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Spanish Reef presented her trainer, Ken Keys, with a big welcome home win in the Rivette Series Final at Flemington, on returning from a break in the U K and Ireland.

The win was impressive as she was solid in the market, however, there were three other fillies preferred to her in betting.

She was always travelling well for Craig Newitt and was never further back than third or fourth with the run of the race.

After winning at Cranbourne and Sandown Ruby Sea was a pronounced favourite, but never appeared likely to win, she got to the girth of the winner and looked like winning for a few strides, but was soon found wanting, she could have had enough for the present.

Summer Glen ran on fairly after disappointing at Wangaratta, there is an easy race for her but it would want to be easy.

The race named after Rivette, winner of the 1939 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, just after World War 2 commenced, she was a non stud mare, bred owned and trained by Harry Bamber, and ridden by Ted Preston, Rivette her only foal to race of note was River Hero, he was more than a handy sprinter.

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Spanish Reef

Pacodali was always travelling well in the small field of seven runners, there was little margin in betting with the winner and Extra Zero, he is 10 year old, they cannot go on forever.

Weir can improve horses, “this horse is going well in all his lead up races, and the step up in trip was a big plus, it might have looked easy, however, I thought it was a great ride, the plan was to sit back a bit further than normal when pace slowed, as they did, I was pleased that he settled, and full credit to Jye McNeil, the horse was relaxing and I knew he had a good kick at the end of 2000 metres,”he said.

“The horse was in a great rhythm, he was going well on the turn and we knew he could find a bit on the home turn, which he did, we are now looking for a bit of rain to soften the ground and give him a look at 2400 metres race,” he added.

Schism was looking a winner a fair way out, Beau Mertens had her travelling well, she was one you wanted to be on, she was just as impressive as she was at her last start win at Flemington.

Ciaron Maher has trained her out of the paddock, maybe unorthodox but it is achieving results.

“She is a mare in great form, we tried to get a bit of Black Type with her over in Adelaide, we had no luck, however, she is going well now, we may try her in some of the mares races in the early spring.”


Royal Symphony gave his rivals a fair dinkum hiding in the Taj Rossi Series Final after missing the start; he won untroubled by four and a quarter lengths.

The colt has been the star of the winter and is right on track to be the star of the spring; he remains unbeaten after three starts.

He ticks all the boxes with loads of potential, sometimes winter form can be taken with a grain of salt, this time it is likely to be the exception.

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Royal Symphony winning in s breeze

Tony McEvoy is a nob as a trainer; he will iron out all those little quirks, the colt is sure to be a highlight come spring.

Not only is he is a very good colt, he is a knockout as a type, he is just developing, he will shine in the spring.

No doubt the Guineas would be the aim over the mile, that would ensure a stud career, then the autumn for the Australian Guineas and millions would be in the offering. .

He has more potential as a sire winning over 1600 of the Caulfield Guineas metres, than the Derby over 2400 metres.

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Tony McEvoy and Dwayne Dunn  


“He deserved that,” David Hayes comment after the win of Highland Beat in the A R Creswick Series Final at headquarters.

Hayes explained, “I had a query with the horse down the straight, however, it was not a problem, he has another option, the horse was racing pretty forward, he was in the firing line for most of the trip and when it was time to go, he went.”

Now that he is proven down the straight it is a big advantage as the major sprint races are at Flemington, and you are able to place the horse better as he is more versatile.

Hayes said “I would have been supremely confident around the bend, but this time I was in the unknown as to what to expect.”

Highland Beat is by Exceed And Excel, a horse with an amazing turn of foot, a highly successful sire in both hemispheres.

Tony McEvoy chalked up a double after Super Haze put paid to the opposition in the Banjo Patterson Series Final.

He has been racing pretty well of late in Adelaide; he deserved a change of luck, the gelding was one of three rides for Luke Currie.

The gelding raced more forwardly, he was in a winning position at the eight hundred, and within striking distance of the leader on the home turn.

He can easily win again now that he has struck a bit of form; he went to the line well, winning by a length and a quarter.

Super Haze is by High Chaparral, a very successful racehorse and sire, he won the English Derby.

