Racing’s First Lady – An Earlier Treasure before Dark Jewel

Racing’s First Lady – An Earlier Treasure before Dark Jewel

Featured Image: Daisie & Grif Tait and Dark Jewel Trophy – 1969 TBA Award

Acknowledge: “Lillye on Legends” AJC Racing Calendar 1994

Nobody does it better than Bert. His superb treatise on Daisie Tait, the Tait and Osborne Families and their exclusive bloodstock is seminal in tone and eclectic in taste. All time outstanding broodmare Dark Jewel is the pivotal epitome; but there are several others.

‘Valicare’ was the catalyst for what became a tsunami of outstanding thoroughbreds over three family generations. Miss Whitty and Dark Jewel were virtually cast-off broodmares who established what was to become a family dynasty. Daisie lavished great love on her horses. The home property “Gunnong Jugrawah” is a virtual memorial shrine to her beloved horses. Bert Lillye describes the large granite boulder carrying a plaque marking the spot where the ashes of Dark Jewel were placed. It reads:

“1953 – 1971

In Memory of

DARK JEWEL – Ginger Bread, Powella, Heirloom,

Diamante, Betelgeuse, Cabochon,

Birthright, Baguette, Lucie Manette,

Star Facet and Briolette.

Initial recipient of the award for

Australian Broodmare of the Year


Total earnings by her progeny to 10-4-71

$361,137 – gained from 270 starts

58 ½ wins 109 placings.”

The plaque says it all. It was however very far from the end of the saga. Son and daughter-in-law Sandy and Kathy Tait were subsequently very successful indeed in thoroughbred racing and breeding. ‘Tie The Knot’ trained by Guy Walter became Australia’s champion stayer and held the stakes-won record for a many years. Daughter Jill Nivison married Walcha grazier Simon Nivison from a scion family also steeped in racing. They were successful with Vain gelding ‘Inspired’ in the 1984 Golden Slipper Stakes.

Grandson Ollie Tait was instrumental in setting up the very highly successful Australian limb of the Darley/Godolphin brand. ‘Dynasty’ is an overworked cliche; but in this case incontrovertible?