Merton Stud Dispersal 1918

Merton Stud Dispersal 1918

Featured Image: Catalogue for ‘The Merton Stud Dispersal Sale Thursday 19th September 1918’

Acknowledge: The late Harley Walden’s cache of old thoroughbred sales catalogues

1918 must have been a year of careful review and cautious revision for eminent Stud Masters in the Hunter Valley. The Merton Stud Sale of proprietor Mr E Reginald White followed the earlier dispersal of William Brown’s Segenhoe Stud in January 1918. It’s eminently possible that the cataclysmic events of WWII 1914 – 1818 precipitated such responses? Mr E Reginald White was a prominent member of the leviathan White pastoral family originally headed by the Honourable James White of ‘Kirkham Stud’, Narellan in the thoroughbred arena. ‘Belltrees’ was the totem family property in the Upper Hunter; supported by ‘Edinglassie’ at Muswellbrook and ‘Martindale’ at Denman.

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Segenhoe Stud Dispersal 1918

Segenhoe Stud Dispersal 1918

Featured Image: Catalogue for the ‘Unreserved Dispersal Sale of the Segenhoe Stud’ on Thursday, January 3rd 1918, the Property of Mr. Wm. Brown

I duly acknowledge the rich archive of old catalogues assiduously collected and lovingly preserved by my late friend Harley Walden. I ‘inherited’ the treasure trove. It’s a bit like Aladdin’s cave if you’re a thoroughbred racing and breeding aficionado as Harley was.

I wrote earlier about the ‘rebarbative’ John Brown. See: . I also ‘borrowed information from two other sources namely;


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Harry & Max

Harry & Max

Photo: AAP

I decided to include this tribute to two of the legendary horse breakers over the past 70 years. Maybe that should read ‘legendary young horse educators’? It could also be named ‘the master and the master’s apprentice’. They both have an association with our area through their close alliance with Randwick and the Inglis Easter Yearling Sales which are dominated by Upper Hunter-bred yearlings. Harry worked a season at Sledmere Stud in the late 1940s where he was a mentor to the emerging tyro, young Harley Walden. I can also claim that I knew both of them albeit fairly casually. It would seem that the ‘real characters’ of this genre, gender and generation appear to be disappearing? Having just turned 76 I would say that wouldn’t I?

Also on this website is live video footage of the master yearling handler Harry Meyer in the ring at the Inglis Sales Complex. See:

The ‘phoenix rising from the ashes’ is that Cameron Crockett is relocating to Scone in 2019. Welcome to Scone Cameron!

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The Wingen Competiton

The Wingen Competition

Featured Image: Wingen Maid Mountain | by © R S Smith, Lake Munmorah NSW. Try looking from different angles and use your imagination.


My good mate Greg Scott gave a superb rendition of Col Wilson’s (‘Blue the Shearer’) poem about the local pub at Wingen at our recent Writer’s Festival in Scone. The pub is named the Durham Hotel; but no-one actually calls it that. Overlooking the village of Wingen is the ancient rock formation the ‘Wingen Maid’. It’s supposed to represent a woman when viewed from certain angles? There might have been many angles and lots of ‘we wish’ from patrons leaving the Wingen Pub after a long session? I’ll leave it to your imagination. It has a much deeper ‘dreamtime’ association for the original local inhabitants, the Wonnarua people.

The Wingen Maid & Man in the Mountain

Located on a hillside off the New England Highway is a rock formation that, when viewed, from a particular direction, it resembles a lady sitting down on the side of the mountain. The rock feature which gives its name to the nature reserve is the ‘Wingen Maid’, an important figure in the beliefs of the Wonnarua Aboriginal people. They believe the land-form to be that of a woman who was waiting for her husband to return from battle and when he didn’t arrive she wished to die. Instead she was turned to stone. On the northern side of Dry Creek Road, the ‘Man in the Mountain’ is clearly visible from the road. This is an Aboriginal face in the mountain looking toward the Wingen Maid.

The Wingen Whine

There was an ugly rumour that a native who may or may not have been a winemaker produced a vintage purportedly representing the local area. He called it the ‘Wingen Whine’ which was sold in the pub. I’m reliably informed the bouquet was pithy, the pallet pungent, the nose piercing and the taste to ‘die for’; or maybe you will die? I’ve yet to meet an informed survivor. Maybe the ‘whine’ gave rise to the poem; or possibly the obverse? Perchance the ‘whine’ had a perverse effect?

