‘Trevors’ & Betty @ Kilmore 1966

‘Trevors’ & Betty @ Kilmore 1966

Page 32, ‘The Sun’, Friday 14 October 1966

Featured Image: Mrs Betty Shepherd gallops ‘Trevors’ on Kilmore Race Track by Ian McPherson

‘Trainers with Cups in their Sights’

“Her Hobby- Training”

There’s something about June Allyson in the broad smile and sparkling eyes of Mrs Betty Shepherd.

And that’s probably the last thing one would expect in the 35-year-old trainer of a Caulfield and Melbourne Cup hope.

For Mrs Shepherd, who has a 15-year old daughter, is a double rarity – a racehorse trainer and a successful one.

Continue reading →

Reg Watts & Norma: Warwick Gold Cup 1938

Reg Watts & Norma: Warwick Gold Cup 1938

Acknowledge: “The Warwick Gold Cup”; ‘Campdrafting Memories and Magic Moments’; Compiled and written by Bev Cheers. Gifted by Reg Watts great nephew Frank Daley from Aberdeen

1938 Cattle Drafting Championship          Warwick               Queensland

Place                     Competitor                        Horse

1st                           R. Watts                               Norma (274)

2nd                          H A Burgess                        Glenisle ( 265)

3rd                           G Duncan                            Pussycat (264)

4th                           R Watts                                Digger (261)

5th                           Boyce & Kilpatrick                Cadet (260)

6th                           R Grace                                Ranch Hero (172)

Judges                  R Munro

Prizemoney        £100       (Includes value of Cup)

Winner Novice Draft

A R Atthow                         Piety

Winner Ladies Draft

H A Burgess                        Glenrock (Ridden by J Burgess)

  • Reg Watts was the first New South Welshman to win the Gold cup
  • Miss Gwen Duncan’s 3rd place in the Gold Cup with Pussycat was the first place in this event by a woman

Continue reading →

HammondCare Dementia Care Home

HammondCare announces plans to build 30-bed dementia care home next to Strathearn House in Scone

Mathew Perry

Local News

See: https://www.huntervalleynews.net.au/story/7421783/scone-to-get-new-dementia-care-home/

Prologue (WPH)

The aged care industry in Scone is huge. It was initially the prescient vision of the late great Dr Walter Pye (‘The Man of the 20th Century’: Audrey Entwisle) who first conceived the idea in c. 1970. It began as the Upper Hunter Village Association and ‘morphed’ into Strathearn Village in 1999/2000. HammondCare took charge in 2016. This next ‘iteration’ is the outcome of planning in the early 2000s which first delivered the construction of Strathearn House and Strathearn Village on Gundy Road.

Aged care provider HammondCare has announced plans to build a 30-bed dementia care home next to its Strathearn House facility in Scone after receiving development approval from Upper Hunter Shire Council.

IN THE PIPELINE: HammondCare has plans to build a 30-bed dementia care home next to its Strathearn House facility in Scone.

Initial works on the ‘cottage-style’ facility will begin in mid-September with the project set to be completed by June next year.

HammondCare Chief Executive Mike Baird said he was delighted the company was able to continue its investment in caring for vulnerable older residents in the Scone region.

“HammondCare has been a leading provider of dementia care for more than 25 years and the new cottage-style home in Scone will benefit from this experience as it provides an enabling, therapeutic environment for people with dementia,” Mr Baird said.

The care home will incorporate dementia-specific design features including single rooms with ensuites, a domestic kitchen and access to outdoor garden spaces for residents.

The new development will also include a new commercial laundry, an expanded administration area and the first stage of a new community centre for HammondGrove independent living residents across Scone.

HammondCare also announced plans to retire its 1980s Strathearn Village care home on Stafford St as part of the project, with current residents to be moved to either Strathearn House or the new facility depending on their care needs.

Mr Baird said consultations have already begun with residents, staff and other stakeholders at Strathearn Village to ensure a well-managed and safe transition over the next 12 months.

“Our top priority is the care of residents and we believe Stafford St residents will be delighted with their new accommodation on Gundy Rd which will provide improved facilities with the same excellent level of care they are accustomed to,” Mr Baird said.