Tassie strikes again in the form of Tshanitsi, who is becoming a regular visitor to the mainland, and in particular, Flemington.

He has now won twice at Flemington and once at Echuca, proving a real money spinner, his stake earnings are well over $300,000, and sea travel holds no fears for him.

He is prepared by Chris Cook and Imogen Miller at Campania; they have done a great job with the horse as there is no racecourse there to my knowledge.

The five year old gelding is by Clangalang, he won the A J C Derby at Randwick and returned in the spring to take out the Epsom Handicap, he never received a chance at stud, he was wasted as a sire in favour of imported horses.

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Imogen Miller joint trainer of Tshahitsi 

Ability showed a lot of that, when he put paid to the opposition in the All Victorian Sprint Final, giving Dwayne Dunn a riding double.

The gelding did have the form on the board and is no stranger to Flemington, no decisions will be made as to whether he goes for a spell or waits for another Flemington meeting.

There were a lot of pluses to back him, it was a bit like put in and take out, he was backed right in to start favourite at $2.90.

Ability is by Reward For Effort, a lightly raced sire with abounding ability, a sire that certainly pays dividends, over raced entires are rarely a success.

Craig Widdison, who formerly shared a training partnership with Peter Morgan, trained his first outright winner at Flemington when Willi Willi won the Silver Bowl Series Final.

Whilst the win was by the shortage of margins it was a solid performance as the favourite, Urban Ruler, had the run of the race, and looked all over a winner until Willi Willi appeared late on the scene.

The win was narrow but never the less a solid performance as he came from a long way back, near last at one stage, and had to go around very horse in the race to get a crack at the leaders in the straight.

Widdison instructed Beau Mertons ,“the gelding would get a fair way back but don’t give up on him, he will be coming home when the others are stopping.”

The instructions were well rehearsed, it was played to the letter, it was all smiles after the race.

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Craig Widdison and Beau Mertens after the win of Willi Willi

Record entries of 1470 yearlings have been received for the Melbourne Racing Club’s   Blue Diamond Stakes, to be decided in early February.

When entries closed for Victoria’s richest two year old race, entries were increased by a healthy 6.44 per cent on last year, when 1381 youngsters were nominated.    

The Blue Diamond Stakes is a great inclusion into the autumn carnival, it gets people talking and it is a wonderful attraction to Melbourne.

The Blue Diamond Stakes was first decided in 1971 with stake of $12,000, finally reaching an all time stake record of now $1.5 million.

Tolerance was the inaugural winner of the race, he was by Better Boy, best sire ever to stand in Victoria, he was trained by the master trainer, Angus Armanasco, and ridden by Roy Higgins, he rode four winners of the race, besides Tolerance, Blazing Saddles, Star Shower and Lord Dudley, they were all top two year olds of their year.

 The Australian Turf Club has attracted a record 2,197 entries for the running of the sixty second edition of the 2018 running of the Golden Slipper Stakes, to be decided on 24th March 2018

Leading stables throughout Australia with the highest number of nominations include Godolphin 152, David Hayes and Ben Hayes and Dabernig (111),Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott (90), Chris Waller (87), and Peter and Paul Snowden (74), Tony McEvoy (61), and Ciaron Maher(61)

Leading sires with the most number of entries include Snitzel (105), I Am Invincible (98), Sebring (80), Pierro (74), Exceed And Excel (69), Fastnet Rock (63), All Too Hard (59).

Sixty years have passed so quickly, the colt referred to as the flying machine, Todman, set tongues wagging.

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Credit to George Ryder, he was the creator of the Golden Slipper Stakes when chairman of the Sydney Turf Club at Rosehill.


Racing Topics

Lone Eagle got punters off on the right leg in winning the opening race at Caulfield, he is a good average two year old, at this stage whether he can graduate into the spring we will have to wait and see.

The colt had the services of Damien Oliver; he didn’t hurry the youngster allowing him to find his feet before pulling out on the home turn

The result was never in doubt, when heads were turned for home the favourite was always going to win, except it took him longer to put Evil Cry away than expected.

Kiwia is classes above those that he met in the Dream Thoroughbreds Handicap; he had the perfect form line, never out of a place after four runs, winning twice.

