John Flaherty aka ‘Man Friday’

John Flaherty aka ‘Man Friday’

Featured Image: John Flaherty with his richly deserved Murray Bain Perpetual Service to Industry Award taken at the presentation by the Hunter Valley Blood Horse Breeders’ Association (HVBHBA) on Wednesday, May 15 1996. I had the honour of making the presentation. I like to highlight the essential vitally important and indispensable contributions made by everyday workers in the thoroughbred industry.

Mrs Connie Philips won the President’s Award on the same occasion. At the time of writing (26/03/19) Mrs Philips is still with us but in ‘compromised’ high care at Strathearn Village Aged Care in Scone. A gentleman never discloses the age of a lady but she is well advanced in years. In cricketing parlance will soon reach a most important milestone. Mrs Phillips is actually the very final link to ‘Baramul’ and Star Kingdom; although I recently made the same remark about the late Noel Hennessy.

In my manic book on ‘The Infinitive History of Veterinary Practice in Scone’ I paid the following tribute to John Flaherty.

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Our Forgotten Racecourses

Our Forgotten Racecourses

Featured Image: NSW Country Racecourses 1991

John Ryan: AJC Racing Calendar 1991

“The universal love of horseracing in Australia is shown by the large number of meetings every year. There is scarcely a township in any one of the colonies, which has not its annual event. The principal reason for this is the abundance of good horseflesh and the number of good riders as there are few persons residing in the country who cannot mount a saddle. Under such circumstances a love of the turf is natural.” Australian Sportsman 1881

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Upper Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ Society 1951

Upper Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders’ Society 1951

Featured Image: Section of the large crowd in attendance at Tuesday’s (1951) sale of thoroughbred horses on White Park, Scone. The sale was conducted by Wm Inglis Pty Ltd (Sydney) and Pitt, Son and Keene Pty Ltd (Scone). The horse being offered is one of the Kingsfield Stud lots that went under the hammer, amongst a total of over 200 lots.

See also:

http://sconevetdynasty.com.au/bold-scone-venture/

http://sconevetdynasty.com.au/hunter-thoroughbred-breeders-association-scone-history/

Research has revealed that a meeting convened in Scone on 31st November 1951 led to the formation of the Upper Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Society.  Present at that meeting were Chairman G.A. Christmas (Oak Range), L.R. Morgan (Redbank), A.H. Young, Scott Johnston (Tyrone), R.M. and J. Bowcock (Alabama), A.W. (‘Bert’) Riddle (Kia Ora), Cliff Duncombe (Kingsfield), W.M. Bate, R.A. Basche (Aluinn), and Noel Hall (Cressfield).  Apologies were received from F.W. Thompson (Widden), L.B. Israel (Segenhoe) and J.W. Johnston (Tyrone).  The stated objectives of this embryonic society were to promote the thoroughbred racing industry in the Upper Hunter.  Presumably, this association did not have a long lifespan as it appears to have fallen into liquidation within the decade.  This may well have been attributable to the (also) recent formation of the Bloodhorse Breeders Association of Australia (NSW Division) some of whose major protagonists were common to both committees.

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Noel Hennessy and Star Kingdom

Author’s Comment: Wednesday 20th March 2019.

Today this ‘blog’ has just exceeded 1000 ‘hits’. This is BY FAR the greatest number of any strikes in about 20 months of extant life on my website. I owe much of this ‘popularity’ to the HTBA. Thank you Cameron and Julianne!

However the most remarkable facet is the extraordiany and enduring attraction of the ‘Star Kingdom’ legend? I had no idea this would be so popular!

I’m thrilled!

WPH 20/03/19

Noel Hennessy and Star Kingdom

Featured Image courtesy of Peter Pring ‘The Star Kingdom Story’ (The Thoroughbred Press, Sydney)

Noel Hennessy passed away in Denman early Saturday morning 9th March 2019. He is possibly the ‘last link’ to the great Star Kingdom? He was with him at ‘Baramul’ when he died on 21st April 1967.

Journalist Brian Russell released the following eulogy:

Death of last handler of Star Kingdom

Noel Hennessy, an iconic Hunter Valley horseman who has died at Denman at the age of eighty, may have been the last person to see and handle Australia’s most influential sire of last century, Star Kingdom, before he died on April 21 1967 at the Baramul Stud in the Widden Valley. Maitland born Hennessy had joined the staff at Baramul in 1957, a stud then owned by Sydney solicitor Alfred Ellison, and as stud groom cared for Star Kingdom for the last nine years of his life. He also looked after Todman, the son of Star Kingdom who won the inaugural Golden Slipper, when he stood at stud at Baramul, and the awesomely brilliant Biscay, both as a foal and as a sire. Biscay stood briefly at Baramul when he retired from racing. Among other horses grown under Hennessy’s care at Baramul were champion Star Kingdom filly Citius and Todman’s Golden Slipper winning son Eskimo Prince. In recent years Noel Hennessy has been living in retirement at Denman.

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Peep into the past 1925

Peep into the past 1925

Featured Image: The Scone Advocate; ‘Peeps into the past’; November 1925

For approximately 150 years the Scone Advocate has been the ‘eyes, nose and ears’ of the Scone and district community as well as its historic reliquary and knowledge repository.  To its great credit it has established some remarkable and lasting initiatives. One of these was the ‘Peep into the past’ series it launched to look back with nostalgic fervour and perhaps even romantic ardour on times long gone.

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The old timer who knocked the dust off some Good’uns

The old timer who knocked the dust off some Good’uns

Harley Walden 2005

Featured Image: Willie Plomer; one of Scott Johnston’s best gallopers

He was addressed as “Clancy” – the fellow immortalised by Paterson because he has a drovin’ gone – as he joined the young blokes, who found time to shift their gaze from the coloured sheets of the Turf Form. The old-timer joined in the discussion in his usual quiet, yet evidently, interested manner.

“Wouldn’t Earl Pentheus have a chance?” was his only reply, or question, in answer to one of the party, as he proceeded to finish the rolling of a cigarette. “What do you know about horses anyway?” was a direct shot from one of the lads.

“I knocked the dust from a few scrubbers in the bush in my time,” and pausing to apply a match to the cigarette, added nonchalantly, “And one of them took the Denman Stakes at Randwick”.

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