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The History of Sydney Jumps racing


1920s Hurdle at Randwick - Collection State Library of NSW

This is the story of Sydney jumps racing the beginnings, the champions, the cessation and the resurgence before state parliament put an end to the sport forever.

In recent times there has been confusion on the background and indeed a lot of the history around Sydney jumps racing, when the industry ended and when indeed the last race was held and how that is or isn’t connected with the legislation to ban the sport in New South Wales in the late 1990s.

The first steeplechase in Sydney was held on August 25th 1832 and here had been some excitement leadings up to the event.  A course was mapped out over five miles from a bridge on Botany Bay Road to ‘Cudjee Bay’ then along ‘Goulburn’s road’ to a look out post above Waverley House.  Terms of entry were all horses to have gentleman riders and the last horse was to forfeit 5 pounds to the winner and the winner could be sold for 40 guineas if the other competitors demanded.

A field of 7 lined up with Capt Hunter riding his own Tom as did Mr Deas Thomson on Tam o’Shanter and Mr Bourke on his grey stallion.  Capt Williams chestnut Thiefcatcher was ridden by Capt Deedes, Mr Miller rode his own grey mare Moll, Mr Finch his grey Bogtrotter and MAJ Bouverie his own grey horse Ugly.  Starting at 4pm Capt Hunter’s Tom led at a strong pace from Tam O’Shanter  as the lead pair took turns in front before the first 5 became a pack as the field got to Cudgee Bay.  Over the next hill Tam O’Shanter took the lead and Thiefcatcher set out after him as the only challenger.  In the final 500 yards Thiefcatcher challenged and took over the lead as Tam O’Shanter fought back but the former passed the finish a neck in front.  Third was Mr Miller & Moll then Captain Hunter & Tom.  Mr Bourke and his grey stallion where next followed by Mr Finch and Bogtrotter despite parting company just before the aforementioned hill with MAJ Bouverie and Ugly being distanced.  It took 18 ½ minutes for the race to be run and spectators remarked on how tough the countryside was and how remarkable the riding was in the race.

By the 1850s steeplechase races were popular at the Barwon Park racecourse where they were often the only races on the card.  However by 1920 Randwick was the only city course that held steeplechase races which drew some criticism in the press at the time. 


Jack Rice

Meanwhile the Hurdle races were gaining momentum with one of the early champions in Sydney in Jack Rice starting his career in July 1914 where as an outsider he put in a dashing display in front until he fell at the final hurdle.  After being entered and scratched numerous times Jack Rice finally had his second start over the jumps on September 19 1914 and he took the lead over the last to win as one of the two favourites in the race.  A third and a fourth in Hurdles at Randwick followed before Jack Rice as spelled until the following year.  Resuming from a spell in Feb 1915 Jack Rice took the lead at the 800m in a hurdle at Rosehill but was run down in the closing stages to run third.  Second up he won as the short priced prices again at Rosehill over the Hurdles repeating the effort a week later at the same venue by leading throughout to win easily.  Jack Rice was then second at Randwick before returning to the venue for another Hurdle a week later.  Jack Rice was at the tail of the field early but when the leader fell with 1000m left he moved up to take the lead and never gave anything else a chance winning by 8 lengths.  Jack Rice was proving himself one of the best Hurdlers in Sydney and consideration began on sending him to Victoria for the Grand National Hurdle in July.  A flat run and Jack Rice resumed jumping races after a 7 week break with a fast finishing second at Randwick on the Saturday of the June long weekend before lining up again two days later.  Eased back to last he made his challenge coming to the last where the Tasmanian visitor Flavel took the lead and in the run to the line proved too strong just holding on to win from Jack Rice. He was beaten but with the winner Flavel who had stood 3 seasons at stud and previously won a Hobart Cup in 1912 also heading to Melbourne Jack Rice headed south for the big jumps races.

Jack Rice arrived at Flemington in late June and there were plenty of interest leading into the race around this horse from Sydney.  In the Grand National Hurdle Jack Rice was midfield throughout before passing the post in 6th place.  Five days later he was unplaced in the Doutta Galla Hurdle also at Flemington before a weeks break to being 6th in the Leamington Hurdle at Caulfield then 3rd in a hurdle at Moonee Valley four days later.  A break of nearly 3 weeks and two more starts in Victoria for the campaign with a 4th in the Australian Hurdle at Caulfield after leading in the last lap and being run down then he took the lead a week later in the Akeringa Hurdle a week later at the mile and went for home.  Leading well into the straight he was only run down in the final stages passing the post just behind the placegetters.  A month later Jack Rice returned to Sydney for three more runs and after being unplaced on the flat he was third in a Hurdle at Randwick on the October long weekend before winning a Hurdle at the same track 4 days later.  In that race he moved up behind the leader at the 5 furlong mark (1000m) and then took the lead in the straight by outjumping the frontrunner at the leger going away to win by 3 lengths.

Unplaced on the flat first up in 1916 Jack Rice returned to the jumps with 2 fourths in Hurdles at Randwick in April before returning to Randwick in May to easily win a Hurdle by 4 lengths carrying topweight of 12 stone.  Two weeks later he lined up again at Randwick with 12 st 10 and in a field of 11 half the field was still in contention over the last fence where AJI proved too good for Jack Rice with Cumber third.  Two days later he lined up again this time with 12 st 13 and in a small field he was second last for much of the trip. By the 7 Furlong mark (1400m) Go Alone was a long way in front from AJI then Jack Rice after another runner fell and on entering the straight Jack Rice stormed to the front and went away to win by 12 lengths eased up from AJI with Merrimax third.  Described as the finest hurdler in the country Jack Rice was part of the Sydney contingent to head to Melbourne for the big winter races. After travelling to Melbourne and arriving at Flemington it was reported he had arrived in good condition after travelling there by sea.  However again he didn’t show his Sydney form being unplaced first up and then he fell in the Grand National Hurdle at Flemington.  A second in the Doutta Galla Hurdle at Flemington followed with Lord Dudley winning by a length.  At his next start though he raced to the lead with 4 furlongs to go but soon after ran off ending his chances in the race at Caulfield.  Jack Rice tried to run off at the second last a week later at Moonee Valley again finishing unplaced.  Another unplaced run and then a run off at the second last fence in the Austtralian Hurdle at Caulfield saw Jack Rice sent back to Sydney for the October carnival again.  As in the previous year he was unplaced on the flat and then returned to form outjumping another contender at the last jump in the first hurdle race at Randwick to race away to win by 8 lengths carrying 12.5 while 6 days later he ran on from the home turn to again defeat Kooya easily.

Jack Rice returned in April 1917 to go to the lead by the 7 furlongs (1400m) in the Hurdle at Randwick and despite carrying 13.9 won by a neck from Lord Cecil.  Four days later carrying 14.2 Jack Rice was second to Quirindi with Lord Cecil third again over the hurdles at Randwick.  There was some consideration given to going to Melbourne again but after being allotted over 13 stone he was scratched from those races.  Instead he was to line up in June at Randwick but developed a cold and was scratched.  Jack Rice later got so sick that it was feared he wouldn’t survive but eventually overcame the horse flu and returned to training.  Racing again on the flat he was last at Rosehill in late July but his trainer wasn’t happy so another let up followed.  Another flat run in mid September before Jack Rice returned to run in the two hurdles at Randwick where he ran fourth on both occasions.