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Professor W R ‘Twink’ Allen

Professor W R ‘Twink’ Allen

Featured Image: Acknowledge Sharjah Equine Hospital, Sharjah, U.A.E.

See also:

See also:

Twink’s Memorial Service:

This is the link to the video of Twink’s Memorial Service:

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Great Clashes of the Past

Great Clashes of the Past

Featured Image: ‘Gloaming’ with acknowledgement to ‘Century of Champions’ by Mark Taylor

Filed in Sports Recent by Elizabeth Flaherty September 17, 2016

By Harley Walden


My late great friend and colleague Harley Walden was virtually the ‘Bert Lillye of the Bush’ when it came to writing about racing with a bucolic flavour? He excelled with this contribution on Thank you also Liz Flaherty of Scone’. I have written elsewhere on this ‘Blog’ about ‘Beauford’.

Harley writes:

THE Australian and New Zealand turf is studded with memorable and heroic clashes between champions, yet there is one that stands alone and 82,000 people who were at Randwick on September 30, 1922, would vouch for that.

The horses were Gloaming, of Christchurch, and Beauford of Newcastle.

They met four times in 25 days at weight-for-age in Sydney and the score was two each.

Testimony to their greatness and the excitement of their tussles in that spring of 1922 at Randwick and Rosehill is found everywhere closing in of nearly a century later both in Sydney and no doubt New Zealand, too.

Looking down on patrons at the top of the Members’ Stand escalators in the Canterbury track are framed pictures of the finish of two of their races—the Spring Stakes and the Craven Plate at Randwick.

Gloaming won 57 races from 67 starts.

Agitated jockeys probably never notice and stewards are usually too busy to look at the pictures on the wall, but the stipes inner-sanctum at Randwick is adorned with poses pictures of two plain looking geldings, Beauford and Gloaming.

The two old champs seem to stare down on everyone and everything, including the video equipment which did not exist in their day.

What makes this pair the pick in the history of Australian racing?

What makes them so mighty and how did they attract 82,000 to Randwick for their decider in the weight-for-age Spring Stakes (12 furlongs) on September 30, 1922, when the Australian population was five million?

There is a heap of candidates for the best of the great clashes in major weight-for-age classic and handicap events in New Zealand.

Not the least of them the Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star, the two New Zealand geldings who fought it out head to head, shoulder to shoulder, with whips cracking in the $750,000 W S Cox Plate over 2040m at Moonee Valley on October 25, 1986.

The public did not seem to mind that this an all-New Zealand finish, that the two geldings from across the Tasman annihilated the Aussie opposition, and that in fact the third horse, the Filbert, was also a New Zealander.

Who could ever forget the finish of the 1956 Melbourne Cup, as Bart Cumming’s two champions Light Fingers and Ziema went to the line locked together and the Prince of race-callers the late Ken Howard declaring a dead-heat, and then! “No I’ll give it to Light Fingers”.

That one was one of the many in a list of hundreds with New Zealand horses, jockeys and trainers playing a major role, from the days of Carbine in 1888 when he was a three-year-old, over from the Dominion to take on Australia’s best.

Phar Lap did not engage in any notable clashes for the good reason that he was in a class of his own and the same applied to Tulloch when he was at his peak as a super three-year-old. And it was a pity that Bernborough never met Shannon.

Kingston Town’s amazing finish to win his third W S Cox Plate in 1982 put him in the history books forever, yet the King did not have many great weight-for-age struggles as he was usually too good for his opposition.

The modern generation will remember the enthralling bouts between the big grey mare Emancipation and the compact bay three-year-old colt Sir Dapper in the Sydney autumn of 1984.

They stated off in the Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 11.

Sir Dapper (Mick Dittman) was first by 1-3/4 lengths from Emancipation (Ron Quinton).

Emancipation finished the race with blood oozing from a wound on her hind leg.

She had an excuse.

The stage was therefore set for round two in the George Ryder Stakes over 1400m at Rosehill on April 7.

This time, Emancipation (Quinton) led all the way to beat Sir Dapper who was pocketed, Dittman having no room fore or aft as the wily Quinton held Sir Dapper in.

Sir Dapper started favourite for their third clash in the All Aged Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on April 22.

