Hilton Cope

Hilton Cope

Having paid tribute to Keith Banks and others such as Wayne Harris and Herbie Eveleigh I thought it was about time I recorded an encomium to my good friend Hilton Cope?

Featured Image: Hilton Cope with Ken Howard at White Park Races, Scone in 1976

Podcast: https://www.johntapp.racing/tappys-podcast/2019/7/9/episode-117-tappy-chats-with-hilton-cope

It might have been an inauspicious beginning? The following is taken directly from Harley Walden’s erudite treatise on Keith Banks:

“One thing that will live in Banks’ memory will be his first ride in a race; it was a sensation, at Warwick Farm in March 1959. Hilton Cope’s stirrup broke in a packed field; Noel McGrowdie’s mount came down over Cope and Golden Grove, piloted by then 16-year-old apprentice Banks, crashed on top of both. Banks was admitted to Liverpool Hospital with a broken thigh and pelvis, broken arm and dislocated shoulder. He was in hospital for six months and out of the saddle for a year”.

From there it was upwards and onwards for Hilton Cope. He enjoyed an illustrious career in Australia, France and Ireland with some detours via India and elsewhere. I first learned of Hilton’s prowess from Tom Flynn at Oakleigh Stud in the Widden Valley. The Cope family used to holiday at Oakleigh on a regular basis. They produced very fond memories and a fabulous early education.

I spent many very productive times with Hilton on the Scone Race Club, Upper Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association, ‘Kelvinside’ and myriad stallion syndicates; mostly at Yarraman Park but also including ‘Bletchingly’ at Widden. Hilton stuck with it and has eventually struck ‘gold’ with ‘I Am Invincible’ at Yarraman Park.

I will leave the rest to professional Johnny Tapp who recorded all the detail in his following accolade.

Listen: https://www.johntapp.racing/tappys-podcast/2019/7/9/episode-117-tappy-chats-with-hilton-cope

I was there the day at Randwick when Hilton won the 1970 1600m Fernhill Handicap on ‘Gunsynd’. I’ll never forget it. ‘Gunsynd’ lumped 60kg (9st 4lb) on a bog heavy track. Bill Wehlow was the trainer then. I was watching from just above the winner’s stall when Hilton unsaddled the ‘exhausted’ great grey. Gunsynd’s side were heaving! It was an inspiring performance and a harbinger of greater things ahead.