A brief spell followed where he resumed on 26th January 1918 with a barnstorming second in a Hurdle at Randwick.  Then umplaced twice on the flat before a 5th in a Hurdle at Randwick before lining up 3 days later again in the Hurdle at Randwick.  Again he stormed home to win in the final stages of the race despite another huge weight and was now gaining the accolade as the most popular hurdler to have ever raced at Randwick.  10 days later he lined up at Randwick again but despite running valiantly he was hampered by a fallen horse so couldn’t recover to trouble the first 3 under 13.11.  A flat run followed and then back to Randwick for another Hurdle at the start of the June long weekend.  Again he settled amongst the field before powering home in the straight to win by 1 ½ lengths carrying a massive 13.7.  Two days later under 14 st he was fifth in the second days Hurdle.  Despite not handling the Melbourne direction Jack Rice was sent on the steamer to Melbourne again for the big races.  Four unplaced runs followed and then he lined up over the bigger fences in the Australian Steeplechase at Caulfield.  In a race run in world record time Jack Rice was midfield and then ran on but failed to catch the winner Cuffs however was ahead of third placed Westendale then Lord Cecil.  Back in Sydney for the two Hurdle races in October in the first one Jack Rice carried 13.8 and led out over the first jump but tired towards the end and was pulled up before the winning post.   In the second race he was last in a small field before heading for a spell.

Returning as a 9yo in 1919 Jack Rice was unplaced on the flat first up in May but then disappointed in two Hurdles at Randwick where he was unplaced.  He was switched to steeplechases and at Randwick was behind the leaders in the run before racing to the front in the straight to win by 4 lengths.  With his good form over the bigger fences he was sent to Melbourne yet again for the winter carnival.   At his first two runs he was a bad last and then third last a week later before heading to the Grand National Steeplechase at Flemington in mid July.  In the feature Jack Rice was the last of the 4 horses to finish the course and never troubled the placegetters.  Despite being out of form it was decided Jack Rice would remain in Melbourne for the Australian Steeplechase.  At his next lead up run he was last again and pulled up with a sore shoulder so there was some doubt until he resumed work only a few days prior to the Australian Hurdle at Caulfield. In the small field he was second last but returned to the bigger fences in the Australiam Steeplechase a week later.  Considered a safe jumper as he’d only fallen twice in his long career Jack Rice was given 12.7 for the race to the amazement of the news reports at the time considering that the horse was well out of form.  A big field of 16 lined up and on settling Jack Rice was well back in the field.  Several horses fell in the first lap and sadly Jack Rice fell in front of the stands on the second lap at the logs and broke his neck.  It made the news in numerous publications as he was a household name in Sydney due to his massive efforts with big weights in the jumps in Sydney winning 13 races and often placed with the big weights. Even his regular jockey E Moon was devastated at the news (he was riding another runner in the race and ‘collapsed’ when in a winning position in the home straight) and acquired a few hairs from his tail to remember the horse by.  Colour supplements were included as a memento for race fans in a publication while his owner Mr W Stafford organised for the horse to be buried a few miles from Caulfield in the presence of both owner and trainer (which was unusual at the time – it was customary to be boiled down or go to the zoo).

Les Paddington

As the Sydney jumps scene lost Jack Rice another future champion was starting his career around the country tracks of NSW.  Les Paddington was bred by Mr Hunter White who gave him away as an unbroken 2yo to Mr J Hewitt.  As a 3yo he was considered a clumsy slow horse and was soon given away again to W Thompson who then spelled him to mature and he started his race career with an unplaced effort at Parkes in August 1919 as a 4yo.  Two months later taken to Orange he won his Maiden but was then unplaced the followed four runs.  Now trained by WH (Harry) Johnstone Les Paddington was 3rd at Orange on 19 Dec 1919 before returning to the track the next day to win the General Birdwood Hcp and then two races later stormed home to win the General Howse Hcp with both races over 6 furlongs.  He was then third on the first day of the Hereford Park meetings before again winning twice on the second day taking our the Encourage Hcp 6 furlongs and then a Welter 7 furlongs at the Kelso course.  Les Paddington was then back to Orange for their 2 day New Years meeting where hr was placed in the New Years Gift and then won the 9 furlong Hcp the next day. Unplaced on the first day at Bathurst was then second the following day and then  returned to the Hereford Park meeting to win a Handicap at the end of January 1920.  Winless for this next three runs Les Paddington returned to the winners list equalling the mile record winning a handicap at Orange in March.  Two runs at Parkes yielded a third before Les Paddington won The Club Weltes Hcp over 1 mile and 1 furlong and was being described as the most ‘improved horse in the west’.  Unfortunately after that he started to struggle with only 3 placings from 10 starts for the rest of the season.  Les Paddington finally returned to the winning list at Canowindra in late September before a string of placings and then returning to Orange to win the Hospital Hcp over a mile and then the Matrons Hcp two days later.  At Orange 3 weeks later he was second over a mile before winning over 9 furlongs in the Spring Hcp.  Five days later it was off to Bathurst where he was unplaced in a Welter and then second in a Handicap two days later.  Les Paddington was then sent for a lengthy spell and not expected back in training until February 1921 taking with him the title of the best handicapper of the western districts.  It didn’t happen and he remained in the paddock for an extended time. 

Les Paddington was ultimately away from the racetrack until November 1922 where he was unplaced at Rosehill before runs at Canterbury and Warwick Farm and was now under the ownership of WJ Thompson.  In December after one more unplaced effort and another change of ownership he was trained to make his debut over the Hurdles and showed promise in training.  Now listed as owned by RC Treweeke & trained by P Power making his debut on 30 December 1920 at Randwick he travelled well and ran second in a Hurdle over 2 miles behind All Aboard.  Run down in a Jumpers Flat he was then third in a Hurdle at Randwick before returning to the same track to win his first race over the hurdles after taking control over the last jump and went to win by four lengths.  3 more starts for one placing on the flat before Les Paddington returned to the hurdle races in a fast run race he stormed home to win at Rosehill recording a record time for the 2 mile distance of 3.41.  The next start Les Paddington fell at the last at Randwick and them sprained a fetlock  running 4th 5 days after the fall and then fell again 10 days later at Randwick.  He was then unplaced at Warwick Farm before running third at  Randwick in early May.  He returned to the winning lists at Randwick next start where he came away after the last fence to win in course record time for the two miles of 3.40 ¼ .

