Racing’s First Lady – An Earlier Treasure before Dark Jewel

Racing’s First Lady – An Earlier Treasure before Dark Jewel

Featured Image: Daisie & Grif Tait and Dark Jewel Trophy – 1969 TBA Award

Acknowledge: “Lillye on Legends” AJC Racing Calendar 1994

Nobody does it better than Bert. His superb treatise on Daisie Tait, the Tait and Osborne Families and their exclusive bloodstock is seminal in tone and eclectic in taste. All time outstanding broodmare Dark Jewel is the pivotal epitome; but there are several others.

‘Valicare’ was the catalyst for what became a tsunami of outstanding thoroughbreds over three family generations. Miss Whitty and Dark Jewel were virtually cast-off broodmares who established what was to become a family dynasty. Daisie lavished great love on her horses. The home property “Gunnong Jugrawah” is a virtual memorial shrine to her beloved horses. Bert Lillye describes the large granite boulder carrying a plaque marking the spot where the ashes of Dark Jewel were placed. It reads:

“1953 – 1971

In Memory of

DARK JEWEL – Ginger Bread, Powella, Heirloom,

Diamante, Betelgeuse, Cabochon,

Birthright, Baguette, Lucie Manette,

Star Facet and Briolette.

Initial recipient of the award for

Australian Broodmare of the Year

(1969-70)

Total earnings by her progeny to 10-4-71

$361,137 – gained from 270 starts

58 ½ wins 109 placings.”

The plaque says it all. It was however very far from the end of the saga. Son and daughter-in-law Sandy and Kathy Tait were subsequently very successful indeed in thoroughbred racing and breeding. ‘Tie The Knot’ trained by Guy Walter became Australia’s champion stayer and held the stakes-won record for a many years. Daughter Jill Nivison married Walcha grazier Simon Nivison from a scion family also steeped in racing. They were successful with Vain gelding ‘Inspired’ in the 1984 Golden Slipper Stakes.

Grandson Ollie Tait was instrumental in setting up the very highly successful Australian limb of the Darley/Godolphin brand. ‘Dynasty’ is an overworked cliche; but in this case incontrovertible?

Scone Race Club Cup 1976

Scone Race Club Cup 1976

Featured Image:

The third ‘developed print’ of the photo finish of the Scone Race Club Cup at White Park run on Thursday 20th May 1976. The official verdict was a win by a short half head to Number 3 ‘Padang’ over Number 9 ‘Prince of Honour’. It was a very close run thing and perhaps even debatable? Late on Cup Day in May the encroaching autumn weather was closing in with view darkening and vision obscured.  If light faded too badly the single camera did not function!

What’s your verdict? The image is an ‘actual’ of what the judges peruse to arrive at a decision.

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Racing’s Forgotten Past

Racing’s Forgotten Past

http://www.scone.com.au/racings-forgotten-past/

Filed in Sports Recent by Elizabeth Flaherty March 12, 2016 first published in May 2012 Scone Horse Festival

Featured Image: A survivor; New Year’s Day Racing at ‘Wallabadah’ south of Tamworth in northern NSW

By Harley Walden

Harley Walden, racing columnist

The story of Australia’s greatest national sport began with an impromptu bush racetrack, the meeting was run by settlers near Windsor in New South Wales in 1805.

As the state of New South Wales expanded it was the early settlers who paved the way and those who followed appropriated tracts of land to make their livelihood.

No town was too small to provide a racetrack however makeshift.

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Miss Anne Raymond

Miss Anne Raymond

Racing Matriarch Always Remembered by Brian Russell

https://www.theherald.com.au/story/1728715/obituary-ann-raymond-horse-breeder/

Featured Image: A rather ‘wistful’ Miss Anne Raymond at ‘Sledmere’

August 25 2013 – 10:30PM

OBITUARY: Ann Raymond, horse breeder

BRIAN RUSSELL 

BORN: June 9, 1925

DIED: August 2, 2013

FUNERAL: St Luke’s Anglican Church, Scone, August 13, 2013.

ONE of the Hunter’s last links to legendary Australian racehorse Phar Lap has been lost following the death of Ann Raymond, a matriarch of thoroughbred breeding in the Upper Hunter.

Ann Raymond, the owner of Sledmere Stud at Scone for more than 35years, was an accomplished breeder who achieved wide-ranging success during her lengthy career in the thoroughbred industry.

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Harley’s Horse Racing Legacy

Harley’s Horse Racing Legacy

Featured Image: Passionate racing identity Harley Walden was always a wordsmith and spent a lot of time in his “den” writing about what he loved – thoroughbred racing and breeding.

Caitlin Andrews               May 30 2013 – 10:52AM

https://www.sconeadvocate.com.au/story/1538047/harleys-horse-racing-legacy/

To say Harley Walden is a passionate racing identity is an understatement – he is more than that.

