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Former lightweight jockey dies

Former lightweight jockey, Joe Gilmore, passed away early last week, aged 95 years.

Joe was a good rider and a great character, he was born in Newport, at 14 he commenced his apprenticeship with Bass King at Flemington.

He was a man riding at a boy’s weight 46.5ks (7 stone 5lbs), he never had to waste, he was getting plenty of rides. However there were no big slings about, money was pretty short.

After winning the Toorak Handicap twice on Saxony, and riding her into third place behind Rimfire and Dark Marne, in the Melbourne Cup.

He got talking to Harold Jones who was taking a break from a riding stint in India, telling Joe to give it some thought, it was worth a try.

Jones was a handy rider here yet was still battling to survive, in India he was on clover; Joe decided to give it a try.

It was an embarrassment to take the money and the various gifts jockeys received, such as new motor cars, these were common for riding the winner of a major race, jockeys were living on the fat of the land provided they retained their riding weight, they had never seen it so good.

Joe went to India with the express purpose to ride winners, firstly and secondly, and if he proved a success it could be very lucrative.

The Indian Princes enjoyed their racing, money was only a secondary consideration, they enjoyed competing against each other.

The principal courses were in Bombay and Delhi, the facilities at both were beyond description, competition between the Indian Princes was huge, with the major racecourses in Bombay and Delhi very popular.

During racings off season in England, between November and March, a number of English jockeys including, Charlie Smirke, Doug Smith, our own Edgar Britt, and Jim Munro, rode extensively in India.

Joe didn’t ride much after he came back from India; he had a very nice home on Langs Road Ascot Vale, and built a number of flats within walking distance of his home.

He enjoyed the fights, he became a regular at Festival Hall on Friday nights, sitting ringside at a time when boxing was very popular in Melbourne town.

When he retired he never stepped on a racecourse again, even though Flemington was only 200 metres at best down the road.

He lived quietly with his wife Doreen; he received a lot of pleasure from his immaculate garden, where a weed was never to be found.

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Scobie playing photographer alongside of Len Lott, Jack Purtell, Bill Williamson and Joe Gilmour, peeking around the corner, Garnie Bougoure. 


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