Sisters Anita Frawley and Kelly Amoore grew up living and breathing horse racing in Ballarat.
This is not hard to understand considering their father Barry James was entrenched in the industry as a thoroughbred breeder, owner and trainer.
If there was a job to do around the stables, they were more than happy to do their share at Sylvan Lodge, which in those days was located on a western fringe of Ballarat.
While they have always retained an interest in the family stable – being in the ownership of many horses prepared by their father – Anita and Kelly have not had the hands-on involvement for sometime while they have raised families and pursued careers and other interests.
All that has now changed though.
With their father in his mid-80s and retired, they have taken the opportunity to carry on the Sylvan Lodge name in a new enterprise and in doing so continuing a three-generation family racing tradition.
Anita and husband Danny Frawley have purchased James’ former training base near Miners Rest and with Kelly launched “Sylvan Lodge Equine Centre” – specialising in pre-training, rehabilitation and agistment of thoroughbreds.
With the Frawleys still living in Melbourne, Kelly oversees the operation on a daily basis.
“It’s always been a dream to come back and be involved and we’ve been able to make it happen,” said Anita, who spends several days week at the property.
Each agreed they were living the dream with the project.
Kelly said she had been back involved in racing about four years, including time at Michelle Payne’s training operation.
While they have principally used family stock to get the enterprise up and running, they are steadily opening up their services at what they describe as a “boutique” centre.
They believe the open country setting provides an ideal relaxed atmosphere for horses either spelling or preparing for a return to a busier racing stable routine.
On the racing front, the sisters said they were certainly looking to continue on the Sylvan name of the track and via the breeding barn.
They have Sylvan Crest, a two-time winner for Barry and his wife Lois, in pre-training at the moment and set to return after almost 10 months away from the racetrack.
They are hoping the gelding can follow in the footsteps of Captain Arjento, which provided the operation with its first win – carrying the new silks of cerise, dark blue star and starred sleeves to victory for trainer Dan O’Sullivan at Mildura.