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Robert Thompson is showing no signs of retiring after riding 3824 winners over 39 years, he is still going strong after having accepted four rides at Warwick Farm last Saturday.

He rarely rides in the city these days preferring the Hunter Valley tracks, and meetings on the central coast of New South Wales.

Thompson, like most jockeys, has had his share of falls, the worst at Warwick Farm when a broken leg forced him onto the side lines for two years.

He holds the record for the most number of winners, eclipsing the previous record of the late Jack Thompson (no relation), breaking his record at Port Macquarie four years ago.

Anthony Freedman is to move his training operation to Flemington, stables vacated by the Patinack operation, who are concentrating in future on stables at Warwick Farm.

Flemington is obviously the place to be, it offers excellent facilities with the capacity for 22 trainers and 550 horses.

When the Freedman family, of four brothers, originally came to Melbourne they set up stables at a few offcourse locations about Flemington, before the decision to train on course.

Caulfield was the next location before setting up the ultra modern training complex, with tracks at Rye, known as Markdel.

Stewards were active at Caulfield on Saturday, suspending Jake Duffy for 10 meetings until December 11, and Craig Newitt will be on the sidelines until December 14, which entails 14 meetings.

Any young person with designs of becoming a horse trainer would be advised to seriously consider Ballarat as a training base, it is fast becoming a popular area, it excellent facilities that cannot be equalled, the best all round training centre in Australia.

An all weather pro ride straight track of 1400 metres, with a rise of 9.98 per cent, is railed both sides and adjacent to the members drive being a major feature at Ballarat.

With around 200 horses in work at the course, at least 130 uses the straight track each day, Darren Weir is a great advocator for the track, all his horses work on it each day, and he should know, he is getting the results.

There is not much chance of any course in the country emulating Ballarat with such an excellent facility, as they are all cramped for room.

The straight gallops are the secret to its success, it places pressure evenly on forelegs, instead of turning tracks where the bulk of pressure is placed on the inside leg.

It is a great sight to see horses gallop in a straight line and being eased up as they reach the foothills of Mount Pisgagh, had that same track been available in the days of James Scobie, he may never have gone to train at Flemington.

There is no room for cheats, that message was sounded very clearly earlier this week by Racing Victoria’s recently appointed C E O Bernard Saundry, “we want anyone who does anything that compromises the integrity of the sport brought to account and penalised”

During the spring carnival the Compliance Assurance Team conducted 117 stable raids, with five of those resulting in stewards inquiries.

The two completed to this date have bought about successful prosecutions, Racing Victoria invests $10 million annually into integrity related services, including the funding of integrity staff costs and expenses , disciplinary board costs, external legal fees and drug testing.

Plastic running railing will be rolled out to a further eight racecourses and training centres this month, at a cost of $65,000 to $80,000, the budget for railing is $400,000 per year.


Treble for Rawiller

Brad Rawiller completed a winning treble, his first on a city track, when he rode Lord Of Brazil to win the Tony Beddison Cup, at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Few do it as tough as Rawiller, he puts in the hard yards and deserves the results, pushing himself to the extremes to ride at a competitive weight.

It is not uncommon to see him arrive at the races, stepping out of the car with the heater on all the way, rugged like an Eskimo, all for the sake of losing a few ounces.

He seldom takes passengers to the races with him, if they go once it is generally the last time, they rarely put their hand up a second time.

For all that hardship he put himself through, he is one of the fittest jockeys you are likely to see, his ride to win on Lord Of Brazil was testimony to his strength and fitness.

There was no time to celebrate a good day at the office; it was off to the races the next day for the last of the Cup series at Ballarat, another hard slog saw him take out the major prize on King Diamond, by a nose.

Tony Beddison Cup Lord of Brazil B Rawiller GAZ 2630 Custom

Lord Of Brazil -  third leg of a winning treble for Brad Rawiller


Secret Liaison delivers

Secret Liaison, who has been absent from the winner’s circle for longer than expected, put her best foot forward, on Saturday, to defeat Koe in the Printhouse Handicap.

Her form had been a bit ordinary of late and there may have been some excuses, a freshen up has been the answer, she has returned to the stable much brighter and eager to race.

There are no plans for her; she will take races as they come along, similar to her Moonee Valley win would be ideal.

Her win was better than it looked; she had a lot of ground to make up in the latter stages of the race and didn’t look a real threat until halfway down the straight.

