White Park Ruminations

White Park Ruminations

Featured Image:

‘Leith Walk’, Arthur Lister (Jockey) and Stan Bowd (Clerk-of-the Course) return to scale after winning at White Park in 1976. I think this was Leith Walk’s Maiden Win when trained by Pat Farrell?

Joseph Conrad expressed it very well. I will not attempt to compete:

“I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more /the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort /to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires /and expires, too soon, too soon /before life itself”

My version of similar events is somewhat more prosaic. Most currently ‘perfect’ spring evenings Sarah and I walk around newly revamped White Park. It’s a delight and much enjoyed by both of us and even more so by our 11-year-old JR Joe who thinks he’s a Doberman; until things (bigger dogs) become threatening? White Park has changed dramatically in my 55 years. I’ve been responsible for some of it; and closely entwined with much of it.

The tableau depicted in the featured image will never reappear. ‘Leith Walk’, by Lower Road out of Dusky Lady, was the first thoroughbred I ever owned. I bought her as a weanling at Alec Terry’s dispersal sale of Tarwyn Park Stud, Bylong. I’d spotted her earlier at the stud and decided I wanted to buy her. I did; although it stretched my resources almost beyond tipping point. She did not let me down, won two races and was placed in others. A slight knee injury encouraged me to foreshorten her racing career. I believe Lower Road had inherited this predisposition from his sire Crepello?

Arthur Lister and Stan Bowd were both ‘colourful racing identities’ by any measure. Arthur was a household name in the 1960s and 1970s as the rider of Winfreux and Brisbane’s leading jockey. However controversy followed him wherever he went. Racing stewards were on his trail. Stan kept his proclivities to the local region but there was always lots of discussion and debate!

I wasn’t actually there that day. I was dragging timber from the high country above ‘Tinagroo’ with my brother-in-law Ranald Mackay to build our stock yards at our new home @ Moobi.