 Next start Les Paddington took out the prestige AJC Hurdle at the June meeting.  Jumping the last behind the leader he ran on to defeat Delusion recording a record time for the 2 miles and 3 furlongs of 4.22 ½ in front of a crowd of 40,000.  In the Second Hurdle race two days later Les Paddington was second behind Clan Robert and was then given a let up until late July when connections decided to try him in the Melbourne races with a first up run finishing third in the Jumpers Flat.  Regarded as the best Hurdler in Sydney he lined up in the Australian Hurdle at Caulfield in early August 1923.  Fifth early he was soon up to second and was too good for the leader in the closing stages winning by half a length from Mazak and became the first Sydney horse to win the event.  The win was so impressive Les Paddington was one of the main chances for the Australian Steeplechase a week later.  He settled midfield but took the lead on the last lap sailing over the last fence unchallenged to win by 14 lengths and became only the second horse to win the two Melbourne features.  After the race Les Paddington was given a slight let up and set for a high value steeplechase at Moonee Valley in September.  He was however unplaced in a flat run and then in the steeplechase  and soon returned to Sydney.  Back in Sydney over the October long weekend at Randwick Les Paddington was second under the big weight of 12.7 to Clan Robert before a third in a Hurdle at Randwick.  It was then back to Victoria for the November Hurdle at Flemington.    Caught out his ground Les Paddington ended up in third place a long way from the winner.  He was then spelled for summer.

Les Paddington who was again listed as owned by WJ Thompson had a couple of unplaced runs on the flat in March 1924 before he was 4th in a Hurdle at Randwick at the start of the carnival before a second on another Hurdle at Randwick two days later where he was well back over the last but stormed home. Unplaced at his next two starts (the former where he was caught up in the barrier tape and lost half  furlong) Les Paddington returned to the winning list in the AJC Hurdle at Randwick in June.   Well back early he moved forward in the straight and raced away in the closing stages to win by three lengths.  He was strongly fancied to make it a double in the AJC Steeplechase two days later but lost his rider at the first fence and was unharmed aside from taking some skin off his knees.  It was later found he had a slight strain to a tendon as well so had a let up until August.  Unplaced on the flat he returned to the Hurdle races at Rosehill in late August where he had a tough run under 12.12 to finished third.  Two weeks later Les Paddington was second at Randwick before being unplaced a week later.  At his next start his first for the October carnival at Randwick he got a long way out of his ground before running on for fourth.  In the second Hurdle for the carnival Les Paddington stormed home in the closing stages to catch Troubadour and win by a neck.  His last run for the year was in the Randwick Plate where he was last of the three runners that completed the course after leading on the first lap.  He was sent to Melbourne for the Spring Carnival but was withdrawn fro his engagements and returned to Sydney.

Les Paddington finally returned to the racetrack in February in a welter at Canterbury where he ran on late before being outpaced in the Granville stakes prior to heading to Melbourne again.  First up in the Pines Hurdle he was well back throughout and then in the Autumn Hurdle another runner fell on the flat and Les Paddington was brought down over the top of him.  With two luckless runs at Flemington he was soon returned to Sydney for the winter season of jumps races.  First up at Randwick in April he was amongst the tailenders during a race hampered with fallers and went past the post in last well over a furlong behind the winner.  Four days later he was 4th and beaten a long way again.  Continuing his preparation towards a third AJC Hurdle he was third in a Hurdle at Canterbury  before a second in a Hurdle at Randwick in late May.  Sent out favourite for the AJC Hurdle Les Paddington was always well back before passing the post a well beaten 5th.  Reported as distressed after the race Les Paddington was then sent for a spell.

Les Paddington was back in training in Orange in January 1926 and after 4 unplaced flat runs at Orange and Forbes was sent back to Sydney to prepare for the jumps season in late March.  First up he was well back but four days later Les Paddington was in the first part of the field throughout taking second place across the line well behind Jupiter.  Ten days later he was second again after being well back but couldn’t run down the leader in the final stages.  Les Paddington was then fourth at Canterbury in a Hurdle before heading to a flat Handicap at Moorefield 3 weeks later.  He was being aimed at his fourth attempt at the AJC Hurdle and was a strong fancy to record his third win.  Then when galloping at Randwick a few days before Les Paddington broke down in his final prep gallop.  Galloping on the flat around the mile mark he went wrong and was quickly pulled up.  Only able to hobble with a near front fetlock injury he was quickly moved by horse ambulance to the nearby vet hospital.   On examination it was declared that the injury was so bad that he could never race again.  He was returned to Orange and by September was reported to be looking good and no longer lame.



As one star was retired a new one was just starting out on the tracks of Warren and Gilgandra and surrounds Burraform was starting his career in 1925 into 1926.  J Walden’s Burraform won a handicap at Tenandra races in NSW in January 1926.  He also won at Nyngan in November 1926 and then returned to Nyngan in May 1927 to win a handicap and then Picnic Cup a day later.  After being placed a few weeks later he was entered in a Welter at Menangle where he was unplaced and was aimed at a Hurdle at Canterbury in late July 1927.  Now listed as owned by J Lamph and trained by JC Field he was unplaced then lined up in a Jumpers flat before being disqualified in a Hurdle at Moorefield in August- he had actually won the race but there was a discrepancy over the horses name as he appeared in entries as being a year younger and from Satinara instead of a Gundaburra mare.  Once everything had been sorted and his registration confirmed Burraform then lined up again in a Hurdle at Randwick in September where he and Bronzino’s Dream turned for home together but over the last the latter fell as Burraform jumped it well and came away to win easily.  In the win Burraform sustained a cut to his near foreleg and was later scratched from all engagements and spelled until March 1928.  After two flat runs Burraform returned to the jumps with a Hurdle at Randwick where he was in front by 3 lengths past the 3 furlongs and then still two ahead into the straight.  He gave nothing else a chance as he raced to win by three lengths taking his record to 3 hurdle runs for three wins.  Four days later and up in weight Burraform couldn’t catch Really and was defeated by two lengths.  A short let up followed due to ‘an attack of worms’ before the AJC winter meeting and the AJC Hurdle.  In the AJC Hurdle  Anorient went straight to the front and defied the rest to run him down with Burraform making ground to take second three lengths behind the winner.  In the Second Hurdle Race the leader in Triplex went straight to the front and also defied all attempts to run him down while Burraform was a long way back early but into the straight was making up ground fast but in the end Triplex won by 1 ½ lengths from Stony with a similar margin to Burraform third.  Another let up followed before Burraform lined up in the Hurdle at Randwick on Epsom day in late September and he turned for home in third spot behind the leader Castles then Honest Jack and they maintained their positions to the line with former rival Triplex back in sixth. 

Burraform was then sent for a long spell returning to the training tracks in April 1929 preparing for a return to the jumps in May.  His first start over the bigger fences in the May Steeplechase proved nearly successful as Quick Deal led but Burraform joined him around the turn.  In the run to the line Quick Deal did the better and defeated Burraform by 1 ½ lengths and then withstood a protest from the runner up.  Burraform then went to the AJC Steeplechase in early June where before the turn for home Burraform was well in front with Prince Arim chasing and another big gap to the rest.  In the straight Burraform was still well clear but made a mess of the last jump and soon Prince Arim hit the front to race away to win from Seafit who made ground late to catch Burraform who was third.  Another break followed and Burraform returned on the flat in September to prepare for his return to the jumps in the First Steeplechase at Randwick at the October carnival.  Coming to the turn Myan was ahead of Honest Light by a big margin with Burraform chasing the pair hard.  Into the home straight Burraform was just behind Myan and still making ground.  In the closing stages Burraform caught and came away to win by two lengths with Honest Light a further four lengths away third.   Five days later Burraform started in the Dowling Steeple at Randwick but was well back throughout and was pulled up around the back of the course reportedly due to exhaustion. 

