including multiple city wins. With 30 of their own mares served by sprinting stallions, Craiglea’s goal is to breed early maturing 2 year olds to take advantage of Queensland’s new racing incentive scheme – the bottom line being to make or beat a break even target.
Craiglea Stud is a proud family run business steeped on service, loyalty and good old fashioned country traditions – home to today’s heroes and tomorrow’s superstars.
A Family History
Perched on the picturesque Mary River Flats with almost 5 kilometres (3 miles) of prime river frontage, Craiglea is perfectly positioned to reap the rich rewards bestowed by Mother Nature. With an average 1125 millimetres (45 inches) of annual rainfall in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Craiglea’s 430 acres remain lush all year round, ensuring ideal conditions for up to 400 horses at any one time – not to mention the stunning gardens greeting you upon arrival.
Purchased by Stan and Marilyn Johnston in 1974, Craiglea was originally a dairy farm. However in the early 1980’s the Johnston’s decided thoroughbreds would be a more profitable venture and so began the gradual transition to a successful new future in the Sport of Kings with Craiglea Stud and Spelling Complex officially opening its doors in 1984.
Hard work for more than two decades has been the catalyst for success. And you’d also have to go a long way down the track to find a more family orientated business than Craiglea with Stan, Marilyn and their 3 children – Jason, Wade and Krystle – all contributing to Craiglea’s continued growth as one of the shining jewels in Queensland Racing’s crown.
Everyone in the family has their own feed runs while Stan’s the man during breeding season, responsible for all the foaling down as well as general maintenance around the property and carting client’s horses all over the state. Marilyn is the brains trust in the operation, taking care of all the administrative duties and paperwork, as well as the crucial task of foal care. Eldest son Jason is the Stallion Manager and is currently responsible for 6 entires, while Wade and Krystle are kept busy taking care of the many broodmares preparing to deliver racing’s superstars of tomorrow.
Besides the racing game, sport plays a major role in the happiness and health of the Johnston family – Stan was one of the Sunshine Coast’s all-time leading cricketers; Marilyn a district tennis champion; Jason and Wade are both promising cricketers in their own right and currently represent the Sunshine Coast Scorchers in the Brisbane Grade Premiership; and Krystle is a promising state level swimmer.
Dawn Falvey: Part-Owner 9-time Group Winner ‘Falvelon’
My late husband Brian always had his horses at Craiglea Stud and when he passed away, Stan and Marilyn really looked after me and took care of everything. The last thing I wanted to know about back then was horses and it was probably some gentle persuasion from Stan when Falvelon was born that really got me into the racing game. Stan loved the look of Falvelon from the day he was born at Craiglea and he sure proved to be a good judge! We had some amazing fun with Falvelon’s success but I would never have taken him anywhere else besides Craiglea because Stan and Marilyn have always treated me and my horses 110%. I really trust them and to be honest they would have to be the nicest people I’ve met in the racing industry. Even now that I’m into the breeding side of it, it’s great to know I will always have Stan and Marilyn’s support. The Johnston’s are a wonderful family and it’s a dream of mine that they can breed their own Falvelon champion with one of their broodmares because they really deserve it. I would happily recommend Craiglea Stud to anyone in the racing game who wants honesty, quality service and people that care about you and your horses.
Merv Caldwell: Part-Owner 2002 Golden Slipper Winner ‘Calaway Gal’
We’ve been dealing with Craiglea Stud pretty much since they opened their doors and I would say we’ve relied on them to care for anything up to 100 horses of ours over the years. Without doubt, Stan and Marilyn are the most honest people we’ve met in the racing industry and I’m proud to say they’ve become very good friends of ours. They are totally up front with you and there’s no rubbish. They let you know exactly what’s going on and when the horses come here they get nothing but the best treatment, they’re really well looked after. I’ve had horses at Coolmore and in the Hunter Valley at various times and Craiglea lacks nothing up against the big names. My interest is in breeding, selling and racing horses, the last thing I want to worry about is running a stud – and that’s why it’s so good to have a place like Craiglea that we can really trust. I would have no hesitation in urging people to follow our horses’ footsteps to Craiglea Stud because you won’t find any better.