He was right on the pace for most of the way, he had the run of the race, it was just a matter of releasing the brake and the issue was soon put to bed.

The gelding was ridden the perfect race by Jordan Childs, unfortunately his rides are limited due to his weight, however, he makes the best of his opportunities.  

Kiwia is by Reset, he has proved a great sire, while his fertility can now be questioned, his ability never was, he remained unbeaten after five starts as a three year old.

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Jeremy Rogers discussing the win of Kiwia with the boss Darren Weir

Racing is mourning the sudden death of jockey Roger Booth, presumably after a heart attack at Darwin races on Saturday.

It is believed after dismounting from his mount, in the second race, he collapsed, the on course medical staff was able to revive him, he was then rushed to the Darwin hospital where he died some time later.

Booth was a popular jockey and a likeable person, he was a New Zealander, he migrated from Palmerston North to Mornington several years ago.

He was always an obliging person, nothing was a trouble to him, he helped a lot of trainers out with riding work.

Father and son team of Frankie Stockdale, and son Brandon, combined as they had at Moonee Valley two weeks ago, with a repeat performance winning the Sheamus Mills Bloodstock Handicap, with the filly Unique Lovely at Caulfield on Saturday.

She drew 14 at the gate yet she was never further back than three off the fence at any stage, once Brandon set her alight she sprinted very quickly, as did Princess of Queens, who was charging home at the rates of knots.

Frankie Stockdale is a great character in the nicest terms, he is training winners, and young Brandon is booting them home, what more do you need?

There are no false impressions about Frankie, he is fair dinkum, he took on fighting, had 9 amateur bouts, won them all, when it was time to turn professional he answered the challenge, but only once, that was enough.    

He turned his hand to jumps riding with a good deal of success; he rode several winners over the tall timber including Hennessy Blue, an excellent jumper.

We need more fellows like Frankie Stockdale in racing; he is a refreshing character, he makes up for the long faces.

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Frankie senior and Frankie junior

The decision to run the last Caulfield race at 4.40 pm on Saturday was welcomed by racegoers, it worked so well, the other race clubs should take heed and follow the same direction.

Patrons need to be considered before any thoughts of cross betting are mooted, this is Australia not Hong Kong, if there needs to be any change, let it come from the other side.

Good business is generated by keeping the customer happy, let it stay that way.

Snitzel is already leading sire with the aid of his four winners on Saturday, Rustic Melody and Calanda at Rosehill, Seattle Boom at Morphettville, and High Conviction at Belmont Park, the leading sire has demolished the fifteen million dollar barrier with progeny earnings of $15,113,177 for the 2016-17 season, and it isn’t over yet, his service fee for this season is $160,000, he will cover selected mares.

Snitzel Custom

Snitzel - Champion Sire 

 Population increasing, racecourse attendances decreasing, what is the answer?, or is there any answer?, or does anyone really care?

Race clubs are turning people away because of the overcharging of food and liquor; it has reached a stage where it is becoming ridiculous.

A well known brand of wine selling in the super markets at $10 by the dray load, is selling on the racecourses at $40 a bottle.  

The race clubs have encouraged the punters to patronise the pubs where the beer is cheaper as well as the food, and the betting is the same.

Racing clubs have lost a lot of patrons, those that were regulars once luring them back won’t be easy, what is lost is never recovered.


Tom Dabernig described Sullivan Bay as a pretty tough mare, tough as old boots in fact, that was shown at Caulfield on Saturday when she led for much of the way to win the Tile Importer Handicap on Saturday.

She certainly deserved the win as she has occupied fourth placing in her last four appearances.

The favourite, A Lotta Love, was pretty disappointing, she settled back among the tail enders and was never a chance at any stage.

Grey Street did all the chasing, and to her credit she didn’t give an inch, she is a handy mare.

Sullivan Bay is likely to run at Caulfield again on Saturday week, there is a suitable race for her.

Dean Krongold was the toast of Caulfield, and some time later, in the evening at Kyneton, on the occasion of training his very first winner in Nesbo.

A young man with a bright future as a trainer, he is not short of experience either, he first worked with Robert McGuiness (now retired) Cliff Brown, Luke Oliver, Macedon Lodge and a stint at Newmarket in the U K.

