Trewarric Impulse aka “Banjo”
Featured Image: Trewarric Impulse aka “Banjo” with John Letts in the saddle at Flemington
Acknowledgement: I wish to acknowledge the gracious assistance of the Australian Stock Horse Society in procuring this information. I especially seek to sincerely thank my very good friend Cathy Finlayson.
This is a great horse story with only minimal connection to Scone; but it’s eminently worthy of inclusion in any equine portfolio. You may be wondering ‘Banjo who’? Unless you’re in on the tale you’re not alone.
In 2011 Trewarric Impulse aka “Banjo” was the official Australian Stock Horse Society’s Westpac Star of the Year. This is a most prestigious award not easily earned. It’s quite likely racing aficionados will recognise the scenario painted in the featured image? ‘Banjo’ is the favourite mount used by John Letts in his ground-breaking ‘from the saddle on-the-spot TV interviews’ adopted by the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival in 1993 following its earlier introduction in 1989. John Letts is renowned as the winner of two Melbourne Cups: Piping Lane (1972) and Beldale Ball (1980). John rode 2,350 winners in an illustrious career spanning 30 years.
Local Flemington legend John Patterson lent ‘Banjo’ to John Letts. John was Chief Clerk of the Course at the VRC’s showcase Flemington Racecourse since 1969. John purchased ‘Banjo’ as a lightly raced two year old from his breeder Aub Goodman of West Gippsland VIC. He was actually there to pick up ‘Banjo’s’ brother Trewarric Mustard but selected both. The latter sadly met with a sad fate. ‘Banjo’ went on to enduring fame both as John Patterson’s crowd favourite mount and John Letts’ much preferred steed at the races. John Patterson insists that ‘Banjo’ and ‘Lettsy’ share many endearing character traits!
Trewarric Impulse is by the John Stanton bred Quidong Brigadier out of the mare Colony Illusion by Mescal. So what’s the Scone connection? It’s not much I concede. The ASHS national secretariat is based in Scone since inception in 1971. Sam Hordern stood the imported ‘Mescal’ (USA Quarter Horse) at is Dry Creek property in 1968. This is a short few kilometres north of Scone just off the New England Highway. ‘Mescal’ was one of the very first of his breed to reach Australia. ASHS Hunter Valley officials Chairman Joy Poole OAM and GM Maree Sankey presented the Westpac Star of the Year trophy at the VRC’s Emirates Stakes Day in 2012.
You can see a real-time shot of the young John Letts (1973) in the jockey’s room at Victoria Park (Adelaide) by checking into the video ‘A Race of Horses’ on this website. My bragging rights are that I feature in a movie with Oscar-winning Hollywood legend Dean Semmler holding the camera. It’s true: honest!!