Mr Baird said there would be no job losses associated with the transition and managers will carefully consult with the HammondCare team regarding their future employment arrangements at the Gundy Rd site.

In a statement, HammondCare said the project would help ensure the long-term viability of aged care in Scone by allowing it to consolidate its residential care services on its own land at Gundy Rd site, with the company’s current lease agreement with Hunter New England Local Health for the Stafford St site set to expire within five years.


Racing Legends Unite

Racing Legends Unite

Featured Image: Betty Shepherd and John Letts with the 2019 Melbourne Cup ‘on tour’ in Scone

Betty might have missed out with ‘Trevors’ in 1966 but she wasn’t about to let go of the Melbourne Cup for 2019 in a hurry on Thursday August 08 2019.

It was the annual promotional tour of the Melbourne Cup; a notable publicity triumph for the VRC each year. We had hosted the same event on Friday 15th October 2010 when I played my part as Councillor of the Upper Hunter Shire Council. Des Gleeson was the ambassador then and Amanda Elliott the VRC Committee representative; now Chairman/person.

John Letts was an ‘ideal’ ambassador and played the part to perfection. He won ‘the Cup’ on two occasions: Piping Lane in 1972 and Beldale Ball in 1980. His busy itinerary this year started out at Godolphin (Darley) Stud Aberdeen, Aberdeen Public School, Aberdeen Pre-School, White Park Scone, the Thoroughbred Hotel, Strathearn House and the Linga Longa Inn @ Gundy. What a journey; and what a fitting finale!

John Letts rode over 2,300 winners in a distinguished career and was ‘immortalized’ with his two victories in the Melbourne Cup. In 2019 locally bred ‘Vow and Declare’ triumphed at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November. Mick Malone and his cohort crew at Kitchwin Hills made it a night to remember at the Linga Longa in Gundy! The Cup came home!

John Letts figures (briefly) in video/film ‘A Race of Horses’ on this website.

Betty and the Boxer

Betty Shepherd & Jack Green

Featured Image: Betty Shepherd and Jack Green at Randwick circa 1965

Jack Green took over the training of ‘Trevors’ during Betty Shepherd’s protracted dispute with the Taxation Commissioner of NSW

Glamourous Betty Shepherd had endured a ‘road block’ in her training hobby. She had literally been ‘taken to court’ by the Taxation Commissioner over non-payment of income tax on the winnings of ‘Trevors’ and other privately owned-and-trained gallopers. It was claimed she was ‘conducting a business with the industry of racing’. However Mr Justice Rath, Law Division of the Supreme Court, ruled in favour of Mrs Shepherd and dismissed the appeal by the Taxation Commissioner. Mr Justice Rath said Mrs Shepherd ‘had a love of horses and a passion for them’. He also stated that her betting system profited because of the “obliging habit of ‘Trevors’ (and others) to run true to form”. He ruled that monies received by Mrs Shepherd from prizemoney and wagering in the years 1963 to 1967 ($7,676; $7,512; $23,964; $13,586 and $14,961) ‘were not assesable income’. It’s just possible the Taxation Commissioner had one eye on spouse Archie’s weekly takings? There was a legitimate grocery supply/auction business but also a telephone-linked wagering service. Just musing?

Jack Green was inducted into Racing Hall of Fame in 2009

A member of a famous sporting family, Jack Green excelled as an amateur boxer and rugby footballer before five years’ service in World War II. In 1947, he was granted a NSW trainer’s permit, and began to make his name with a small team of horses, including problem horses such as Silent, Conductor and Winmil, which he restored to winning form.

Green’s career received a huge boost through his association with the progeny of Star Kingdom. The sire’s first two winners, Kingster (AJC Breeders’ Plate) and Ultrablue (AJC Gimcrack Stakes), were both trained by Green, and there was rarely a time when there was not a son or daughter of Star Kingdom in his charge. Among his stable stars were the full brothers Sky High and Skyline, who were bred and raced by AJC Chairman Sir Brian Crowley. Sky High raced for five seasons and won 29 races including the Golden Slipper Stakes, Victoria Derby, Lightning Stakes (twice), Futurity Stakes, Mackinnon Stakes, Caulfield Stakes (twice), AJC All-Aged Stakes and Epsom Handicap. Skyline won four races including the Golden Slipper Stakes, the AJC Derby and the STC Hill Stakes. Other progeny of Star Kingdom to excel under Green’s training were Starover and Gold Stakes.