Formerly trained by Mick Kent the gelding has been off the racing scene for 12 months, and was never likely to race again.

It was some training feat, first up at Caulfield, that doesn’t happen all that often at a city race meeting; it was an exciting time for the young trainer.

He is set up in stables just 200 metres off the Kyneton Racecourse, in an idyllic setting in central Victoria.

Currently Dean has just four horses in work, that number will be increased coming into the spring, sometimes that is an advantage, horses can get individual attention, a pick of green grass each day adjacent to the Campaspe River.

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Dean Krongold - Trainer of Nesbo


Flemington 24—6—2017

Gippsland Region Hcp. 1400 metres Time 1.23.70

Royal Symphony kept his winning record intact with an impressive win in the opening agenda; he was the only one that punters wanted.

Whilst winter form can be misleading, this time it may be the exception, he won as if he had just joined into the race.

Tony McEvoy is not pulling up stumps yet with Royal Symphony, he will be back at headquarters in two weeks for a Listed race over 1600 metres that would most likely be his swansong for the present.

He is right on track for the Caulfield Guineas as he has loads of potential ,he made the race a one act affair, he doesn’t need to improve to win again, he is an exciting horse that will run the mile at least.

Royal Symphony is by Domesday, who now stands at Aquis Farm in Queensland, at a fee of $8,800 includes GST.

Barwon South Region Hcp. 1100 metres Time 1-03-47

Overstep provided Chris Waller with the first leg of a winning double, tipping out the favourite, Invincible Al, by the shortest of margins.

Joanne Taylor, representing the leading Sydney trainer, was impressed with the effort, it was a good solid run, the filly didn’t give up at any stage, she fought it out right to the line, winning by a short half head.

The stable has been loyal to Craig Newitt, he has ridden the filly ,she came from well back in the field, as did Invincible Al, who had previously won at Flemington two weeks ago.

The entire field came down the outside of the course, the rails were vacated, however, it did not influence the result of the race.

Had the race been a little further the judge would not have had any reason to call for a print.


Loddon Mallee Region Hcp 1400 metres Time 1-24-73

Schism, who was handily placed for most of the way, gave Beau Mertens an easy ride, as she strode away for a comfortable win, having raced in Adelaide recently without success.

Mertens is having a great duel, competing with Craig Williams for leading rider of the current season, each rode a double at Flemington, it is still a head and head contest.

Former jockey, Peter Mertons, can be proud of his son who is riding so well, he didn’t have those opportunities due to severe race falls.

In the absence of Ciaron Maher, his brother, Declan, saddled up the mare, while she is in form she could easily win again.

Shism is a good type of mare that has been racing consistently she is a pretty handy filly she has won six of her 14 starts and only missed the money four times.  

Grampians Region Hcp. 2000 metres Time 2-03-97

Encosta Line completed a double at Flemington for Chris Waller, plus a win with Religify at Doomben.

The betting was a bit high wide and handsome with no less than six runners all under $10, including the Damien Oliver mount, he started at $7, while the favourite was Sir Van Dyke at $6.

Oliver had Encosta Line handy when heads were turned in for the final run in; the winning margin was three quarters of a length.

Xebec was running on at long odds, and Portion Control is not far off a win in the right sort of company, he doesn’t need it too hard.

North East Region Hcp. 2520 metres Time 1-36 .5

David Hayes believes he will have Charlevoix ready for the Banjo Patterson Series Final over 2600 metres on Saturday week.

The aid of blinkers and jumping has turned the gelding right around, however, there is no chance of the gelding embarking on a jumping career in the immediate future, whilst he is a good jumper he will be targeted for early staying races in the spring, “he won’t be jumping for a long time,” said David Hayes.

“I am pretty confident about this horse, he is a front running staying horse, he has a lot ahead of him, in the spring we will keep him on the flat for the time being,” said Hayes.

2017 Country Achiever Gerald Egan 1100 metres Time 1-03.61

Ability started a warm favourite with punters and gave Craig Williams the second leg of a winning double, with the jockeys premiership going right down to the wire, with Beau Mertons who also rode a winning double.