Koe, whose racing has been confined to country tracks, where she was won four times, turned in a nice run; she was looking all over a winner until Secret Liaison appeared on the scene.

Champagne Ruby continues to show promise, she was running on nicely, a lightly raced mare, she was not far away, over the Flemington carnival, when finishing fourth to Kasane.

Greg Eurell is sure to place her to advantage, there are suitable races about, we may not have long to wait.

Printhouse Hcp Secret Liaison D Lane GAZ 8780 Custom 2

Secret Liaison riden by Damian Lane



Blue Diamond Entries

First declaration were taken earlier this week for the 2013 Patinack Blue Diamond Stakes, with 506 entries for the $1million two year old race to be decided on Saturday 23 February 2013.

David Hayes leads with the highest number of entries, 47,Mick Price is next with 40, followed by Aquanita Racing and Peter Moody, each have 25entries.

Among the sires Fastnet Rock has the most entries 47, followed by More Than Ready and Sebring with 28 each, while Northern Meteor 24.

The Victorian based sires with multiple entries are Bel Esprit 18, Statue Of Liberty 11 and Magnus 7.

Second declarations will close at noon on 8th of January, when payment of $440 will be required.

The series commences on Australia Day with the Previews followed by the Preludes on February 9, and the climax, the $1 million Patinack Blue Diamond Stakes Group 1, on Saturday February 23.



Americain to shuttle

Plans are near completion for Americain to shuttle as a sire between the United States and Australia.

He is likely to stand at Calumet Farm in Kentucky, the stud founded by Warren Wright back in the early thirties, and the birth place of Citation, the first horse to break the elusive million dollar barrier as a racehorse.

No decision has been reached where he will be located in Australia; two studs in Victoria have shown interest and another in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales.

At least Americain will be given an opportunity at Calumet, the former home of Bull Lea, sire of the Kentucky Derby winners, Iron Liege and Hill Gail.

Bull Lea was America’s premier sire five times and among the top 10 sires for 12 consecutive years, a record that was eclipsed  in later years by the great Bold Ruler.

Kyneton a picture   

Good weather, great track, excellent facilities, big crowd, they were the ingredients of a successful Kyneton Cup meeting.

 Taking into account the volume of racing at this time of the year, the attendance of 5500 figure was on par with last year.

Kyneton has always remained a popular racecourse for a variety of reasons, it has a certain English charm about it and the course is encircled by magnificent century old oaks and elms.

It is a picture postcard scene - one that has won the club the reputation as the most picturesque racecourse in Victoria.

Kyneton has come along since that first race meeting back in 1857, on the site known as Racecourse paddock.

Racing returns to the popular Kyneton venue on Friday November 23, with the Christmas Party Race Day, Thursday December 13.

Ward in Perth

Arthur Ward, among the prominent jockeys of the fifties, recently turned 92; he is living in Perth since returning from Hong Kong where he trained successfully for several years after retiring from riding.

He was riding in the era of George Moore, Neville Sellwood, Athol Mulley, Jack Thompson and Ray Selkrig, all top riders; Sydney was well off for good jockeys in that era.

Ward rode Rising Fast to win the Caulfield Cup in 1954; it was a pick up ride an hour before the race when his original mount, Engraver, was an oncourse scratching.

Bill Williamson, who was to have ridden Rising Fast in the Cup, was severely injured in a fall from Impeller in the One Thousand Guineas, hence Ward was the replacement rider.

Two years later he won the Caulfield Cup again on Redcraze, creating a weight carrying record of 9 stone 13 ( 63kg).

Edgar Britt nearing a century

Edgar Britt, who rode with much success in India and England, born in 1913, is determined to reach the century; he is a resident in a Sydney nursing home.

Britt was apprenticed to Mick Polson, trainer of Winooka fame, the team were taken to America for a series of eight match races on the west coast and Pimlico in Maryland.

With his success limited in Australia, and the depression beginning to bite, Britt ventured off  to India where the racing was lucrative, particularly if you were retained by one of the wealthy Indian Princes.

The rich Maharajas loved their racing, if a jockey was not rewarded with currency he certainly was with precious stones, such as diamonds and rubies, that always retained their value..

Britt later moved onto England where he was retained by Captain Ceil Boyd –Rochfort, the Queen’s trainer at Freemason’s Lodge Newmarket.

Boyd-Rochford was a highly skilled trainer, he met with much success on the English turf ,and quite a character, while trainers drove motor cars around Newmarket , the Captain preferred his push bike.



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