Darcy Walden – a legend in his lifetime
Featured Image: Darcy Walden at the 1968 Royal Easter Show with the champion thoroughbred exhibit and Judge of the section Sir Brian Crowley; then Chairman of the AJC
The image presented is both apt and apposite. Darcy Walden was a showman par excellence. Brian Russell wrote an article for the Scone Horse Week Program for 1989. He describes in his inimitable fashion the background to his long association with Sledmere Stud and Darcy Walden. He recalled trying to photograph the excitable yearling filly by Parma (GB) from On Wave for Country Life Magazine.
Darcy Walden spent a lifetime with the thoroughbreds he loved. He enjoyed a long association with Sledmere Stud and owner Morrie Point. Among the many outstanding progeny to represent the prolific nursery were On Par, Natal Lass, Change Alley and 1968 Golden Slipper winner Royal Parma. Perhaps the greatest advertisement for Darcy’s expertise was ‘Sailor’s Guide’ the international star who won (on protest) the 1958 Laurel Park (USA) Washington DC International from ‘Tudor Era’ (USA) and relegating European Champion ‘Ballymoss’ into third place.
Harry ‘Darcy’ Walden was a legend in his own lifetime in the thoroughbred arena. He had friends all over Australia and also overseas. He was for many years one of the livewires in the sales ring at the Sydney Easter Yearling Sales. “Thank you Darcy,” John Inglis would call time and time again after a Darcy-led yearling bowed out of the ring. As often as not Darcy also appointed himself ‘spotter of bids’ just in case the ‘Boss’ (John Inglis) missed anything! He built a brand of horsemanship and showmanship that made the tanbark sales ring at Newmarket practically his own turf.
Following the sale of Sledmere to Miss Anne Raymond Darcy relocated to Alan Atwill’s Redbank Stud but the association was short lived due to an unfortunate and untimely stroke suffered by Darcy. Darcy Walden never took a backward step; a resolute skill he’d learned on the Kokoda Track versus the Japanese in WWII.
I’m immensely proud that Darcy Walden was the inaugural recipient of the HTBA Murray Bain Service to Industry Award in 1985. I had more than a little to do with the decision.