Featured Image: ‘Rogilla’ in 1935
Rogilla was by Roger de Busli (GB) and his dam Speargila was by Brakespear (GB). Roger de Busli (GB) won three races from 20 starts in England. He commenced stud duties in 1925, but sired only one other winner of a principal race in Oro 1935 AJC Metropolitan Handicap.
Rogilla’s dam Speargila was a good race mare that won 13 races in Sydney plus 10 other provincial and country races. Speargila was line-bred to Prince Charlie, as both Lochiel and Clan Stuart were sired by him. She was the dam of six foals, which all raced and were winners. Rogilla was the second foal.
His breeder Hunter White of ‘Talbragar Station’, Coolah granted three consecutive leases to Rogilla’s trainer Les Haigh. Hunter White was also a graduate veterinarian who conducted original research into the ravages of Myxomatosis in rabbits. He was a descendent of the icon White family of ‘Havilah’’ Mudgee.
Rogilla, was a chestnut gelding known as the Coalfields Champion from Newcastle. Rogilla raced during a vintage era of the Australian turf. He won in each of the six seasons that he raced as a three-year-old to an eight-year-old. Rogilla was an outstanding galloper in Sydney and Melbourne on wet or dry tracks recording 26 wins from 4½ furlongs to 2 miles with regular jockey Darby Munro winning 16 races.
Rogilla amassed an amazing record across 26 wins in 70 starts. Trained in Newcastle by Les Haigh, Rogilla won the 1933 Cox Plate, 1932 Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Stakes, C.B Fisher Plate, Kings Cup, 1933 Sydney Cup, Rawson Stakes, Chipping Norton Stakes, Warwick Stakes, Spring Stakes (twice), Autumn Plate, Randwick Plate, Tatts Chelmsford Stakes (twice) and Tatts Tramway Handicap. He won in every season from three years old to eight and from distances of 900 metres to 3200m.
Rogilla began his racing career two months short of his fourth season. His racing colours were black, with red armbands and cap. He was lightly framed and 15.3 hands tall and despite various injuries and illnesses was best remembered for his tremendous courage against the best in the depression era. In 17 of the races he contested he won eight by a neck or less, lost four by a neck or less and figured in five dead heats for first. He always pulled hard in races, which cost him any chance in the three Melbourne Cups he contested.
His best season was at six years of age, when he won 11 from 17 starts and in 1934 he defeated the champion Peter Pan III in four successive meetings including the AJC Kings Cup.
Rogilla when racing in Melbourne was stabled at Caulfield with great trainer Cecil T Godby who trained the Caulfield Cup winners Purser 1924, Gaine Carrington 1933 and Northwind 1936.
Trainer Les Haigh was born in 1892 at Bega and a former jockey in the Muswellbrook area. He relocated his 64 Everton Street stables in Newcastle to Sydney and in 1934 purchased leading Randwick trainer Frank Marsden’s 10 box stables at 11 Bowral Street Kensington directly opposite the now Tulloch Lodge. The ‘Gaulusville’ stables are legendary and were built and named soon after 1897 by Melbourne Cup winning jockey Stephen Callinan who rode Gaulus to victory but it was also Phar Lap who began his racing career there in 1929.
Frank Marsden was mentor to the outstanding gallopers Furious 1921 VRC Derby & VRC Oaks, Richmond Main 1919 AJC & VRC Derby also Prince Viridis 1918 AJC & VRC St Leger, Cagou 1913 & 1917 AJC Metropolitan Handicap and the 1919 & 1922 AJC Sydney Cup winners Ian ‘Or & Prince Charles.
Rogilla’s racing record: 70 starts for 26 wins (including 5 dead heats), 12 seconds, 11 thirds and 21 unplaced runs.
In February 2017 ‘Rogilla’ was an inaugural induction into the Newcastle and Hunter Racing Hall of Fame along with Luskin Star.