Jack Johnston Reflects
Featured Image: Scone Advocate 25 May 1995 ‘Bloodhorse Breeders Honour Horsemen’
Two of the best known personalities in racing and breeding were honoured at the Hunter Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association annual dinner during Scone Horse Week. They were 81-year-old Jack Johnston, owner of Tyrone Stud near Scone and veterinary surgeon Dr Bill Howey, also of Scone.
Mr Johnston, a horseman all his life, received the prestigious Murray Bain Award for services to the racing and breeding industry. Mr Howey, a former President of the Scone race Club, got the shock of his life when he was recalled to the stage to receive the Association’s presidential award for services to the industry. Only a few minutes earlier he had been responsible for the eulogy that preceded the announcement of Mr Johnston’s Murray Bain award.
Mr Johnston announced publicly after receiving his award that he had tendered his resignation from the Scone Race Club committee, one which he joined in 1955. He told the gathering he had seen 48 consecutive Scone Cups at the old White Park track and the first one at the new Scone track last Friday.
A Brief Study of Racing in Scone since 1947 by Jack Johnston
During the war years a number of Patriotic Race Meetings were held in Scone, namely at Alabama and St Aubins, to raise funds for various institutions such as the Scott Memorial Hospital, the Red Cross and the CWA.
On 30th November 1944, a final Committee Meeting of the Scott Memorial Hospital Race Club was held and it was decided at that meeting to reform the Scone Jockey Club and endeavour to establish a Racecourse, preferably on White Park, Scone.
At another meeting held on 7th December 1944, which was a great success, donations promised and received totalled £209:6:0.
Mr Doug Robertson was elected President
(Mr Stan Keene declined nomination)
Mr Ted Howell was elected Treasurer
Mr Cec Parry was elected Honorary Secretary
The Committee comprised:
S G Keene
S M Readford
L R Morgan
H R Johnston
G N Lockhead
Sgt. J G Loombes (10)
The first meeting was held on the new (White Park) race course which was designed on very similar lines to Canterbury, Sydney, the same architect doing both courses.
The meeting was on Wednesday 7th May 1947, with a 6 event programme; £750 total prizemoney; £420 double Flying and Cup.
Maiden Handicap Oxford Lad Etiquette Fasfoot 11 Starters
Flying Handicap Jungle Queen Chief Ticket Lilla Jean 5
Scone Race Club Cup Precise Smart Alick Wearie 16
Novice Handicap Double Gift Aachen Cangai
Welter Handicap Exalted Chief Ticket Emerge 8
The club started racing with all accounts paid in full.
The Cup has been run over 4 distances, namely:
7 ¼ furlongs
7 furlongs (1400 meters) of late
Some of that fastest horses racing have performed at Scone.
“Merry Jack” etc., etc.,
In spite of statements made about the tightness of the track, very few accidents have occurred. Only 1 jockey fatality and very few horses have fallen over 46 years of racing and trials. It was recognised as a very safe wet weather track. We still raced one year when the barriers became bogged on several occasions.
Top jockeys who have ridden on White Park include:
Darby Munro (who received $1:50 for his win on “San Salvador”!!)
Many people will miss racing on White Park. It has served the people well, but progress has to be respected and we will soon be moving to the new site and a beautiful course.
There will be no complaints about the training tracks or the course proper and only he fittest will survive.
I’ve always said if you win a race anywhere, the track is good. Whether it be up and down hill or round sharp turns, it’s still good and few owners complain!!
Having served 39 years as a committeeman on the Race Club and 34 as Timekeeper, I can assure you I have seen a lot of changes but enjoyed it all and am looking forward to doing the same tasks at the new track. (Note: Sadly Jack could no longer continue as Timekeeper because he could not walk up the long spiral staircase to the Judge’s Tower at the new Satur Track).
The Presidents in order are:
- D H Robertson
- L B Israel
- H R Hayes
- John Kelso Jnr.
- W P Howey
- D R Bath
J W Johnston esq.,
Footnote: I strongly suspect (in fact know) Jack’s daughter Lesley typed this manuscript!