Green’s greatest training feat was the victory of Baystone in the 1958 Melbourne Cup. He had bought Baystone in 1954 as a yearling and patiently developed him into a strong two mile performer.

Although Green never won the Sydney trainers’ premiership, he was four times second to Tommy Smith, and had some 80 feature race wins to his credit.

Green was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

Reminiscing on the sights and sounds of racing circa 1954

Reminiscing on the sights and sounds of racing circa 1954

Featured Image: Randwick Spring Carnival 1954


Joseph Conrad said it first but it could have been Max Presnell; only the epoch and locale were different!

“I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more /the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort /to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires /and expires, too soon, too soon /before life itself”

It’s good to reminisce. I’m better practiced now I’m rapidly approaching 80 years of age. I can google with the best of them. That’s a consolation of staying alive long enough. The late Keith Binney (‘Horsemen of the First Frontier’) told me if he’d had access to Trove it would have been very much easier? I especially appreciated Max’s richly wistful piece on ‘Racing and Randwick’. I was actually searching for the origins of his ‘Bad Call’ on Ray Flockton versus Richie Benaud’. I discovered the following which I duly acknowledge. It transpires Richie Benaud wrote an emotional eulogy for his great cricketing mate ‘Flocko’. It’s fabulous nostalgia for any dedicated sports nut.

See: Reminiscing on the sights and sounds of racing circa 1954 (smh.com.au)

By Max Presnell

December 5, 2014 — 3.09pm

Continue reading →

Max’s Bad Call

Max’s Bad Call

See: https://www.smh.com.au/sport/racing/the-ink-is-still-in-my-veins-after-more-than-60-years-20181202-p50jrb.html

Featured Image: Richie Benaud

Legend: former Australian captain Richie Benaud wasn’t a patch on Paddington’s Ray Flockton … or so Max Presnell thought.Credit:3aw.com.au

Max writes:

“As a copy boy at Elizabeth Street to travel in the same lift as Keith Miller, the cricket hero who worked in the building, made my day. Some felt a young bloke employed in the counting house upstairs – Richie Benaud – was going to be good but showing my renowned judgment on all things sporting I felt Ray Flockton, from Paddington, had more promise.”

Need I say more? Remember Max is a punter! I’ve seen Max at a few well lubricated functions but I still haven’t been game to ask him what happened to Ray Flockton?

Richie’s brother John Benaud also worked at John Fairfax:

“Sporting editor John Benaud, brother of Richie and later the last editor of The Sun, coming back from a news conference kicking an iron bin when he didn’t get his way, is a lasting memory of more than 60 years with John Fairfax.

Ironic perhaps because Benaud, one of the outstanding newspapermen of my time, campaigned to get cricketers on the field in softer shoes and how his toes survived the bins is beyond me.”

Country Racing’s Pain

Country Racing’s Pain

Acknowledge: https://www.huntervalleynews.net.au/story/7417814/country-racings-pain/

Featured Image: OUCH: Country racing participants have been hit hard in recent times. Photo: Racing Photography.

NSW country racing: Industry participants face ruin

        Jeff Hanson

Local Sport


It doesn’t seem long ago when local ABC journalist Mike Pritchard was confidently spruiking the ‘rise and rise’ of country racing? I tended to agree. I posted the information on August 15, 2020.

See: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/the-rise-and-rise-of-country-racing-in-nsw/

What has significantly changed in this short space of time? Some of the ‘causes’ are identified by Jeff Hanson as below. Locally could it mean the demise of tracks like Merriwa and Wallabadah? Over 50 years ago leading NSW Country Racing Owner, Breeder and Administrator Stewart Nivison from Walcha firmly stated after winning the Scone Cup in 1968 that the success or failure of country race clubs depended on the enthusiasm and zeal of the local committees? Is this the test for survival?

