Golden Slipper Princess 1969

Golden Slipper Princess 1969

The featured image shows Jean McPherson with all time great Golden Slipper Winner “Vain” at Rosehill Race Track in 1969. Vain went on to be a Champion Sire based at ‘Widden Stud’ in the Widden Valley

A seminal event occurred in 1969 which I believe represented the apotheosis of overarching convivial community approval in my fifty years in Scone. It occurred in 1969. I recall totemic accountant Don Scott remarking this was the high point in his period of stewardship which embraced all creeds and castes. The RSL club was an exclusively male bastion still populated by a majority of veterans over auxiliaries. Men like George McLaughlin and Ernie Cone were treated with reverence and respect. Governor of NSW Sir Roden Cutler VC was a special guest during the year. ‘Everyone’ was there. The Scone Race Club Committee was populated by racing men, stud masters, farmers and graziers, businessmen, tradesmen and covering every ilk. Jock Robertson, David Macintyre and Arthur Bragg doubled on the Sone Polo Club Committee.

I refer to the competition for the inaugural Golden Slipper Princess promulgated and promoted by the Sydney Turf Club (STC) and supreme entrepreneurial Director George Ryder. George was the inspirational stud master of ‘Woodlands’ near Denman. Harley Walden has written most enthusiastically of the event in his appositely named treatise: ‘The Spirit Within’.

Race Club Finds New Way to Attract and Entertain Patrons

The word gimmick is commonly used today as companies, sporting bodies or people in business endeavour to attract the attention of the public.

On Saturday March 8 1969 the committee of the Scone Race Club did not have this word in mind. But they certainly attracted a large crowd at White Park to witness, not only a good day of racing, but to see Scone Pre-school teacher Miss Jean McPherson chosen to represent the racing area in the final of the Golden Slipper Princess Quest set down for judging at Rosehill Racecourse  on Saturday March 22.

According to all reports the versatility of interests and the charm of the seven entrants were impressive. There was great pride shown from those in attendance that these girls were products of the Upper Hunter.

This concept had captured the imagination of the large crowd on hand as the girls, from the dais of the members’ enclosure at the Scone Race Course answered questions as to their interest and their thoughts on the contest.

The crowd found it illuminating to discover that among the seven girls was one who had been the Singleton Show Girl twice. Another had been a Scone Floral Festival Princess; another was a local tennis star with considerable successes chalked up to her career; another was a (National) swimming champion who modestly never mentioned the fact; while several others were old hands in the racing game, with family backgrounds that made them worthy contestants.

The feeling of the crowd was one of warm, sympathy and admiration for the young contestants and voiced their approval and congratulations to the winner Miss Jean McPherson from Scone, who on Saturday March 22 was to be adjudged the Golden Slipper Princess and the honour of being the representative of Australian Racing at Hollywood Park in Los Angeles and at Woodbine in Toronto, Canada.

When Miss Jean McPherson returned to Scone the Scone Club seized the opportunity to promote its next meeting on Saturday April 12. During the afternoon she was welcomed to the gateway to the members’ enclosure by Scone Race Club President Mr H. R. ‘Harry’ Hayes.

It was in this enclosure only a few short weeks before that Miss McPherson was adjudged Miss Hunter Valley Racing Princess. This was in front of a crowd of Saturday’s same proportion who had gathered to welcome home their local Golden Girl.

These two Saturday meetings proved memorable for all concerned as it was not every day that racegoers had the opportunity of a double attraction.

Photographs included:

  • Jean McPherson sashed winner at Scone
  • Jean sashed at Rosehill by STC Committeeman Keith Harris
  • Jean with 1969 all-time great Golden Slipper Winner ‘Vain’ at Rosehill
  • STC Golden Slipper Princess and Hollywood Park Golden Goose Girl
  • Jean at Hollywood Park LA with Major Norman Larkin and Hollywood Park Golden Goose Girl
  • Major Norman Larkin was then President of the Australian (and NSW) Thoroughbred Breeders Association. According to cynical some this was a sinecure. He had been the first equine veterinarian to visit the Scone and Upper Hunter District. He did this from his base at Bondi.
  • He was also President of AEVA a short time later in the mid-1970s.
  • Golden Slipper Princess and Golden Goose Girl
  • ‘Dagmar’s Boy’ winner of $15,000:00 Sydney Golden Slipper Purse LA 1972
  • Weight’s right for Ismael Valenzuela