Featured Image: U.S. Triple Crown winner Affirmed’s monument and grave, Darley Stud at Jonabell, Lexington, Kentucky
Photo Kurt Lemke ©2013
See: http://www.tbheritage.com/ and http://nationalsporting.org/
I’m guilty as charged; and equally deluded? Naively I thought I could produce a well-researched and informed history on thoroughbred breeding in the Hunter Valley. At very short notice and limited resources I had already published a ‘quick fix’ histoire for a particular purpose. I decided to expand this tome.
It’s an overworked ‘truism’ in veterinary science that you miss more ‘by not looking rather than by not knowing’. When I really started to look I discovered a plethora of already published information which I would only have repeated; possibly in a different format. Addicted as I am ‘to plunder, plagiarize and purloin’ it was inviting. However I rejected the tempting tendrils of Lucifer and elected to stay ‘clean’.
The ‘Thoroughbred Heritage’ website is up there with Ian Ibbett’s ‘Kings of the Turf’ when it comes to eclectic dialogue, colourful description and scientific discovery.
The series of ‘blogs’ I adduce are all based on facts I have gleaned from these and a few other founts. I identify the source documents in each case. Learning to properly navigate the home page of ‘Thoroughbred Heritage’ website was my inaugural hurdle. From there it is a litany of literature; much of it pertaining to the unique Australian story. Let the journey begin.
Victorian Country Racecourse Locations
Featured Image: Victorian Country Racecourse Locations November 2006
I’m reasonably sure of my arithmetic in the case of Victoria: about 53?
See: https://country.racing.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/CountryRacingVictoria/
It’s all much more compact in Victoria. You can just about reach any Country Course from Melbourne on any given day? Naturally Victorians claim they do it better; even best? Who am I to argue? There is little doubt the Victorian Provincial Circuit has been the envy of most other State Racing Administrations?
Find Your Way to the Track: Queensland Racecourse Locations
Featured Image: Queensland Racecourse Locations November 2006
I think it’s true to say that Queensland does it differently? I’m sure any true Maroon would agree?
In the map of racecourse locations in November 2006 I counted ‘about’ 120+ courses? It seemed to change every time I did my calculations! I’m not sure how many there are now but the total may be heading south; in a metaphorical sense?
Julia Creek (April), Mackay airport Beach Races (August), Cairns Amateurs (September) and Birdsville (August/September) are promoted on the ‘blog’. Be sure of something different at each and every location!
Finding Your Way to the Tracks: NSW Country
Featured Image: Finding Your Way to the Track; Country NSW Race Meetings Map November 2006
I counted over 120 race clubs depicted on the map above. The exact number changed every time I tried! The situation today (May 2019) is 116 clubs scattered throughout 8 racing (administration) districts.
Broken Hill and Far West (4)
Central Districts (17)
Hunter and North West (24)
Mid North Coast (5)
Northern Rivers (8)
South East (13)
Southern District (28)
In some of the widespread areas there are many small picnic and one-day-a-year-clubs which tend to slew the figures?
On The Rails: Scone Cup 2019
Featured Image: Bill Greer & Bill Howey at the winner’s stall enclosure for the Scone Cup 2019
Neither of us would win anything in the fashion stakes! Perhaps 50 years ago? There were very few patrons dressed as Bill and I were but we both elected to stay ‘on the rails’ for the Cup Races. Alternatives were the ‘élite, exclusive, expensive and fashionable’ marquee options. I cannot justify such expenditure; much less my cautious and prudent spouse! I simply don’t last the distance either rising 77.
However, judging by the ‘official’ reports of the meeting as contained in photo montages of the carnival the fashion stakes were the main event! Hospitality and vogue style dominated the festival! By the way ‘Special Missile’ won the Scone Cup Race; but I can hardly locate a photographic record?
Belmore Heights ‘Old Course’
Featured Image: The subdivision of ‘Belmore Estate’ in 1905
Belmore Estate was the original property of Scone builder Mathew Miller who constructed his home ‘Belmore House’ (now ‘Geraldton’) on the site as shown. This is now my home. The ‘Old Course on Belmore Heights’ was further up the ‘Public Road to Scone Sale Yards and Scone Common’; now Susan Street. It ran close to the common and the finishing post was near what is now Scott Memorial Hospital in Stafford Street.
The final meeting on the ‘Old Course on Belmore Heights’ may have taken place in 1941? It was recorded in the Scone Advocate as:
‘Springs to Life’
Old Course on Belmore Heights
Hospital Carnival Races Attract Large Crowd
Spasm and Snip Win Principal Double
Interesting Racing and Busy Officials
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Cecil S Parry
Featured Image: Mr D H Robertson (President) and Mr Cec Parry (Secretary Scone Race Club) 1950
These two men may well have established the template for what has now emerged as the social phenomenon known as the Scone Cup Race Meeting?
When I arrived in Scone (1967) many of the people with whom I mixed waxed eloquently about the late Ces (pronounced ‘Cess’) Parry. This was especially so for everyone associated in any way with the Race Club and sport in general. Jack Johnston and Harley Walden were particularly loquacious.
When researching the Race Club and searching through Harley’s rich archive I uncovered the following obituary from the Scone Advocate in the early 1950s. It’s written in a prolix style very redolent of the era. There remains no doubt whatsoever Cec Parry was a most important ‘cog’ in the community and the sporting fraternity in particular.
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Jack Johnston Reflects
Featured Image: Scone Advocate 25 May 1995 ‘Bloodhorse Breeders Honour Horsemen’
Two of the best known personalities in racing and breeding were honoured at the Hunter Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association annual dinner during Scone Horse Week. They were 81-year-old Jack Johnston, owner of Tyrone Stud near Scone and veterinary surgeon Dr Bill Howey, also of Scone.
Mr Johnston, a horseman all his life, received the prestigious Murray Bain Award for services to the racing and breeding industry. Mr Howey, a former President of the Scone race Club, got the shock of his life when he was recalled to the stage to receive the Association’s presidential award for services to the industry. Only a few minutes earlier he had been responsible for the eulogy that preceded the announcement of Mr Johnston’s Murray Bain award.
Mr Johnston announced publicly after receiving his award that he had tendered his resignation from the Scone Race Club committee, one which he joined in 1955. He told the gathering he had seen 48 consecutive Scone Cups at the old White Park track and the first one at the new Scone track last Friday.
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Newcastle and Hunter Racing Hall of Fame
The Newcastle and Hunter Racing Hall of Fame was instituted in 2017 by Brian Judd (Chairman), Gary Harley, Greg Radley and Sam North (Research). I nominated George Ryder and the Thompson Family (Associates); Peter Snowdon and Pat Farrell (Trainers); Wayne Harris and Robert Thompson (Jockeys); plus Luskin Star and Beauford (Racehorses).
This year (Tuesday 7th May 2019) Sarah and I were extremely honoured to be seated at the same table as Bob Charley, Mrs Joan Dawbarn, Mr & Mrs Robert Thompson, Peter and Lyn Snowdon plus Antony and Katie Thompson (Widden).
See also: http://sconevetdynasty.com.au/luskin-star/
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|Thoroughbred Horse Racing in Australia
A Study of the Geographical and Social Development of Racing Communities
By Philip Herringer. ©2006. All Rights Reserved.
Author Philip Herringer has performed a monumental task in producing this succinct summary of the fascinating history of thoroughbred racing in Australia. I dutifully acknowledge the source and contents. Philip’s summary cited herewith is interesting; to say the least!
Featured Image: Racing at Five Dock (Sydney) in 1844
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