Racing Reminiscences along the Glenrock Track
Featured Image: ‘Echo Flat’ racecourse at Belltrees
Gundy Races 10th March 1886: See: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/18884529
To make St. Patrick’s Day as much of a holiday as possible it was decided to have a day’s racing at Gundy to celebrate the day.
A very meagre attendance saw the opening race, the Maiden Plate, 1½ miles. After a chestnut gelding run his spin of a quarter of a mile, Juan cantered away from him and won by 150 yards.
Mr. B. Houseman’s b c Juan, 6st. 11lbs. (Dodds) 1
Mr. B. Houseman’s b g Sovereign, 9st. 2lb 2
Second Race: Flying Handicap, 1¾ miles, was a walk over for Malta, 8st 6lbs.
The next, the event of the meeting, handicap, 15 sovs., 1½ miles.
Mr. R. Stewart’s ch g Hunter, 8st. 7lb. (Smith) 1
Gallimore’s br g Malta, 8st. 7lbs.(Owner) 2
Faugh-a-Ballalgh, 8st 4lbs.
Wallaby, 7st. 9lbs.
After Malta made most of the running for about a mile Smith began to work Hunter up, and from the straight a good race between Hunter and Malta resulted in a win by a length for Hunter, thanks to Smith’s clever piece of horsemanship.
The Belltrees Purse, 1¼ miles; weight for age; 6 sovs.
Mr. B Houseman’s b c Juan, 6st, 9lbs.(Dodds) 1
Stewart’s b m Eva, 9st. (Smith) 2
Faugh-a-Ballagh, 9st. 3lbs. 3
Only three starters. Smith brought Eva with a splendid rush at the finish, but could not quite overtake Goldsborough’s fine son, who won by a length.
Hack Race, 1 mile; 3 sovs. ; weight, 9st.
Mr. J. Hardcastle’s b m Wallaby. (M. Burke) 1
Campbell’s br g Stranger (Hector) 2
Stewart’s b m Eva
Campbell’s b g Chelsea
This proved the best race of the day. Smith on Eva made the most of a good start, and lead Wallaby half a length past the stand; the other two well up. Up the hill Wallaby took command, and lead by a length in the straight, where she was challenged by Chelsea and Stranger; but Wallaby, coming when called on, won by a length.
Publicans’ Purse of 6 sovs ; 1¼ mile.
Mr. R Stewart’s ch g Hunter. (Smith) 1
Gallimore’s br g Malta. 2
Malta ran with heavy iron shoes on, but the boy was merciful – he did not punish the horse with the whip.
The Forced Handicap wound up the proceedings, which resulted in a canter for Malta, Stranger second.
Scone, 19th March, 1886
Belltrees Racecourse “Echo Flat”
See featured image
Return now to opposite the 21 mile peg the Belltrees Race Course. It was on this course shearers’ races were held. It was within the course the Belltrees cricket ground was located. It was here at the time where the Belltrees Polo Team did their practice. I believe it was Banjo Patterson wrote of them thus – “Belltrees played a heady game and forced the pace alright”. A family team, Alf Ebsworth, Ernest, Arthur and “Dick” White (the “Dick” would be Victor, Dick being his nickname).
In 1889 the Hon James White gave his four nephews H E A & V White twenty high class fillies bred at ‘Kirkham’, the progeny of Chester and Martini-Henry. They were to form the nucleus of the new look ‘Belltrees Stud’. Between 1888 and 1915 three thousand horses were branded at ‘Belltrees’ and meticulously recorded in the ‘Horse Book’. In 1896 the four brothers supplied the winner of the 1896 AJC Derby ‘Charge’. The race track established at ‘Echo Flat’ (see featured image) provided employment for a private trainer and six jockeys. After supplying several good winners in the early 1900s the thoroughbred breeding stock was eventually dispersed during WW II bringing to an end the Belltrees thoroughbred breeding enterprise.
Ian Ibbett in ‘Kings of the Turf’ gives an excellent account of the foray by the White brothers of ‘Belltrees’ into thoroughbred racing and breeding. His specialty was the win by ‘Charge’ in the 1896 AJC Derby.
Next along the river the old Belltrees homestead occupied by Henry Luke White and wife nee Ebsworth and two daughters. One of which later married cricketer “Ranji” Hordern who played in international cricket and introduced the style of bowling known as googley bowling and was called the googley bowler. At the old home also lived the bachelor brothers Ernest and Victor White. The latter along with his brother Arthur made up the quartet H E A and V White owners of the station.
Rooty Bank Racecourse
After crossing the river near Millers, the road crossed the Rooty Bank Race Course where horse races were held periodically. Then again across the river the latter two crossings were called the two Rooty Bank Crossings. The Rooty Bank Race Course was in the first paddock belonging to Ellerston which was the property of H E A and V White of Belltrees.
After leaving the second Rooty Bank Crossing about a mile on the right of road was Blumenthal, ownership at the time unknown to the writer. Present owners and occupiers Granville Budden and wife nee Ivy Challis
Belmont Sports Races (Ellerston)
It might have been 1969? My memory is ‘clouded’? The feature event was a short sprint; perilously close to the bar area! Local Scone identity Stan Bowd (‘Bowdie’) won the day by ‘riding off’ his main opponent through the bibulous crowd; which included me! The irate adversary was a helmet-wearing Maitland competitor. He wanted a rematch. Bowdie was having none of it! ‘Beaten fair and square’ was his final resolute stance. It was hard to tell. The steeds were ‘who the riders said they were’. No stewards checked any identity? Maybe the judge was in the bar? It was strongly rumoured that the beaten favourite from the Lower Hunter was a ring-in ‘Gay Gauntlet’ who won the ‘Doomben 10000’ in 1968? We will never know! Come to think of it ‘Bowdie’ had connections in the TB racing industry? His winning mount might have been ‘anything’ also. No doubt he chose a probable winner he’d ‘borrowed’ for the day?
I do recall Gay Gauntlet turning up later at a small private stud near Lochinvar?