The four year old gelding is by Reward For Effort, he raced in the colours of the late Phil Sly, a well known and popular figure, he left a hole in racing when he passed on.

The gelding won first up at Moonee Valley earlier this month, after a long layoff of nine months.

He started a pronounced favourite, even though he had the wobbles at the close of betting.

Husson Eagle finished stoutly, there was only a head in the result, he does love Flemington, he is not far off another win.  

David Bourke Provincial Plate 1600 metres Time 1-36.92

There was a lot of sentimental value attached to the win of Riyadh in the David Bourke Provincial Plate, the gelding has had 16 starts since joining the stables of Peter Healey, and never failed to return a cheque from each run.

Peter only has four horses in work, and that’s about all he wants, he has been based at Mornington for a long time with no thoughts of moving on, he is happy with the small team and while Riyadh continues to bring in cheques there won’t be much to worry about.

Riyadh was bred in New Zealand, he was purchased for $100,000 to race in Hong Kong, he is by Darci Brahma, once he began to lose form in the Orient he found a home with Peter at Mornington.

Brian Beattie Hcp. 1400 metres Time 1-23.25

Favourite punters quickly latched onto Cannyescent when he opened up favourite, he was by far the most consistent runner in the field, with an amazing strike rate of 50 per cent, he has now won seven of his 14 starts.

The form line was there, he was entitled to be favourite, a last start winner at Sandown, and before that he had won at Rosehill.

It completed a double for Beau Mertons, he rode the gelding a treat, travelling in the box seat for most of the trip before slipping away with 800 metres to run.

Tom Dabernig, with a grin from ear to ear, stood in for the Lindsay Park team said, “we were pleased with the run, he will go around again in two weeks here if he pulls up well,” he added.    

Bay and Ranges Region Hcp 1600 metres Time 1-38.64

Thaad may have slipped under the guard of punters, when he came from well back in the field to take out the thick end of the prize in the final race at Flemington.

He is obviously a very adaptable gelding, as he handled the reverse way of going as if he had been foaled there.

He came from well back in the field and was running on strongly, he was neglected in betting, starting at double figure odds.

When questioned about the win Wayne Hawkes was a bit surprised, the gelding will now be rested and set for a likely race in the spring, as he has had only six starts in his entire life.

The win completed a winning double for Dwayne Dunn, he is a very accomplished horseman and a credit to the racing industry.


Moonee Valley 17-- 6 – 17

Friends of Epworth Hcp 1200 mtrs. Time 1.12.02

Lightly raced filly, Pure Emotion, opened her winning account with an impressive win in the opening race on the card trained by Clinton McDonald, there was a lot of merit in her win as she had to do all the chasing from the outside and was off the track for the majority of the race, she was second up from a break and is sure to be improved by the outing.

She had previously chased the Blue Diamond Stakes winner, Tulip, home at Moonee Valley.

Punters may have been a bit sceptical when she drifted from $12 to $16, Josephine Sea started favourite at $3.80.

The run of the race was surely turned in by Magic Mila; she led the field a merry dance and was only down in the shadows of the post when beaten, you can be sure she won’t start again for a while at $151.

Bidfood Hcp. 1000 mtrs. Time 58.55

The race tuned into a family affair with the winner, Unique Lovely, trained by Frankie Stockdale, and ridden a superb race by his son, Brandon.

This young man is going places in his chosen profession, he rides very well, the winner came home nicely, she is likely to get further.

The favourite, Airona, didn’t do much, after being handy early she failed to run on, Miss Vesper was handy for most of the trip, while If Not Now When was running on, she may need it further.

Zouki Hcp. 1000 mtrs Time 58.54

Essence Of Terror was never far off the pace set by Petites Reward, when it came to the hard slog affair the Flemington trained filly was there for the fight, it was a deserving win as she has been a model of consistency, never far away in her last half dozen outings.

Miss Vista, who has had more publicity than she deserves, due to her unusual markings, again disappointed, she was beaten for pace and never a treat at any stage of the race, while Appalahian Annie will be looking for another Moonee Valley –meeting, she seldom runs a bad race at the Valley.

