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Champion Jockey Dies

Former champion jockey, Geoff Lane, has passed away earlier this week in Brisbane at the age of 80.

He was apprenticed to Phar Lap’s trainer Tommy Woodcock, they had a remarkable relationship, more like father and son there was never a cross word uttered between them.

When he came out of his time, Geoff and Brian Courtney formed a great relationship, they combined to win numerous races with Dhaulagiri, including the Cox Plate; he was also the regular rider for Lord who was a top weight for age horse, trained by Ken Hilton.

Geoff was always smiling even if his mount didn’t win, the women still loved him, he was the pin up boy of racing but he only had eyes for Joanie, whom he married.

Together they opened a night club on St Kilda Road, that was a night I shall never forget, he played a great role as ‘Mine Host’

Geoff faded out of Australian racing after he had an offer from Hong Kong as a Steward for the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club, where he remained for several years.

Our paths crossed again in Hong Kong, he was popular where ever he went

I shall always remember Geoff Lane as a great mate, wonderful jockey; no one could wipe the smile off his face.

 

Power Scheme for the Derby

Whilst the Derby is still some weeks off, it won’t concern Power Scheme, he can wait, that was a very good pre trial for the classic and he can improve.

He is built like a stayer and races like a stayer; he carried the 60 kgs with ease and could have gone around again and still won.

Power Scheme is now a well matured three year old gelding, he is a promising young stayer with a bright future, to geld him was obviously the best decision.  

That was a good run at Moonee Valley; he quickened when called upon and went strong to the line.

He is right on track to give his sire Fiorente his first stakes winner, and he will race on as he is not likely to go to stud.

Fiorente is chipping away at this stage as his progeny need maturity, they are now four year olds, this is likely to be his best season.

He did run second to Green Moon in the Melbourne Cup, he came back the following year to win at weight for age at Moonee Valley over a mile, third in the Cox Plate and capped it off winning the Cup in 2013.

Fiorente returned to Flemington in the autumn to win the Australian Cup, that doesn’t happen very often

Fiorente 084 Jack CustomFiorente winning at Flemington

Well known Flemington trainer, Russell Cameron, passed away earlier this week after a long illness.

He was born at Balranald just over the border from Swan Hill, his father Ted was also a trainer and so was his grandfather, they would survive where others would starve. .

Bookmakers feared Ted when he entered the betting ring, he wasn’t there for the good of his health, he meant business and business was done.

Russell was just a kid at that time but it didn’t take him long to figure it out, he was a quick learner, a chip off the old block.

His uncle Ken was an outstanding jockey but unfortunately he never completed an apprenticeship, hence he was restricted from riding in the city area.

 

Boots and All

When Les Boots walked into the stables of Harry Butler, he just wanted to be a jockey just like Alec Fullarton, the great jumps jockey.

The previous day he had been to Oakbank when Kinjin, ridden by Alec Fullerton, won the Great Eastern Steeplechase, he was that hoarse he could hardly speak from all the cheering and shouting.

He eventually became apprenticed to Harry Butler at Glenelg, he rode of much of the work, he mucked out the boxes and all basic chores an apprentice expected to do all in a day’s work.

Harry called Les in and told him he could ride Umtalia in a few weeks in a jumping race at Cheltenham, the horse was a safe jumper and he would have no troubles.

The horse kept his side of the bargain but obviously Les didn’t, they parted company at the first jump, the horse galloped off while Les was left behind counting all his bruises.

After two more rides with the same result, his wife had a brain wave, she would pack a set of pyjamas in his racing bag, they were sure to come in handy.

At this stage his strike rate was hardly impressive, three rides, three falls, three trips to hospital, the pyjamas served a useful purpose.

One of the nurses at the Adelaide Hospital noticed the matron was paying some attention to the form guide in a newspaper, ” having a bet?” she asked, “no, just checking if we have to make up a bed for Mr Boots”.  

Les Boots rode in 39 races and had 40 falls, one horse he fell from he remounted and fell off again.

He had no trouble riding work, but once he put the colours on for a race he always fell, they seemed to be a jinx.

The racing administration didn’t show much interest in invoking his riding licence; they believed he did no harm to racing in any way.

You could say Les had a checked career, even the race starter when he sent the field away would call out, “see you later in the week Les”.

Les had two ambitions to ride a winner, and ride over the fences at Aintree in England.

Everyone said I’d probably have been the first jockey to have drowned at the water jump.

Les Boots died at 80, he was a jumps jockey for 18 years, 12 of those years was spent in hospital, he had broken every bone in his body except his nose.            