Burraform then spelled until June 1930 but in the meantime his trainer JC Field died in early January after collapsing at his training stables at Canterbury.  In April it was announced that J Trenoweth would take over training Burraform at Randwick.  Then later he was sold to T Collitt and eventually joined the stable of J Collitt.  He returned in the First Steeple at the June meeting where he was third behind frontrunner Honest Light and then lined up in the AJC Steeplechase a few days later.  But it was a poor effort as Home Made joined the feature winners list in the AJC Steeplechase Burraform struggled home a long way behind only beating one other runner home.  Another let up followed before Burraform lined up at Warwick Farm in the August Steeple at the end of that month.  Ostentation went to the lead and at one stage was 40 lengths ahead of Prince Arim then Scudalong.  Into the home straight Ostentation was 10 lengths clear and kept going to the line ahead of Prince Arim and then Burraform but when Prince Arim weighed in light he was disqualified and Burraform promoted to second.  It was then to the October carnival where Burraform was second to Tressady Rock in the First Steeplechase and then 5 days later back to the Dowling Steeplechase.  In that race he fell at the mile point on the first lap and although fine was given a spell until two unplaced runs in January 1931.   Another break followed to the First Steeplechase at Randwick in April now trained by J Collitt.  Well back for most of the race the tearaway leader Reviser was well clear turning for home but ran very wide around the turn leaving Burraform to run on to win by ¾ length.  Two days later he ran in the Second Steeple at Randwick and it was a race of incidents.  On the first lap Reviser was leading and lost his rider over a fence which nearly brought down Ego and Burraform.  At the next fence Lighten lost his rider and Ego later fell.  On the next lap Burraform fell leaving only 3 horses on their feet but then at the last fence Kinross was in front from St General who fell with Namera next.  As Kinross passed the post ahead of Namera an ex jumps rider in M Davies caught and mounted St General to pass the post third.  When he weighed in correctly he was confirmed as third place.  Immediate reports after the race noted that J Troy rider of Burraform had been taken to hospital with suspected serious internal injuries as the horse had somersaulted over the jockey.  The next day it was announced that J Troy who only recently returned to riding had died of his injuries.  This started discussion of were steeplechases too dangerous and should focus be more on the Hurdle races in Sydney?  It was suggested the crowd is allowed too close to the fences on the Randwick track but otherwise as long as the horses were well schooled it wasn’t a problem.  But doubts still remained.  Burraform returned to racing at the end of May finishing fourth of the four runners that completed the May Steeplechase at Warwick Farm.  He then was set for the June carnival again running in the First Steeplechase where in the second lap Indicate led from Reviser who fell leaving the leader 20 lengths ahead of the rest.  In the straight Indicate kept going to hold off the challenge from Burraform to win by 3 lengths with 5 lengths back to St General in third.  In the AJC Steeple Burraform was third in the run behind Kinross and then Indicate who took up the lead with 2 of the 3 miles to run.  Indicate was well in front by the 3 furlongs where Burraform moved up to second to give chase and in the home straight he hit the front the draw away to win by 2 lengths from Indicate with Kinross third. 

A short let up followed then Burraform had several unplaced runs leading up to the Dowling Steeplechase at Randwick in October to end the season.  After failing to complete the course in the previous two years would be finally turn it all around as a 10yo?  The race was full of incidents with Ragatsky losing his rider at the first fence and then soon after Chatswood ran off refusing to jump taking Scottish March with him leaving only two in the race until the rider of Scottish March turned around and re presented to the missed jump all be it a long way back and ultimately finished third.  With only Congola and Burraform left they raced with each other for the remainder and crossed the line together but on the outside of the track.  Congola was named the winner but Burraforms connections immediately protested and it was upheld with Burraform being awarded the race.  Unknown at the time but this race would be the spectacular end to steeplechase racing in Sydney.  Burraform was due to go to Melbourne but instead was spelled and ultimately had two flat starts before two unplaced efforts over the Hurdles at Randwick in March and April 1932.  At the time there was talk of winter steeplechases but after the small fields of the previous year it was decided that the steeplechase races would end and only Hurdle would be held in future.  Burraform was soon retired and used as a hack at Canterbury Park.


While steeplechase races were nearing their end and with them the last of the ‘tall timber’ Sydney champs the next star of Sydney jumps racing was proving to have talent on the flat.  Greensea by Greenstead from Canal was owned by NJ Hinwood and started his career with 2 unplaced runs before breaking his maiden winning as a 3yo at Moorefield in February 1929.  One unplaced run followed before a spell.

Eight months later Greensea resumed as favourite and after sitting in second finished well to win the Encourage Handicap at Gosford in November.  Two weeks later he chased hard to finished second in a Trial Stakes at Canterbury but was then unplaced at his next 4 runs.  Kept in training he lined up in a 6 furlong handicap at Randwick in late January 1930 and jumped straight to the from holding off a challenge from Potent to win narrowly.  Three weeks later at Randwick Greensea led again but was run down close to the line by Theban.  It was them to Moorefield over 6 furlongs in a 3 & 4yo Hcp where Greensea took the lead by the 800m and then turned for home with a big margin to the rest passing the post four lengths ahead of Lady’s Chain.  A short let up followed before he was unplaced over 7 furlongs and then over the same distance in the Vaucluse Handicap at Randwick defied all attempts to run him down winning from Pavillion.  After two close up runs in the following week Greensea then went to Tamworth for the Cup on the 6 May 1930 as the short priced favourite.  He jumped straight to the front and led throughout as favourite to easily win the Tamworth Cup by a length from Prince Avian in track record time of 1.25.  There was talk of Greensea heading to Queensland for the Stradbroke but ultimately he went to the June Stakes where he took the lead after a furlong and stayed in front to defeat Casque D’Or with Fujisan unplaced.  The following Saturday the trio met again and this time Greensea couldn’t hold out in front as Fujisan stormed past to win from Casque D’Or with Greensea fifth. 

A short spell followed before Greensea returned with an unplaced run at Rosehill at the end of August and then another four week break being unplaced in a Highweight at Rosehill leading into the Epsom Handicap.  However in the big race he was severely checked in the first furlong which put paid to Greensea’s chances in the event.  He then backed up two days later with a 5th in the Shorts before being unplaced at Warwick Farm and sent for a lengthy spell.  He returned in late March having 4 runs with the best result a second where he chased the winner the whole way before lining up in the Highweight at Randwick on 9 May 1931.  In that race he jumped straight to the lead and defied challengers to win by a length from King Crow with Beckwith third over the 1400m.  A week later he lined up in a Welter over the mile and was under siege at the 100 yard mark but fought back strongly with Vigne getting past to win but Greensea held on for second.  Greensea lined up for his second June Stakes at the first meeting of the June carnival (same day as the AJC Hurdle).   Eulclare led with Greensea in the leading group and over the final furlong Greensea came away to win by ¾ length to Eulclare with Prompitude third.  Five days later they met again in a Flying over 6 furlongs where Greensea led by the half mile from Eulclare and Auda and that pair challenged Greensea as they turned into the straight followed by Promptitude then Lucre.  Inside the final furlong it appeared that Eulclare was in from Auda but then called on Greensea fought back strongly to regain the lead and to come away to win by a neck from Auda with a neck to Eulclare third. 

