Henry ‘Boyd’ Gageler

Henry ‘Boyd’ Gageler

Featured Image: Boyd Gageler at Muswellbrook Races on Sunday 5th November 2017

Today (30/04/19) I was approached by the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association (HTBA) if I could supply some information about a possible nomination for the Annual Presidents’ Award to be bestowed at the Annual HTBA Dinner on Wednesday 8th May 2019. It was discovered that the person cited had already received the honor; in 1994! I thought about it. I came up with a ‘far left-field’ nomination of the oldest continuous thoroughbred breeder and trainer in the Upper Hunter Valley.

Still active Boyd Gageler (he was always known by that tag) would have been almost 97! I’d known him and spouse Francie for over 50 years. I ‘googled’ him and came up with a number of strikes of which the following is perhaps the best? I then thought I’d call Tommy Ollerton to make sure Boyd was still with us? Tommy immediately informed me his memorial service was in Muswellbrook tomorrow (Wednesday 1st May 2019)! So much for poignant telepathy!

Boyd would have made an excellent choice in my opinion. His genre has largely disappeared from the racing scene in the Upper Hunter combining a dairy farm as well as breeding and training your own. He would have made a stark contrast to recent ‘heavyweight’ recipients; but now we will never know? What I do know and most don’t is that Boyd generously contributed a debenture when I was trying to raise funds for the final construction of what is now the selling-ring grandstand at White Park, Scone. In the late 1970s it was the main grandstand for the races. My first major task as new President of the Scone Race Club (1978) was to propel finalisation of the project. We only had just over half the funds required! Boyd and few other mainly smaller breeders supplied the requisite finances.


November 7 2017 – 10:07AM

Race day holds special place in Henry ‘Boyd’ Gageler’s heart

Rod Thompson and Brian Russell

THE Aberdeen Cup has a special place in Henry “Boyd” Gageler’s heart.

And, the Muswellbrook Race Club Life Member made no secret of that fact at Skellatar Park on Sunday.

The 95-year-old bred, owned and trained horses for more than four decades, winning the 1960 Aberdeen Cup at Aberdeen – before it closed down after big floods in 1971 – with his mare Flower Vale.

Gageler also triumphed on the same track with Gendilla on Cup day in 1963, with teenage apprentice Scone’s Tommy Ollerton, now 70, in the saddle.

“Yes, I won a few races at Aberdeen,” he admitted.

“But, I remember that [Cup] victory like it was yesterday.

“There are a lot of great memories [from back then].

“Even though there’s no racetrack at Aberdeen anymore, it’s good to see the Cup still being raced at neighbouring Muswellbrook.

“I love getting out to the meetings whenever I can – and catching up with the likes of Tommy.”

Gendila was one of many rides Ollerton had at Aberdeen in his career.

He went on to train successfully but now only has a couple of horses in work.

His Newcastle-based son Rodney is also highly-regarded within the industry.

Gendila later produced winners for Gageler and his wife Francie, including Stars and Stripes.

He was a Red Gauntlet colt who, sold at Sydney yearling sales, won 11 races, including seven in Sydney, and later three in America.

Gageler, born at Denman and raised on the family’s dairy at Sandy Hollow (that later became Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm stud), also recalled the impressive feats of two of his gallopers, Silver Cape and Sovereign Miss.

“We got into breeding in the late 1950s with two sisters, Silver Cape and Race Tip, a Cessnock maiden winner,” he said.

“Silver Cape won 25 races for us including the annual Corinthian Handicap for amateur riders at Randwick and the Cessnock, Grenfell and Merriwa Cups.

“They presented the first foals out of these mares at yearling sales in 1961, but we took one of them, a filly got by Genetout from Silver Cape, home.

“Sovereign Miss won 16 races for me, including one at Randwick.

“Ironically, we had another horse called Silver Cape – many years later – which enjoyed success at Muswellbrook.”

One of the biggest thrills the Gagelers received in more than half a century of breeding and racing was when Iga Ninja, a horse they bred and sold at the Sydney yearling sales, led in the straight before finishing a close seventh in the 1988 Golden Slipper.

Owned and trained by Howard Rodger, Iga Ninja contested 13 juvenile races for three Randwick victories including the Canonbury Stakes, a third in the Skyline Stakes and fourths in the Breeder’s Plate and Todman Slipper Trial.

Later the sire of winners from very restricted use, Iga Ninja was bred by the Gagelers on Rosehill, a small farm they ran on the fringe of Muswellbrook. Among the stallions to stand at ‘Rosehill’ were Biscay’s smart son ‘Sylvester’, Lord Pakistan (NZ) and also the imported ‘Redmead’.

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