 

Magic Albert passes On

Magic Albert was laid to rest at Kooringal Stud, the Lamont family property at Wagga Wagga.

He was just a few days short of his 21st birthday; the Lamont family will surely miss him as he was a proven sire with an excellent record.

Originally he saw service at Yarraman Park for several seasons before moving down to Kooringal Stud, which is a well known stud, he was being prepared for the forthoming breeding season that commences in early September.

Magic Albert had just 13 race starts; he won 7 times to Group 2 and the Peter Pan Stakes at Rosehill.

He had limited racing which could be seen as a huge advantage as many stallions are worn out before they ever get to stud.

That was not the case with Magic Albert, he sired over 590 foals with progeny earnings of $48 million, 4 Group 1 races, he will be surely missed and there will be an empty box at Kooringal Stud.

Magic Albert 2015 resize MobileMagic Albert

Rebel Raider still going Strong

Dual Derby winner Rebel Raider is still going strong getting ready to face up to another season, he is in good shape and ready to go.

Rebel Raider is somewhat an underestimated sire really; he doesn’t receive the support that he really deserves.

His sire Reset was a very good three year old, raced by Lloyd Williams, Lloyd was careful with him and it certainly has paid off.

Rebel Raider has an impressive top line; there are no weak links in this pedigree, and a bonus plus, a double cross of Sir Trist ram.

Leon McDonald trained Rebel Raider throughout his racing career, including, both Derbies, furthermore, the season before last he also had 22 winners relating to Rebel Raider.

Rebel Raider entered stud duties in 2011, he has had 108 runners for 50 winners, and $4.1 million stakes earnings, there is a lot to like about him, he still has that bloom about him.

Rebel Raider Mobile

Rebel Raider

 

News

An excited Charlotte Littlefield trained her very first winner when Miss Mandito won the Lielani Series Final at Flemington, and 86 minutes later Melodeon, having her first start, won impressively at Echuca.

Sunday wasn’t a rest day either, races were at Pakenham and the winning run continued when Sebeat, by Seabring, made it three winners over two days for the Pakenham based stable.    

Melodeon is possibly one of the few runners sired by Glass Harmonium, he was impressive in winning the L K S Mckinnon Stakes, Derby Day, some years ago, and has since sired eight winners.

Ten horses are currently going through the training system, and another ten are not that far away, the training program is working well producing winners, that is all that counts.

Charlotte is a very capable young lady with an excellent personality, and a fresh face in racing will do her no harm.

Michael Walker gave the mare the run of the race, he was an outstanding jockey in his homeland, New Zealand, and he still retains that magic touch.

Charlotte MobileCharlotte Littlefield

Racing continues to boom in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong, where 10 and 11 races are programmed, and as you would expect field sizes are holding remarkably well.

Last week’s meeting saw 11 races programmed at Sha Tin, with Zac Purton riding 6 winners, more than half the program .

Whilst Danny O’Brien was taking a well earned break, they are always short in racing stables, Ben Gleeson filled in the role of saddling up Second Bullet, winner of the VRC –CRV Cup Tour Trophy over 2000 metres at Flemington last week.

Ben has been attached to the stable for just over a year, ultimately he will join the ranks of trainers when the time is ripe.

That time might be four or five years away, he is under a very good master, he is a good clean cut young man with a lot to learn, he has the advantage of being attached to a leading stable that producers winners.

Rex MobileBen Gleeson

George Hope is 94 and still plays a round of golf each week with Alan Simpson, who would be pretty close to 90 himself.

George was apprenticed to Fred Hoysted at Mentone, he was a great trainer, particularly of two year olds, Ungar, Usage, Hindu Prince and Fred found a box for Rising Fast when he first came from New Zealand.

Mentone should never have been have closed, it was a good track; it broke up a lot of good family trainers.

The Robbie Laing trained colt, Fabulanski, opened his winning account in the Taj Rossi Series Final at Flemington, he has broken his maiden status and a Derby start is now under discussion.

There is still a long way to go, its only July, a lot of water will flow under the bridge before the sunny days of spring appear, and the blue riband is decided.

Falulanski is by the 2013 Victoria Derby winner Polanski, no Derby winner to this stage has sired a V R C Derby winner, and in fact geldings were declared ineligible after the win of JohnnIe Jason in 1931, the ban was lifted in 1967 for the win of Savoy.

Robbie Laing MobileRobbie Laing with Linda Meech

However, we will keep that story for another day.

 

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