A let up followed but when Greensea returned in the spring he was unplaced at Warwick Farm first up before heading to the Camellia Stakes at Rosehill three weeks later where is was also out of the placings but was close up behind the first three.  A nother short let up followed and Greensea went to Melbourne and lined up in a Railway Highweight at Flemington on Cup day with 11.1 .  Drawn the wrong side of the track Greensea raced a little erratically and in the in the end the weight took its toll as he finished down the track.  Greensea was expected to lined p in the Linlithgow Stakes 2 days later but was scratched and then news came through that his trainer E Ball had died from complications from a car accident he had been involved in on the way to Melbourne.  E Ball had been well enough to leave the hospital and attend the races but later became ill that his wife was sent for and a week after the Cup carnival.  

Greensea along with stablemate Ticino remained in Victoria spelling at Werribee and were listed to be sold at auction on April 5 1932 (yes the same day racing lost Phar Lap).  However just before the sale N Hinwood went to court to get an injunction over Mrs Ball from selling Greensea which her late husband had an interest.  It had been discussed selling the horse the previous spring and ultimately N Hinwood insisted that a reserve of 500 guineas should be put on him at the sale & the matter was adjourned to the following week.  However the reserve was lowered by the time the auction took place and Greensea went through the auction selling for 375 guineas to Randwick trainer FT Cush.  He returned to racing in a Flying at Randwick in May but caused trouble at the start backing away and trying to turn as the field was let go and was unplaced.  Lining up for his third June Stakes Greensea again played up at the start and was well behind the placegetters.  He was also unplaced his two remaining starts for the season.

Given a short let up Greensea lined up in the Dundas Handicap over 7 furlongs at Warwick Farm in mid August.  Greensea had been working well at trackwork and his fitness shone through as he jumped straight to the lead and was never in danger winning by three lengths to Hampton Plane.  Next he was set a huge task in taking on Amounis, Nightmarch and Veilmond in the Warwick Stakes over a mile at Warwick Farm.  Greensea went to the front but was headed around the turn by Johnnie Jason who went on to win from Veilmond with Inflation third and Greensea well back.  A week later he went to the shorter Canterbury Stakes where he played up at the start along with Autopay and Rogilla.  Slowly away he was just behind the leaders in the run and ran on strongly at the end but Holdfast was too good winning by a length ith Autopay a half length away in third.  Greensea was then unplaced behind Rogilla in the Camellia Stakes.  Unplaced in his next three starts he was then third in the Moorebank Stakes at Warwick Farm at the end of December before 4 more unplaced efforts.  He was spelled and resumed in a Flying at Victoria Park in May where despite media reports he wouldn’t be fit enough Greensea jumped straight to the front and never gave any horse a chance as he went to the line 1 ½ lengths ahead of Polly Speck with Queen Sol third.  Unplaced at his next start Greensea was then second in the Dundas Hcp at Rosehill in June and second in a Flying at Canterbury 2 weeks later.  Sent then to Rosebery in a Flying he was unplaced and in fact in his next 6 runs through August and September Greensea could only manage one second placing. 

Greensea was now 8 years old and known as a good sprinter but was about to make the transition to one of the best Hurdlers seen in Sydney.  In early October it was reported he schooled over the pony hurdles and jumped very carefully.  A week later he was schooling over the normal brush hurdles.  His frist start over the brush hurdles was at Victoria Park over 1 ½ miles where he was well in front with half a mile to run but was run down in the closing stages to be defeated by half a length by Abbott’s Lad.  A month later he lined up at Victoria Park and was expected to go well but over the second jump he landed and then immediately held his back leg off the ground.  His rider immediately dismounted but after a few minutes Greensea was walking around without an issue.  It was decided as there was a mark on his hock that he had struck the hurdle and hit a nerve in his leg.  Two weeks later he was sent to a Brush Hurdle at Warwick Farm where he led Abbott’s Lad throughout to win eased up by 3 lengths.  An offer of 1000 guineas was soon made for Greensea on behalf of Melbourne interests and the media started to report that it was expected to be accepted but first he lined up the following Wednesday in a Hurdle at Rosebery.  And again despite the big weight of 11.10 Greensea went straight to the front and won easily by 3 ½ lengths from Yarrawin with Dilemma third.  Soon it was also noted that no offer had been made from Melbourne only trainer F Lush being asked to name a price for the gelding.  Ten days later Greensea was back at Randwick and carrying 12 st led throughout but Abbot’s Lad headed him over the last jump but Greensea’s ability on the flat saw him fight back to win by a half head with 8 lengths back to Blue Ensign third.  Greensea was now being labelled the ‘Phae Lap’ of jumping and one of the best jumpers Sydney had seen and he continued on his winning way making it four in a row at Victoria Park in mid January where carrying 12.4 he won by half a length from Hustler.  A week later he tried to make it 5 in a row (and 5 from 7 jumps starts) in the Brush Hurdle at Randwick against only 3 other rivals.  Carrying 12.7 Greensea was beaten to the early lead by Abbott’s Lad carrying only 9.7 and the latter was a length in front by the 7 furlong mark from Greensea who was joined by Master Colin with Underwood a long way behind them.  Over the last Abbott’s Lad and Greensea were together closely followed by Master Colin who had been joined by Underwood.  In the run to the line the lightweight Abbott’s Lad came away to win by five lengths from Greensea with two lengths to Master Colin third.  Resuming in mid June 1934 on the flat Greensea was unplced over the mile and then went to a Jumper’s Flat at rosebery 10 days later.  Under the big weight of 11.13 Greensea led in the straight and withstood a challenge from Gay Breeze winning by two lengths.  Three weeks later he was placed on the flat before winning a Brush Hurdle at Canterbury with 12.12.  He went to the front as usual and was never headed though Spider King tried to challenge ultimately Greensea won by three lengths from Blue Ensign with Spider King third.

