Kings of the Turf

Kings of the Turf


Yesterday (26/07/18) I was talking with good mate Graham Harper at the ‘Men’s Shed’ in Scone. I was the enforced labourer assigned to pick up my wife’s refurbished desk. The men did a great job. Graham was quite excited. Knowing of my addiction to turf history he told me he’d uncovered a fantastic story on ‘The Rebarbative John Brown’. I like the word’ rebarbative’. You can insult someone without their really knowing it? Graham had my immediate attention. I was rapt. I’ve been concentrating on the Hunter Valley. The Coal Baron Browns were certainly up front and central in the early days.

I arrived home and successfully unloaded the restored desk without deleterious incident. I googled (new verb) the title. Straight away I discovered an absolute treasure trove of historical racing information. Ian Ibbett has done a superb job; and what a task! You can find all this by clicking on the URL above. You’ll find an ‘Introduction’, ‘Prologue’ and ‘Contacts’. Then the fun really starts. It’s a Magnus Opus (Latin I think). Ian has based his story on ‘A History of the AJC Derby from 1861 to 1977’. It’s monumental, comprehensive, complete and colossal.

For some time I’d been searching for information on Royal Sovereign, the triple Derby Winner who was bred by my wife’s great Uncle F K ‘Darby’ Mackay. It’s all there; in spades. Then I scrolled down to find information on the Thompson Family of Widden (1904). The late ‘Bim’ Thompson was groomsman at our wedding. It’s perhaps demeaning to claim that this online goldmine fills in all the gaps; but it does. Reading through this will take me some time. I’m greatly looking forward to the task. My next move will be to alert my very good friend racing and breeding journalist Brian Russell. Only last week Brian (88) became a resident in an Aged Care Home in Denman. I know it’s an excellent establishment. Brian will be able to compare notes with John Harris formerly of ‘Holbrook Stud’ in the Widden Valley.

Thank you Graham Harper for the introduction; I’m hooked!