Cudglebar Stud has been breeding pure Colonial Arabians in Australia since the stud’s foundation by Mary and Jack Ellery and their son Les in 1930. The Ellerys had been the horse breakers for the McDonald stud since its inception in the World War 1 years and remained so until the McDonald dispersal in 1953. The two studs enjoyed a close association.
McDonalds had founded their stud with five Arabians from Brown’s stud upon his death, the stallions Harir (Berk x Hamasa by Mesaoud x Bint Helwa), Raisuli (Rief x Ayesha by Rafyk x Namusa), Prince Nejd (Shahzada x Nejdmieh) and the full sisters Rabi and Sekh (Rafyk x Namusa by Ahmar x Narghileh by Mesaoud). Mr Brown was one of three men who had purchased Arabians at the dispersal sale of Australia’s original stud, Quambi, the others being A.E. Morrow and the Hon. S. Winter-Cooke. From the Quambi dispersal, Mr Brown had purchased the stallion Faraoun (Mesaoud x Fulana) and the full sisters Sekh, Rabi and Anyesa. The Quambi stud was Australia’s first Arabian stud, founded on importations from the Blunts’ Crabbet Park Stud between 1891 and 1901. Lady Anne Blunt subsequently gifted the stallion Rief to Major R. Brown. Rief (Sotamn x Ridaa by Merzuk x Rose of Sharon) became an important bloodline for the Cudglebar Stud.
The Cudglebar Stud was founded with the purchase from McDonalds of the stallion Kailhan (Raisuli x Zarif by Faraoun), followed later by the stallion Mameluke (Raisuli x Gadara by the Berk son Harir x Zarif by Faraoun) and the lease of the mares Balkis (Shahzada x Nejdmieh) and Esther (Shahzada x Miriam by Nadir x Ranya by Nasik).
In 1953 Harold McDonald rang Les and said they were dispersing the stud. He told Les he could purchase the pick of the mares. Les picked out three females,
the mare Midi who was in foal to Anouk (Rakib x Arabette by Raisuli x Sa-id), the strongly Shahzada bred yearling filly Rumma (Aladdins Lamp x Jeddah by Prince Nejd) and the aged Esther, who did not breed again. Les was particularly taken with a liver chestnut mare that he had not seen before. Harold told him that the mare was 13 y.o., had never been ridden or bred from. The mare was Yenbo II, a full sister to the celebrated sire Zadaran. Les eventually won numerous prizes for hacking with her. The McDonalds had bred Kasr (foaled 1951, Sala x Esther by Shahzada) and leased him to Les for two years in exchange for his saddle education. Les bred Yenbo II to him, and resulting foal was Darik.
From the Darik line came Australian National Heavyweight Endurance Horse, Cudglebar Drifter (exp. UAE); Golden Sabre, Line Honours, Sydney to Melbourne “Bite the Bullet” 500 Mile Ride, Cudglebar Kasr, Heavyweight Winner Stockmans Hall of Fame, and Logie Brae Hassan, National Open Endurance Horse.
In 1979 and 1980 Les leased the College stallion Helicon from Hyksos Stud. Helicon (Sala x the Jelbart mare Mira by Kataf x Melika) was a 7/8 brother to the dam of Arcadian, well known as the sire of many endurance winners including the Quilty winner Robbie, and grandsire of BBP Electra Murdoch. Both Helicon’s dam Mira and Mira’s dam Melika were bred by Mr Jelbart himself. Jelbart’s stud had been founded on the lines of Quambi, Winter-Cooke, Leonard-Brown, with the addition of the stallion Kataf, imported by Mr Bonython of South Australia in 1935. Kataf’s sire was bred in the desert, and his dam was of Ali Pasha Sherif lines. The NSW Department of Agriculture was founded on eighteen Jelbart mares.
Helicon was only two generations removed from the desert. From Helicon, Les produced winning Heavyweight endurance horses and 160 km Endurance Ride winners.
In the 1990s Les used Christine Speers’ stallion Cairo* whose sire was 100% Australian pure Colonial lines originally exported to New Zealand, and whose dam’s parents Manak and Nuhra were both desert bred. Cairo’s best performed son is Cudglebar Tarquin, 2006 National and NSW Lightweight Points Horse and National and NSW Runner up Distance Horse. Les likes the desert bred horses close up in a pedigree as he says that people have not had as long to interfere with the original type.
In late 2006 the 83 year old Les Ellery, after decades of drought, decided to move his entire stud to far north New Zealand. In 2008, Les returned to Australia, having left the majority of his horses behind in New Zealand.