While the Hawkes trained Zara Bay is back from Sydney, she is ready to win a similar type race when next produced.

Kane Constructions Hcp. 1600 mtrs Time 1.37.36

Stylish Miss led her rivals a merry dance by leading all the way another couple of hops and the result could have easily gone the other way.

She was basically friendless, drifting from $26 to $31, bookmakers found it hard to lay her, she continued to drift.

Another hop the result could have been different as Mamzelle Tess was closing quickly; there was only a short half head in the winning margin

The race proved a skinner for bookies as the favourite Soho Ruby, after being handy in the early stages of the race finished absolute last.

GJK Facility Services Hcp. 1200 mtrs.Time 1.11.28

Tasmanian trained performer, Lord Da Vinci, showed his rivals a clean pair of heels and a galloping lesson, putting paid to the opposition as if he had just joined into the race.

The Lonhro gelding is likely to pay us another visit; however, it may have to be another venue as Moonee Valley is not racing for some weeks.

It was his tenth win from 33 starts, his stake earnings took quite a leap, his earnings were a little under $200,000, they are now over $250,000,he could even return and add more to the kitty, the gelding is trained by Scott Brunton at Seven Mile Beach, his father trained at Ballarat before moving to Tasmania.

Military Reign led early but he was giving ground as heads were turned for home, Lord Da Vinci was coming off the pace, he went strongly to the line and could easily win again.

The favourite, Whistle Baby, never got into the race at any stage, she was boxed in all the way, forget the run.

Epworth Medical Img. Hcp.1200 mtrs. Time 1.11.14

Revolving Door completed a winning double for Caulfield trainer Clinton McDonald, after winning earlier in the day with Pure Emotion.

The Sebring gelding travelled well in the run for Mark Zahra, and was always going to play a strong role in the finish.

However, the favourite, Highland Beat, was never travelling well, Craig Williams was niggling at the gelding a fair way out, he did not respond, he raced a bit flat.

Liberty Song led for much of the trip, and was far from disgraced, he is not far off winning a race, this time up it was a handy run.

Silverthomas Hanley Plate 2040 mtrs Time 2.05.44

Black Tomahawk gave bookmakers a skinner, he rolled home at any old price, not even the owners cheered, they were even surprised, it has been a long time between drinks, not too many horses trained by Darren Weir come in at those odds, he not only opened at $21 but drifted to $51.

The winning margin may have been slender, but winners are grinners and that’s what counts, he finished a fair way back at his previous start, but he certainly made amends on Saturday.

Favourite, Coldstone, compounded after leading and was running on empty when the post was reached.

Megablast could be an improver, he was running well, don’t discard him, it was his first start in Australia.

Wm Hill Travis Harrison Cup 1600 mtrs.Time 1.37.60

Petrology turned in the run of the day, coming from near last to win the Travis Harrison by a short half head.

Best backed runner in the race was Heart Starter, yet he hardly gave a yelp, he never had a chance in the race after the starter pulled the lever.

Data Point was seen to be running on, this was his third in from a spell, he can win another race provided it’s not too rich.

Onpicalo loomed up as if he was going to take a hand, but wilted once the pressure came into the race.

Embassy Print Solutions Hcp.1200 mtrs Time 1.11.61

Another brilliant ride from Brandon Stockdale, he drew the fence on Catch That Cat, and that is where he was trapped, it was just a matter of waiting for a run, when it finally came it was all over red rover, Stockdale darted Catch That Cat through the gap, Niminypiminy finished well, but the bird had flown.

In Fairness was a scratching for good reason, while working on the track at Bendigo he was startled by a rabbit, he dumped the rider before completing two rounds of the course.


A gentleman has passed away

Racing mourns the passing of Geoff Torney, A M, at the age of 82.

He was great administrator, a former chairman of the Moonee Valley Racing Club, a genuine man, and did a lot for country racing when he was a member of the County Racing Council.

Geoff was good for racing, his wife, Janet, backed him all the way; they made a great couple and were very popular at Moonee Valley.

He took a leaf out of Bill Stutt’s book, he always moved around the course on race day, speaking with people, looking at new ideas how racing could be improved, he was always approachable, a great asset to racing.


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