Into the new season as a 9yo  Greensea was second in a Jumpers Flat at Ascot and then was third in a Mile at Rosebery before returning to the jumps with a Brush Hurdle at Warwick Farm in late August where he was given a big impost of 13.3.  Greensea jumped to the front and flew the jumps well giving nothing else a change to win easily from Underwood with Jayson third.  The race was described as the best exhibition by a winner since Les Paddington.  Greensea lined up again in the Hurdle at Randwick a week later where he was burdened with 13.7 while having the jumps against the outside fence added extra distance in wet conditions.  Despite the challengers Greensea again proved himself the star of the era after being left at the start by 4 or 5 lengths but after the first mile was in front with Newbold.  In defying the opposition to get past him hewent to the line to win from Underwood by a half length with Newbold Boy third.  It was reported that Jack Rice won with 13.9 and 14.2 and that Greensea should continue on his winning way. Greensea receive a massive reception in winning and even his jockey had to be assisted in carrying the saddle to weigh in after the race.  Nine days later in mid September 1934 Greensea was given 13.13 to try and make it a hattrick of wins.  Greensea’s trainer F Cush was assisted in carrying the sale to prepare the gelding for the race.  IN the race itself Newbold Boy led over the last jump with Greensea a length behind but making ground chasing hard after making a mistake and losing several lengths mid race.  Newbold Boy had enough in hand to pass the post only a neck ahead of Greensea with third 8 lengths behind them.  Two weeks later Greensea lined up to carry 13.10 for his final start for the winter in the First Brush Hurdle at Randwick.  He was quick to take the led and went along in front until the half mile where Clanger took over but on straightening Greensea took over the lead again with two lengths back to Underwood third.  Coming to the last Clangor had hit the front again and held the advantage to win by just over a length from Greensea with Underwood third.  Coming back to scale Greensea was noticeably lame but was still cheered by the crowd for his valiant effort under yet another crushing weight.  It was then to a spell until Autumn 1935

.  After resuming in mid March and then another flat run in April Greensea then went back to the jumps with a 5th in a Hurdle at Randwick under a crushing 13.7 in weight.  Four days later he led until he fell heading to the home turn and was reported to have suffered abrasions to his head but otherwise fine.  It was the first time in his career that Greensea had fallen.  It was then to Warwick Farm where under 13.5 he led well into the straight where the lightweight Sixteen Annas finished too strongly to defeat Greensea by 4 lengths with nearly 2 lengths to Bowthorne in third.  A week later carrying 13.3 Greensea outjumped Sixteen Annas in the final stages to defeat his rival by a neck with Underwood third at Randwick.  Due to the massive weights he was given in Sydney it was considered to send him to Melbourne for the Grand National  and other features races but when trainer Fred Cush tried to enter the horse he was rejected as the VRC didn’t accept his wife as the owner as there were different rules between NSW and Victoria at the time in regard to ownership. 

Instead he stayed in Sydney for the two Hurdles over the June long weekend running 5th in the AJC Hurdle after hitting a hurdle hard at the mile and a quarter mark and then lining up again at Randwick the following Saturday.  Carrying 13.8 Greensea led early and was briefly headed but took over again until well into the straight where Bowthorne hit the front but Greensea came again to win by by a length and a quarter to the cheers of the crowd.  He was 10-1 but the crowd truly appreciated the remarkable effort under the massive weight and it made the headlines the next day in the papers.  Greensea then had two flat runs for a 4th and a second before lining up in a Brush Hurdle at Canterbury on 13th July.  Greensea carrying 13.12 shared the lead until the 3 furlongs where Dango hit the lead and cut in front of Greensea causing the champ to lose some momentum.  Dango went on to win by just over two lengths from the gallant Greensea and a protest was lodged but the margin was deemed to great. A week later the reports started to note that connections were looking towards the end of Greensea’s carer as he wouldn’t be able to go on carrying the record breaking weights and while he might be tried on the flat he had lost the dash of years ago.  Ten days later Greensea won a Brush Hurdle at Rosehill carrying 13.12 where he led Delmagar who tried to stay with him at each fence but Greensea just had too much class winning by a length despite breaking his surcingle over the third fence and having it flap around for the remainder.   He won by a length and it was 8 lengths back to third place.  Greensea also recorded a record time for the distance of 2.43.  Greensea was then spelled but plans were to come back as a 10yo and mix flat and jumps racing.

 During the spell Greensea trainer stated that he would take on any hurdler in Australia in a match race over the hurdles but while first a Tasmanian horse and then the Victorian Baanya was mooted when he returned to training.  Then Sarakos was named as a prospective opponent.  First up from a spell in September Greensea was kicked by another runner and had to be attended by the vet and eventually finished unplaced in a Flying at Rosehill.  Two more unplaced flat runs followed before Greensea went to Jumper Flats at Ascot.  Under the massive weight of 12.11 Greensea was in behind the leaders until the home turn where he went to the front and proved too classy for the field winning by two lengths from Snow Acre with a further 3 lengths back to third.  Greensea then continued to race on the flat at his next 4 starts as negotiations continued to organise a match race with Sarakos but the main issue was that Greensea could not be nominated for any race in Victoria and the connections of Sarakos were not keen on travelling to Sydney.  After one more flat run for a third in a Flying in late January Greensea had a break until the winter.  

He resumed with a third in a Flying before another third in a jumpers flat with 13.3 a week later and was then unplaced in a welter and Flying leading up to his return to the jumps in the AJC Hurdle.  Despite not racing over jumps Greensea had been schooling strongly throughout his last two preps and lined up in the big race with 13.4.  It was reported that he would be kept to flat racing before retiring at the end of the year after the event.  Greensea tried to lead from the start but in the straight the first time Sly Lad went past him and never gave any other runner a chance winning easily as Greensea dropped back to finish 6th of the 7 runners.  He had had 105 starts for 24 wins 16 seconds and 5 thirds.  But the flat racing to retirement never happened as news came through on 7th July that Greensea had dropped dead at trackwork.  He was sent out to gallop half a mile with 2yo Earl Sun and about 20 yeards from the line he started to stagger and fell just past the winning post.


Cheery Jack

The last of the star Sydney jumpers started his career at Deniliquin just over a year later.  Cheery Jack was unplaced in that run as a 3yo and little changed as a 4yo where he was placed third in a maiden at Victoria Park and then in a Novice Hcp at Rosehill from 7 starts for the season.  As a 5yo connections were tired of him ranging up to win but not going on with it so tried training him over a few hurdles and he won a Maiden Handicap at Rosehill in August 1938 over 9 furlongs.  Amazingly he actually hurdled another runner that had been in front then fell during the race.  After the race his owner JM Forsayth announced that he had been schooling over hurdles for 3 months and after the spring races he was to be sent to Melbourne to be set for a jumping career.   Cheery Jack made his debut over jumps in a brush hurdle at Moorefield at the end of October and although unplaced showed promise for the future.  He easily won his second run over the jumps in a Trial Hurdle at Warwick Farm in early December where he went to the front at the three furlongs mark and won easily by 8 lengths.  Just over two weeks later he repeated the effort at Randwick in a Hurdle where he got to the front turning out of the straight and by the 6 furlongs mark was well clear.  Passing the four furlongs mark he was well clear of Herbie’s Pride and Captain Rose and little changed in the run to the line where Cheery Jack won by five lengths with three lengths between second and third.  A spell followed.

 Cheery Jack resumed with an unplaced effort in March on the flat but then in training reared up over backwards and hurt himself in a yard at the stables.  Given a let up of 6 weeks he was then third and then unplaced on the flat leading up to the AJC Hurdle in early June 1939.  In the big race he was left 6 lengths at the start but made up the ground and took the lead by the five furlongs mark and had the race in his keeping a long way from home.  He raced away to win by two lengths from Jack Mac with Capancus third.

