Murray Bain Service to Industry Award

Featured Image shows Murray Bain and ‘Birthday Card’ in 1964

Murray Bain Service to Industry Award

The Hunter Valley Blood Horse Breeders Association [HVBBA] as it was then known instituted the ‘Murray Bain Service to Industry Award’ at my suggestion and request. This was the beginning of the Brian Agnew era. Darcy Walden was the first recipient in 1985. This was a most memorable occasion at the Scone Bowling Club.  Babe Singleton was next in 1986. The major premise was that Murray was a great exponent of the ‘working stud groom’ and championed their cause. He always impressed on me that: “given the choice of a good stud groom and a good stud vet you take the good stud groom every time”! That put me firmly in my place! Many of his close friends subsequently received the award including Ron Jeffries, Cliff Ellis, George Bowman and Jim Gibson. I think Murray would have approved!

The back ground of the Perpetual Trophy relates to the letter from Mace to me and my subsequent response. Channel 10 had used Murray’s old original 16mm film ‘The Veterinarian on the Stud Farm’ [c. 1964/1965] for footage to make the Star Kingdom Video. They offered the munificent sum of $500:00 as payment of royalties to Mace! We had just formed the Hunter Valley Equine Research Foundation [HVERF] and Mace suggested the money be invested there. I made a ‘unilateral executive decision’ to put it into something more tangible and telephoned Mace [13/10/88] to request a ‘perpetual trophy in honour of Murray’. She agreed. A copy of the original letter from Mace to me is included below with my ‘annotations’ relating to debate on the ‘fate’ or ultimate destiny of the $500:00.

I purchased the trophy for c. $760:00 and ‘made up the difference myself’. This is the trophy presented each year at the Annual Dinner. The underlying and deeply entrenched principle is the award should be made to a “richly deserving person actively working with ‘hands on’ in the industry” and not at a safe distance. The Presidents Award was instituted for other purposes in 1990.

Winners of the Murray Bain Service to Industry Award

  • 1985 Darcy Walden
  • 1986 Babe Singleton
  • 1987 Cliff Ellis
  • 1988 Ron Jeffries
  • 1989 Jim Gibson
  • 1990 Alec Herbert
  • 1991 John Morgan
  • 1992 George Bowman
  • 1993 Syd Anderson
  • 1994 Reub Cochrane
  • 1995 Jack Johnston
  • 1996 John Flaherty
  • 1997 Shona Murphy
  • 1998 Billy Neville
  • 1999 John Vincent
  • 2000 Angus Campbell
  • 2001 Senga Bissett
  • 2002       John Blunsden
  • 2003       Peter Flynn
  • 2004       Mick Ling
  • 2005       Ron Davies
  • 2006       Jim Rodger
  • 2007       Peter Keating
  • 2008       Alan Morton
  • 2009       Helen Sinclair
  • 2010       Barry Hall
  • 2011       Nickie Cramsie
  • 2012       Paul Adams
  • 2013       Andrew Bowcock
  • 2014       Martin Byrne
  • 2015       Craig Anderson
  • 2016       Verna Metcalfe
  • 2017       Mike Thew
  • 2018       David Merrick
  • 2019       Julie Harris

Murray Bain Thoroughbreds

Murray Bain was a very successful thoroughbred breeder from a very small band of broodmares.

Winners included:

‘Tod Maid’: (Todman ex Ragged Blossom). Winner: Silver Slipper Stakes (Group II) 1966.

Other winners of the Silver Slipper Stakes include: ‘Baguette’ (1969); ‘Luskin Star’ (1976);     ‘Triscay’ (1989); ‘Pierro’ (2012).

‘Obelia’: (Sky High ex Ragged Blossom). Winner Keith Mackay Handicap 1969 (Group III; now Percy Sykes Stakes) and five (5) other races.

‘Little Gumnut’: (Sweet Moss ex Ragged Blossom). Winner AJC Reginald Allen Handicap (Listed) and 2nd; beaten a nose in the VRC Wakeful Stakes (Group I).

‘Dark Eclipse’:    (Baguette ex Marjoram). Winner Golden Slipper Stakes (Group I) 1980.

Murray died in 1974 but had purchased both the share in Baguette and the dam Marjoram as a yearling. Dark Eclipse was the first Golden Slipper winner raced in female ownership. (Mrs M. J. ‘Mace’ Bain and daughters Morag and Fiona were co-owners). Marjoram was from the same family which produced the then current champion ‘Taj Rossi’.

‘Dizzie Babe’: (Major General ex Baby Carriage). Winner of several metropolitan races; raced in partnership with Mr & Mrs D Chrystal Jnr.

‘Blossom Lady’: (Kaoru Star ex Ragged Blossom). Winner.

‘Camomile’: (Biscay ex Marjoram). Unraced. Dam of Stakeswinner ‘Lemongrass’ (by ‘Horbury’)

Murray also had an ‘interest’ in the following:

‘Chicola’: Winner AJC Oaks (Group I) 1959

‘Birthday Card’: Winner Golden Slipper Stakes (Group I) 1962


‘Tod Maid’ was dubbed ‘The Flying Pencil’ by racing journalists. She was notoriously ‘light on’ when in full work and in winning form. She later came up for auction and Murray wanted to buy her back. The $20,000 price tag was too much of an impediment. She was purchased by an American and exported to the USA as part of a small package. Being by Noholme’s brother Todman was the potentially lucrative enticement for an American breeder. I remember examining her.  There was ‘something wrong’; possibly gonadal dysgenesis? She had ovaries like small hard pebbles. I don’t believe she ever produced a live foal?

‘Marjoram’ went to stud as a 2yo; she had upward fixation of the patella (‘stifle lock’). Her first foal by ‘Above Water’ was a winner: ‘Suomi’