Scone Cup Reflections
Featured Image: The final racetrack appearance of Gunsynd on Scone Cup Day in May 1973
I was manning the gate that day; as young committeemen were expected to do in those days. In my view this was the high point in a long association with the Scone Race Club and Scone Cup. Just after ‘Gunsynd’ had paraded a young fan left the course. He said to me; “I can die happy now I’ve seen him in the flesh. I can drive home now.” “Where’s home” I enquired? “Far North Queensland” he replied. He had driven some 2000km to be at Scone and was going straight back! We had barely enough room to fit him in! This was the largest crowd ever assembled at White Park; in my time at least. We were almost squeezing excited patrons through the gates. The very recent ‘Randwick Farewell to Winx’ recalled these memories. There are some valid comparisons.
Acknowledge: Harley Walden ‘Sixty Years of Scone Cups’ and Brain Russell Bloodstock Review
As I write (13/04/19) the Scone Race Club Cup is just around the corner; yet again! It’s a totemic milestone every year in the town and district. We claim with ample justification that we host the biggest event of its kind in the State; if not the nation? It didn’t just happen overnight. Like most successful ‘carnivals’ it’s evolved over time to its pinnacle today.
Planning started many years ago; in 1944 to be precise. The White Park Foundation Committee included leading pastoralists, horse breeders and businessmen. Among them were President Doug Robertson (owner of historic Turanville), A W Riddle (manager of Kia Ora Stud), Lionel Israel (owner of Segenhoe Stud; late a President of Scone Race Club), Laurie Morgan (owner Redbank Stud; later went on to win an equestrian Gold Medal at the Olympics), Stan Keene (principal of Pitt Son & Keene, a stock firm which conducted Scone horse sales in conjunction with Inglis) and he well known Cliff Duncombe.
The first meeting at White Park was held on Wednesday May 7th 1947 and saw the Cup taken out by ‘Precise’, a gelding raced by Phil Jenkins, one of the 48 bookmakers who fielded on the day. Jenkins lost the race on the day because of bets he took on his own horse! A special train brought 16 of the day’s runners and a contingent of patrons up from Newcastle.
Other winners of Scone Cups when they were held at White Park included Piccadilly Lad, Brazil, Trysting, Sky Sailor, Johnno, Merry Jack (twice), Bandoo Bay, Bridgeman (twice) and Jatz. Winning trainers included Fred Allsop, Harry Oakes (twice), Jack Green (twice), Arthur Gore (three times), Max Lees (twice), Pat Farrell (twice), Lee Freedman (Flemington), Paul Perry and Harry Myer’s protégé Max Crockett.
The jockey’s honour board included Jack Thompson, Ray Selkrig, Skeeter Kelly, Geoff Challen, Mel Schumacher, Wayne Harris, Leon Fox (two), Bill Wade (two) and his son John (two).
Brian Russell writes: In 1995 the Scone Race Club threw open the gates to a new state-of-the-art racetrack at Satur, a bit further out of Scone that has few peers in Australian Racing and which has become a flag-post for the emergence of the region as one of the most prestigious in world thoroughbred breeding.