 Cheery Jack was soon sent to Melbourne where he had a run at Moonee Valley over the hurdles where he fell resulting in two other horses going over the top and one was thought to have caused a severe laceration to his jugular vein resulting in the loss of a fair amount of blood before it was stitched up.  There was plans to continue with his Grand National run but vet opinion was that with the increased blood pressure when racing the stitching may give way on the wound.  He then ran second at Flemington in the Doutta Galla Hurdle where he took the lead with 5 furlongs to go but in the straight when Royal Cape tried to make a run along the inside he was crowded for room by Cheery Jack and passed the post in second position.  Royal Cape protested and was awarded the race from Cheery Jack.  Soon after his trainer returned to Sydney and Cheery Jack was left in the care of CR Maskell to prepare for the Australian Hurdle.  In the big race Cheery Jack started favourite but dropped back from the start and then blundered at the first jump and was eventually 30 lengths off the leaders and in the end only made up a little ground to finish 4th.  He was then given a break to prepare for the jumps races over the Cup carnival.

 Cheery Jack also changed trainers to MT McGrath at Mentone.  Returning to the jumps on Caulfield Guineas day he sat behind the leaders before taking control with a half mile to run.  Glenlonan joined him over the last jump but Cheery Jack was too classy racing away again to win.  After a third in the Cup Hurdle Cheery Jack lined up two days later in the November Hurdle on Oaks Day.  He overcame trouble in running to take control over the last hurdle going on to win by four lengths from Frisco.  Initial plans to offer him for sale at the end of the carnival were changed and instead Cheery Jack was spelled until the new year.

 Resuming in February Cheery Jack had several runs on the flat including a fast finishing 5th at Moonee Valley leading up to his return for the winter jumps races.  A third in the Sandringham Hcp at Flemington followed on 1 June 1940 and then he won the Tambo Purse at Mentone before another third in the Birthday Hcp at Flemington with a 3 week break to start his jumps races for the season first up in the Grand National Hurdle at Flemington.  In the Grand National Cheery Jack with 11.7 started favourite and in the race he pulled his way to the front with a mile and a half to go.  Half a mile from home he was two lengths clear and when challenged on the home turn he was asked for his effort and came away to win easily by four lengths with plenty in hand from First Brigade with Dark David third.   He won in record time and was the first Sydney owned horse to win and the biggest weight in 27 years.  While many Grand National winners often went to the Grand National Steeplechase a week later instead Cheery Jack was dropped back in distance to the Doutta Galla Hurdle.  Carrying 12.6 in the race Cheery Jack took control a mile from home and despite making an error at the next hurdle he was untroubled to win his second feature race inside 8 days.  He was then aimed at the Australian Hurdle where he was weighted with 12.9.  In the race under the heavy weight Cheery Jack was within striking distance of the leaders but when asked for his effort couldn’t make ground and passed the post third behind Kevastar and North Cape.

Cheery Jack was then sent for a short spell and prepared for a flat race campaign.  After several promising runs his owner decided to aim him at the Melbourne Cup.  He showed promise in the lead ups running in the Herbert Power Hcp and Werribee Cup but ultimately ran 12th in the big race.  He was then spelled & returned to his Sydney trainer RC Stanton.  Four flat runs with the best result a 3rd in the City Handicap in April saw Cheery Jack heading back to the Hurdles where he lined up at Randwick with 13.7.  Weighed down by the impost Cheery Jack wasnt able to make ground and was beaten into third place.  To be aimed at the Grand National Steeplechase Cheery Jack first was aimed at the Hurdle and then AJC Hurdle in Sydney.  On the Saturday he lined up with 12.13 and then carried 12.10 in the AJC Hurdle.  In the first race Cheery Jack pulled his way to the lead by the mile and had beaten off a challenger by the 5 furlong pole.  He cleared every jump well and raced away to win easily from Mag Mort.  On to the AJC Hurdle Cheery Jack where Cheery Jack was amongst the leaders when he suddenly dropped back when he made an error at the 9 furlong obstacle and although he charged home in the closing stages the gap was too far with Mag Mort winning the race.  There was a stewards inquiry into the run and plans were kept on track for Cheery Jack to head to Melbourne and he departed on 23 June.  Cheery Jack took a few days to settle in before being schooled over the bigger fences to prepare for his debut in the Kensington Steeplechase.  Carrying 12.7 on a bog track Cheery Jack jumped faultless and followed the leader Solecism past the mile then half mile before starting to give chase in the straight.  Over the last fence Cheery Jack got the better of the leader and raced away as National Debt started to give chase.  In the ground Cheery Jack went wider on the track and National Debt started to charge along the inside.  Coming to the line Cheery Jack was eased up and National Debt got close but the leader had a length to spare on the line.  Cheery Jack shortened as the favourite for the Grand National Steeplechase the following week so much so that the headlines read he was to be one of the shortest favourites in the race history.  Race morning Cheery Jack was the hot favourite but all was not well with the horse.  Soon after arriving on course RC Stanton realised something wasn’t right with the horse and notified stewards.   The vet was called to inspect the horse who was usually content and calm but instead was trying to rear in the stalls and wouldn’t stand for the blacksmith to shoe him and instead was on the toe so much that even a passing trainer noted the horse had been doped and would have been unsafe for him to run.  The horses eyes were dull and his tongue dry which was considered the side effects of a doping drug that affects their sight.  He was soon withdrawn from the race.  The horse had been left unattended for only 20 minutes that day while his attendant went back to his hotel to prepare for the races.  With police investigating the bookmakers council offered a 200 pound reward for information regarding doping meanwhile Cheery Jack recovered by the Monday to be sent back to Sydney.  When swabs came back they showed he had been given a big dose of an alkaloid and the plan was probably that he was to run and run badly instead of being given too much and being a raceday scratching.  As criminal investigations continued the VRC had its own inquiry into the doping of Cheery Jack.  After his trainer RC Stanton was interviewed he was given a two year ban for neglect in not protecting Cheery Jack resulting in the trainer having to sell stables and walk away from racing as he had no right of appeal.  He did later return after the 2 year ban. Meanwhile Cheery Jack was expected to spell for over 3 months.  Reports later had Cheery Jack being leased to one of Melbourne’s leading jumps owners in AG Silk and being trained by D McCormick for the rest of his career. 

The now 8yo returned to training early in 1942 and had four flat runs to prepare him for a return to the jumps.  His first race over jumps was the Autumn Steeple at Flemington where he hit the front 6 furlongs from home but over the last jump had had enough and finished 20 lengths from the winner in 5th place.  He then went to the Rothwell Steeplechase at Moonee Valley and despite the slow pace was never near the lead and nearly fell at the jump at the 5 furlongs.  He made ground to finish second 8 lengths from the winner.  A week later he struggled to finish 5th at Flemington before an unplaced run on the flat.  He was then 3rd at Moonee Valley and unplaced at Flemington before returning to Hurdle racing.  Cheery Jack didn’t improve being unplaced in the Toolambool Hurdle then in the Port Phillip Hurdle he showed pace for the first section of the race but again had nothing when asked for his effort from the home turn.  In the Grand National Hurdle again Cheery Jack faded out of the race a long way from home.  After the race it was decided that Cheery Jack would be freshened.  He returned in a flat run and then started in a Hurdle at Flemington where he fell at the 6 furlong obstacle.  Cheery Jack was sent for a spell and within a couple of months his hair started to fall out with thoughts that he was still feeling the effects of the doping 18 months prior.  Cheery Jack returned to training in November 1943 as a 10yo to see if he could recapture any of his previous form.  Two starts in late December and early January on the flat he showed some improvement but a fall while schooling resulted in some loss of confidence.  By the end of January 1944 Cheery Jack won a hurdle trial at Epsom. In his first hurdle start for the year he showed his old dash for about 1 ½ miles before fading to finish 4th.  In late February the retirement of Cheery Jack was announced.  It was decided that the doping had ultimately affected his heart and it was best he be retired.     