Emancipation led all the way, holding Sir Dapper’s challenge, but the courageous colt was badly stripped in the run, blood pouring from a sickening-looking hole in his hind leg.

Emancipation had won the three round contest 2-1 and the two Sydney horses had outclassed their rivals.

Sir Dapper did not get his chance for revenge as his trainer Les Bridge and owners – Mr and Mrs Peter Horwitz, Mr and Mrs Morrie Macleod, Mike Willesee and Robbie Porter—retired him immediately to the Trans Media Stud at Cootamundra.

Many of these clashes are fresh in our minds, but the real big start came with the meeting of Cruciform, a New Zealander, and Wakeful, a Victorian, in 1903.

Mr G G Stead set the ball rolling by practically challenging Mr Leslie Macdonald of Melbourne to pit Wakeful, the champion of Australia, in the Spring Stakes against Cruciform the champion of New Zealand.

Mr Stead bought his famous mare across the Tasman and the newspapers did the rest.

This distinguished pair duly met in the Spring Stakes and they were received by a crowd which old hands declared doubled the biggest ever previously seen at Randwick.

Cruciform (Les Hewitt) beat Wakeful (F Dunn) by a head after a dour head-to-head struggle over the Randwick 1½ miles. Wakeful was trained in Melbourne by Hugh Munro, the father of the champion jockeys Darby and Jim. Cruciform was trained by Dick Mason who was to return with Gloaming.

If half of what one read in the Melbourne papers was correct, it was fair to assume that double as many people went to Flemington as to Randwick.

The day Carbine beat Abercorn in the Champion Stakes there were certainly double as many at Flemington s at Randwick a month later when Abercorn downed Carbine in the Autumn Stakes.

But the sporting enterprise of Messrs Stead (owner of Cruciform) and Macdonald (owner of Wakeful) transformed comparative sympathy into keen interest and, people have since enriched racecourse proprietors beyond the dreams of avarice.

These great clashes virtually founded racings’ appeal to the public.

It was of course to become the nation’s number one spectator sport until the birth of the TAB which has encouraged the masses to bet but not attend the track.

If Carbine, Abercorn, Wakeful and Cruciform were the first to draw the crowds after the construction of grandstands, then there were memorable contests to follow.

The stands got bigger.

Some of these horses are legends, not merely by virtue of the history books of the turf, but by pub and club differences of opinion.

Shannon never clashed with Bernborough, one of the great contests that never came off.

Kindergarten had one run here, failed and went back to New Zealand where he remains a legend.

And yes Todman did beat Tulloch in the Champagne Stakes in the second of their meetings, Tulloch won the other (conclusively) in in the Sires’ Produce Stakes of 1957 at Randwick.

Gunsynd and Tails revived memories of the greats of the past at Randwick on April 4, 1972, when they had a ding-dong battle down the straight in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 1 ¾ miles.

Tails (Sammy Howard) beat Gunsynd (Roy Higgins) by ¾ of a length.

This was one of the best races of the modern era, two personality horses of character and fighting spirit going stride for stride and the crowd roared its approval for Tails even though Gunsynd was the hot favourite.

Chatham, Rogilla and Winooka—three of the greatest horses ever to grace Randwick—ran first, second and third in that order in the 1932 Epsom after Rogilla and Chatham had dear-heated in the Tramway Hcp leading up to the Epsom.

They were almost certainly the top three as a group ever to fill the placings in a major Group one handicap over a mile at Randwick.

Gunsynd, Tails, Comic Court, Emancipation, Sir Dapper, Chatham, Peter Pan, Rogilla, Carbine, Abercorn, Wakeful and all the others included could not match the sustained excitement of the four Beauford-Gloaming bouts of 1922.

This is how they finished—Chelmsford Stakes Sept 9, 1922 won by Beauford, the Hill Stakes Sept 16, 1922 won by Gloaming, the Spring Stakes Sept 30, 1922 won by Beauford, the Craven Plate Oct 4, 1922 won Gloaming.

The cold results cannot tell the story.

The score was one-all going into their third meeting in the Spring Stakes which Beauford won by a neck after the two geldings singled out head to head over the last furlong before an 82,000 crowd at Randwick on Derby Day.

The Craven Plate, their fourth clash, was no anti-climax.