I have lived in Scone for almost 55 years. In that time we have lost a number of race clubs. Aberdeen Jockey Club ‘folded’ in 1971 following severe flooding of the Hunter River. Denman Race Club amalgamated with Muswellbrook about a decade later. It was all too hard out there in the rank dry bush. Recently Cessnock Race Club (owned by the NJC) announced no further race days but maintaining a training track. Private tracks at ‘St Aubins’ and ‘Alabama’ were closed soon after WWII. The last of at least three Gundy courses ‘faded away’ about this time. There was a final registered meeting at Gundy in 1946. I shudder to think what might have happened at Scone if we had not made the seminal decision to move in 1980? White Park had been enormous fun and very successfully established the Scone Cup Meeting in May as a ‘major’ on the country racing calendar. However the writing was clearly on the wall. There was much thinly disguised strident criticism; some of it snide and duplicitous. However we could not have survived to the present day; and thrived as we have. The brand new Scone Bypass (2020) slices right through the ‘old’ course!

I recall a meeting at Widden Stud with leading French Racing administrator and aficionado Monsieur Jean Romanet in the late 1970s. He stated then that every time the French Jockey Club had the opportunity to close a ‘fading’ Race Club they did! Deja vu?

Continue reading →

The Pilgrim, the Major and the Spouse

The Pilgrim, the Major and the Spouse

Featured Image: Sarah Howey, ‘Pilgrim’s Way’ and Major James Mitchell at Yarraman Park in 1981

See also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/joannina-wins-at-scone/

We knew we were on a winner when we guessed right and purchased a share in ‘Bletchingly’ in 1976. It’s history now that ‘Bletchingly’ became leading sire for three consecutive years with his first crops racing (1979/80, 1980/81, 1981/82). Champion Kingston Town helped a lot. Pilgrim’s Way was also in his first crop and proved quite successful on the track although not quite reaching Group Race status.

He was a most impressive individual bred by his owner R L ‘Tiggy’ Moses by ‘Bletchingly’ out of ‘Angelic’ by Chris (imp); a grey stallion who stood at Widden. ‘Tiggy’ raced him with Moree-based friends Wallace Munro (‘Weebollabolla’) and Solicitor Murray Cole. He was trained at Muswellbrook by Pat Farrell and ridden in most of his races by star apprentice Wayne Harris. Pat Farrell, Hilton Cope and the author (WPH) purchased 60% from the conjoint owners and agreed to syndicate him to stand at Yarraman Park. Sarah Howey was the Syndicate Secretary. Major James Mitchell and family owned Yarraman Park.

It was a good idea at the time. However Pilgrim’s Way was no Bletchingly although not an abject failure either. He was later removed to Mary Hallett’s ‘River Ridge Stud’ at Kayuga. About 40 years on Arthur and Harry Mitchell have struck gold with ‘I Am Invincible’ at Yarraman Park. Success in the sire stakes needs an ounce of intuition and an avalanche of luck. Just keep trying!

St Andrews Day Races Memorial 1974

St Andrews Day Races Memorial 1974

Featured Image: The presentation of the Dewar’s Scotch Whiskey Memorial Trophy at the St Andrews Day Race Meeting @ White Park in late November 1974

Race Club stalwart Arthur Banks organises the public address while Bill Howey and David Macintyre stand to attention. Drum Major of the Cardiff RSL Pipe Band Mort Holme directs his Lead Piper on the right to play the dirge.

See: also: https://sconevetdynasty.com.au/st-andrews-day-races/

I’ve already written about the St Andrews Day Races in my usual prolix purple-prose style. See the link above. This one was a special occasion with the running of the 2nd St Andrews Day Race Meeting. Founder and inaugural driver Murray Bain had passed away earlier in March 1974. This was his memorial tribute. I’m holding the trophy which was donated by my/our Scone Veterinary Practice ‘Morgan-Howey-Fraser and Partners’.

I don’t think we’ll see the likes of this again? I hope I’m wrong!