Cessation of jumps racing for World War 2

Meanwhile as Cheery Jack was trying to recover from his doping hurdle racing in Sydney was stopped completely in October 1942 at the same time as midweek racing with the promise of it to return after the war.  Anpapejo won the Hurdle on the Epson program.  Anpapejo raced on the flat for a while but in 1943 resumed his career over jumps with a win in Victoria and ultimately ended his career in South Australia in 1946 

Into October further restrictions on racing was planned to be introduced in Sydney such as restricting starters to up to 6 years of age then reducing that to 5 years in an effort to reduce race fields.  One weekend a month had to be free of racing and races could only be held during certain hours of the afternoon.  And in the meantime jumps horses in Sydney were returned to flat racing, spelled or sent to Melbourne.  Then in 1943 coming into winter Hurdle jockeys asked the owners and trainers association to consider reintroducing the jumps races but only two jumps horses remained in Sydney in training and the feeling was it would be unfair to cater for ‘half a dozen slow geldings’.    The attitude was later reflected when a promising Sydney jumper from 1942 was sold for only 70 guineas in May 1943.

In November 1945 there was an attempt to revive the sport in Sydney by some AJC members, owners and trainers but it ultimately failed.  Again in January 1948 it was reported that the STC and AJC had been in discussions in hurdle racing returning but again it never happened.  In April 1948 Gosford race club also looked at bringing hurdles races back but the plan also failed.



Canberra Times Trove Sep 84

1980s Hurdle racing begins in Canberra and returns to Sydney

In 1984 the Canberra Racing Club added a hurdle to its October Canberra Cup program.  The club obtained a set of brush hurdles from the Benalla Race club where jumps races had been discontinued and had full approval from the RSPCA with a planned field of 10 starters.   It was the first hurdle run in Canberra.  In the race Bon Brummel looked to have the race in his keeping but started to tire in the last 100m but held on to win from Old Charger with Viv’s Choice third.  The seven runners completed the course without incident.  Aside from an annual hurdle held at the Victorian border town of Deniliquin where they raced in the Melbourne direction it was the only jumps race held in any part of NSW and ACT since in the WW2 cessation. 

In 1985 it was announced that the hurdle would return to the program and not long after the confirmation the Sydney Turf Club announced that it too would hold a hurdle that became known as the Toohey’s New Hurdle and made front page headlines in the lead up to the race.  Arrangements were made to borrow the hurdles from the Canberra Race Club for the event to be held in November.  In the Canberra Hurdle Fiddleback proved too strong for favourite Brinkworth over the final stages with Tautohe who had been the pacemaker third.  Over the last fence the placegetters jumped cleanly almost together.  Just over a month later in Sydney in the Toohey’s New Hurdle at Rosehill Brinkworth was again in action and led but was run down in the closing stages by High Drifter with Quobite third.  10 runners lined up for the event and all completed the course without incident.  In 1986 the promising jumpers continued to line up in the race with the third edition seeing Malvita defeat Sir Agrifo with Aussie Jig third.  At Rosehill in November Noblest Roman took the inside runs from the 600m to be too good winning from Tirren Darra and All Prince third.  In 1987 in Canberra there was some controversy when My Court Jewel drifted out and took the running of All Prince but as there was no protest entered the favourite kept the race.  An enquiry was later held into the result of the hurdle race where jockey Brian Constable was charged with not allowing a horse to run on its merits where his mount All Prince finished second.  Ultimately he had a penalty of 12 months handed down by SERA stewards.  Meanwhile in November the STC had no such issues where New Zealander Dinah’s Card went straight to the front and defied all attempts to run him down as he flew over the jumps only stopping in the last few strides but he still had enough in reserved to defeat Runaway Switch with Peaross third.  In 1988 the Canberra hurdle was expected to draw a full field of 10 runners and it also saw the first female to ride in a jumps race in ACT (and probably NSW) in New Zealander Christine Reeve.  In the race Cobbler Boy was too strong and held off Gun Du Wyn with Pekamagess third and Christine Reeve aboard Rahntia fourth.  In Sydney at Rosehill a month later Doctor Sam won the now named Trans Tasman Hurdle by 12 lengths from Royal Offer and Chief Lone Smoke. 

In 1989 Canberra went to an all flat program and didn’t run further hurdle races but at Rosehill the Tran Tasman Hurdle continued to thrill and in this year it was a roughly run race with several riders charged with careless riding in a race that saw two horses fall – all horses and riders were unhurt.  Te Akau Lad became the fifth favourite to win the race leading throughout to hold off Look at Me with Monsoon Magic third.  The race also featured Pride of Kingston the younger brother to Kingston Town but he lost momentum and dropped out after hitting a fence when he looked a winning chance.  1990 saw Snow Gypsy race away to win by 11 lengths from Historically with another four lengths to Lord Lonsdale third.  Queenland had also started running an annual hurdle race each year in 1990.  Some of the more well known Victorian  jumpers lined up in 1991 where Bula Naitasi defeated Spinning Waggon and Yrangie while in 1992 Newsbeat trained by Eric Musgrove won the Trans Tasman Hurdle by a neck from Outshone with Fair Lane third. 

1992 was the final running of the race and therefore the last Sydney jumps race ever was run on November 14 of that year.


High Drifter

My Court Jewel

Rahntia leads Gun Du Wyn and Cobbler Boy

Cobbler Boy in front over the last

Cobbler Boy
The end of any chance of a revival

For unknown reasons at the time in 1997 the Greens introduced a bill in regard to making it unlawful to run a steeplechase or hurdle in NSW (click here for link - please note you have to go about halfway down the page it was put through with making it an offence to confine birds by a leg ring and chain on the same bill).  Linking it with confining birds via a leg chain may have swayed some votes from members who believed it was a dead sport at that time so didn't matter (it was 19 v 17 votes) and strangely the following bill to outlaw steel jaw traps in NSW was not passed. 

Unfortunately this passed bill has resulted in the line ‘banned in NSW’ by activists in regard to discussions about the future of the sport in states such as Victoria and South Australia.  Having ceased as a local industry in 1942 and not having had an annual  race for Austalian horses to take on New Zealand visitors it was a long dead sport in NSW which is probably why the handful of votes got the ban over the line unaware it would be used as a tool by anti racing groups forever more. 



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Black and White newspaper images are from the National Library - Trove online newspapers.  Colour Photos Jenny Barnes Cheery Jack colour - unknown


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