Maybe it was a record for a Wednesday meeting at Randwick on October 4, 1922, when an estimated 50,000 watched them do battle with Gloaming strolling away to an easy three-length win on a wet, windy day.

The reports were that Beauford was weary and wouldn’t eat and that is why Gloaming started favourite at even money.

Beauford was a big, gangly gelding bred by his owner W H Mackay and trained at Newcastle by Sid Killick.

The Newcastle-Maitland and Hunter districts has always been proud of its sporting champions—Les Darcy, Jim Pike, Stan Davidson, Wayne Harris, Beauford, Rogilla, Luskin Star and Dave Sands for example.

Darcy was fresh in the memories when the Coalfields fraternity had another hero—Beauford.

W H Mackay bred him at his property Albano, near Maitland. The big fellow was by the imported Beau Soult from Blueford.

Bert Griffith, a resident of Scone (grand-father of Mudgee based trainer Mack and Luke Griffith of Scone) whose father Bob worked for W H Mackay for 40 years, said Beauford was big and nervous, a horse who hated noise.

Recalling his father’s recollections of the horse Bert Griffith once said: “Long after his retirement Beauford bolted and took to the bush. Dad couldn’t find him for a week or so.”

“He had swum the Hunter River, then gone to the top of the range near Mr Mackay’s property. The horse was content to be out there on his own. He was a loner, highly strung, a one-man horse. He used to go off his tucker and everyone use to say that Gloaming would never have beaten him only for that. Beauford was eventually put down by Bob Griffiths at the Mackay property Anambah outside Maitland on the banks of the Hunter River.”

Gloaming was bred in Victoria by Earnest Clark who sold him to G D Greenwood of Christchurch, NZ, as a yearling for 230 guineas.

Gloaming eventually won 57 races from 67 starts.

The only time he did not finish first or second was the day he fell in a race at Trentham.

If he was not the greatest gelding ever to grace the Australasian turf then there have been few better.

Racing’s history will be further enriched in the years to come if we can produce another Beauford or a Gloaming.

“The Boss” John Inglis

John Inglis … was his unit’s SP bookie during the war.
Photo: Courtesy of Douglas M Barrie ‘The Australian Bloodhorse’

See also:

John Inglis aka “The Boss”

Former highly valued Inglis employee and Scone Bloodstock Agent Kieran Moore has just reminded me (‘The Bar’, Scone 15/11/18) that John was always known as ‘The Boss’; no argument and everyone knew who! Kieran’s tales from ‘behind the gavel’ are legendary! I will try to catch up sometime. There was a secret ‘language’ between John and Ossie Roberts which you could not detect from under the Moreton Bay Fig Tree. I did perceive it on the few occasions when I occupied in the vendors box. You had to be an ‘insider’ to interpret the signs! Suffice it to say that there were ‘favoured’ vendors and buyers; and then there were others! It was a very serious contest.

I was going to call this blog ‘The Rock’. I should have done; it would have been apposite. Almost 50 years ago Harold Baldwin told me the reason he stayed in the thoroughbred breeding industry was one man: John Inglis. Harold was a business man well used to the vagaries and vicissitudes of everyday business and barter transactions; occasionally encountering the recusant, rebarbative, fraudulent and serially mendacious. John Inglis represented the very pinnacle of integrity, honour, honesty, decency and reliability. He was an immutable constant in a cabal with few others. Harold trusted him implicitly. I quickly learned to do the same. The industry does no always engender such implicit trust.

In the encomium reproduced below there is reference to ‘hoaxers’. I was once the unwitting victim of a serious hoax. John was my salvation. I had just sold a yearling by ‘Bletchingly’ for the then enormous sum of $105,000:00 in about 1980 knocked down to champion trainer T J Smith. My brown colt out of ‘Beyond All’ was lot number 13 in the Easter Catalogue. ‘Beyond All’ was a sister-in-blood to champion mare ‘Lowland’. ‘Kingston Town’ was at his peak and ‘Bletchingly’ was champion sire. Angus Armanasco had inspected him and declared “he was the most like ‘Bletchingly’ he had seen”. The planets were aligned. I was floating on air as I descended from the vendor’s box.  I almost knocked over cold, grey-eyed George Freeman who had the next lot in the ring. From there things started to go awry. The supposed purchaser, a Mr. Prosser, came back to the stables with us and discussed possible names. The same buyer also bought a Biscay colt from Sir Tristan Antico’s ‘Baramul Stud’ for $80,000:00. I conducted an interview with a commercial TV station. The portents were excellent; until Mr. Prosser turned out to be a complete fraud! John Inglis tried to chase him down including through a local Synagogue but the man was a charlatan without any money, capacity or intent to pay! John came to see me. He looked me in the eye and said: ‘Don’t worry Bill; Tommy (T J Smith) and I have been doing business for 50 years. You’ll get your money’. He was as good as his word. My colt raced as ‘Norseman’ and won a midweek race at Rosehill for c-owner Mrs. Darby Munro. Sir Tristan’s Biscay colt was more successful racing as ‘The Challenge’.