Harley has only missed three meets at Scone Race Club since it moved to the current track 18 years ago, he spent his whole working career as a key player of thoroughbred horse studs and he has never missed a Scone Cup since the very first one at the original White Park race track which he wagged school to watch in 1947.

To most these days Harley’s love for the race horse industry is well known as he spent about six years writing columns for The Scone Advocate from November 1997 and he is still a valuable contributor writing the odd article for print today.

The Scone Race Club life member has also written for publications such as Australian Thoroughbred.

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Jack Johnston VIP x 2

Jack Johnston VIP x 2

Featured Image: Jack Johnston holds the reigns while Tiger Batterham and grandson Ben McNaughton hold on! Scone Horse Festival Parade 1996

Jack and Tiger are both local legends! Jack was the inaugural Horse Festival VIP in 1985 and again in 1994; the only person to receive the coveted award twice. Tiger was the VIP for 1996 while Ben McNaughton’s father Bruce is another most accomplished horseman managing Glenrock Station for a number of years.

Jack was a direct descendent of the hegemonic Johnston clan steeped in Scone folklore from the very earliest days of the 20th century.  Jack’s father Scott was a champion trainer throughout the Hunter Valley and North & North West. He established Tyrone Stud on the northern outskirts of Scone as his home base where he stood a succession of productive thoroughbred stallions and racehorses. Jack succeeded his father and added further cachet to the genre. Perhaps he was most visible and memorable leading the horse parade every year resplendent on his trusty steed richly caparisoned with Master-of-Foxhounds red coat and silk top hat! He was also an innovator boasting a long tradition with Scone Race Club and the early Scone Horse Festivals. Field events skills days were hosted by Jack at Tyrone Stud each year.

Tiger was no less an icon; in his case with the Australian Stock Horse Society, Campdrafts, Rodeo and Pickup. He was a proud native of the Timor area where the prevailing fodder and water supplies appeared to produce horsemen and women of very high calibre as well as richly talented all-rounders?

Trevors

Trevors

‘Owned and trained by a lady’ (Scone Advocate, Friday 12th May 1972)

Featured Image: Betty Shepherd with ‘Rastus’ and ‘Trevors’ in 1966

No racing story in Scone would be complete without reference to ‘Trevors’ – one of the great horses of racing. ‘Trevors’ was owned and trained by Betty Shepherd, wife of Mr Arch Shepherd of Scone. ‘Trevors’ raced twice in Scone and had several other runs in the country before going into the “big time” in Sydney. Among his many wins were the McKell Cup at Rosehill on 26th June 1966 and the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick on 10th September 1966. He won a treble three times in Sydney and was one of the few – if not the only – weight for age winners trained in the country. In an heroic trip to Melbourne in the spring of 1966 ‘Trevors’ finished a gallant 4th to Galilee in the Caulfield Cup and ran unplaced in the Melbourne Cup also to ‘Galilee’ although not beaten by a wide margin.

‘Trevors’ is pictured above with Betty Shepherd and the Shepherds’ faithful dog, ‘Rastus’. ‘Trevors’ died in Scone on 30th April 1967 from a virus infection at the age of seven years. During his short but colourful racing career, ‘Trevors’ won 14 races with a total prizemoney of approximately $45,000:00. ‘Trevors’ was by ‘Good Brandy’ (imp.) from ‘Blue Lass’.

Virginia Harvey has also written a pivotal piece about Betty in her classic regular column in ‘The Land’ weekly newspaper which richly enhances this dialogue.

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Doncaster Handicap 1974

Doncaster Handicap 1974

With the running of the 2019 Doncaster Handicap a few shortening days away this is timely? It might have been the most sensational Doncaster Handicap ever run; and not for all the right reasons!

Featured Image: The unofficial close photo finish of the Doncaster Handicap in 1974 captured by renowned race photographer Ron Bickley (C J Bickley & Sons, Rozelle); who may have been forewarned? It could have been a setup; as most such bold and brassy aberrations are. The banal bar room verdict recorded that the colt won ‘by a good length’? Sorry! The identity of the daring participants is unknown.

This created a sensation at the time when ‘streaking’ was all the rage. Shortly after this photograph was taken Showdown gelding ‘Tontonan’ was the first (equine) past the post and declared the official winner. I think John Duggan was the rider of ‘Tontonan’?

Can you believe I was there that day close to the winning post and entirely oblivious to the drama taking place? I was watching the horses! Certainly an inchoate ‘buzz’ was discernible in the crowd but it went largely unnoticed by the majority.

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Babe and Brueghel

Babe and Brueghel

Featured Image: Babe Singleton when he was stallion groom at Widden ‘boxing’ with ‘Brueghel’ rearing on his hind legs

Some would claim Babe was a showman. Others called him a ‘show-off’; but not to his face! It was considered unwise, even potentially terminal, if accusations were levelled after a longish linger at the “Linga Longa” pub in Gundy?

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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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