When I accompanied the Baramul horses to the USA in 1970 my immediate boss was Jack Flood. Jack worked for ‘Mr. Inglis’. He always called him that and was full of lavish praise. On another occasion Hugh Munro from ‘Keira’, Bingara turned up late one winter Sunday afternoon with a float-load of cull broodmares for sale. Who helped him unload and provide stabling; none other than J. A. Inglis ‘as soon as he’d finished feeding the pigeons’. Racing pigeons were his relaxing passion. We used to host release for his club at our Scone Cup Race Meeting. It was a very popular feature. The winning pigeon used to take little over an hour reaching its loft in Randwick. As always John and the firm William Inglis & Sons were the best friends we had in Scone. They sponsored races and invested significantly in building sales boxes at White Park. There were myriad other courtesies and kindnesses. Not many are recorded.

Cliff Ellis and I attended Tom Flynn’s (Oakleigh Stud) Memorial Service in the beautiful Heber Chapel in Cobbitty. John delivered the eulogy but was overcome with emotion. He was an extremely sensitive man. On another occasion a close family member had passed away. I wrote to Mr. and Mrs. Inglis. The next time I saw John he took my hand in his and held it firmly. Tears poured down his cheeks. No words were necessary. Mrs. Inglis had been a close school friend of my late mother-in-law. It always felt like ‘family’. With John Inglis his word was his bond. There aren’t many who can justifiably claim this honour.

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Robert Towns

Robert Towns

I am motivated to include this encomium to Robert Towns because he was born in a small village only about 8 miles from where I first saw the light of day. Longhorsley, Northumberland, England was a stop on the United ‘bus journey from Hepple to Morpeth and Newcastle which seemed to take forever? I think it was about 1 hour and forty minutes? Robert Towns excelled as an early colonist and administrator albeit somewhat sullied by accusations of ‘blackbirding’ which might have been taken for granted then? I learned of his existence on my first visit to Townsville; the city in North Queensland named for him. He only went there once in his life. Nonetheless I was struck by the outstanding pioneering success of the small boy who left home aged 10 and very successfully forged his own way in life. An earlier tribute I read claimed he was the second youngest of eleven children and made his way to North Shields by sleeping under the hedgerows and survived by eating berries? I’m impressed! My journey was luxurious by comparison.

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Barry D’Arcy Rose OAM

Barry D’Arcy Rose OAM

Featured Image: This is the cover of a CD Barry recorded in order to raise funds for local charities. I think it captures the ‘life essentials’ of the man?

As I compose this eulogy (Sunday 11th November 2018) I am assisting with the exposition of the 5th Scone Literary Festival. I am motivated to do this (at long last!) by a charming former ‘special’ lady friend of Barry’s who is attending the festival. It’s a specific request. Now resident in Sydney the lady cited is an erstwhile resident of the Upper Hunter who ‘keeps up to speed’ by reading my ‘blogs’. I’m greatly honoured!

Barry and I go back to the late 1960’s when Barry was leader of the Aberdeen based music ensemble ‘The Graham Street Four’; or Five! Music was one of Barry’s many passions. He emerged as a leader in almost anything he did. I came into contact with him often in his many and diverse roles. These included ‘socialisation’, radio sports journalism (2NM), Harness Racing administration, Camyr Allen Stud (‘Don’t Retreat’) and latterly local Government (UHSC). Barry was an ardent and passionate man; a genuine polymath. I’ll leave it to ‘professionals’ to capture the essential essence of the ‘man’. As I often declare I ‘plunder, plagiarize and purloin’ where possible! It’s my mantra! I also live by the adages: “Seek and ye shall find” and a professional one; “You miss more by not looking than not knowing”.

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