The who’s who of Australian Racing were on hand in Brisbane tonight as one of Australia’s greatest ever jockeys, the late George Moore, was inducted as a racing Legend into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.
It is fitting the Mackay-born Moore was bestowed with Australian racing’s highest honour before a crowd of almost 400 people in the city which began one of the most illustrious careers in sporting history.
Moore’s first Metropolitan win came at Eagle Farm in 1940 and a Brisbane premiership followed. Moore then moved to Sydney and formed a 30-year association with fellow Hall of Fame Legend TJ Smith, which included 10 Sydney jockey premierships and 109 Group 1 wins.
His skill in the saddle was validated when he took on the world’s best in Europe, winning a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, a French Derby, English Derby and Ascot Gold Cup.
Chairman of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame Selection Panel Bob Charley said Moore’s reputation as an athlete extended beyond racing alone.
“George Moore was more than simply a great jockey, he was an international sports’ star, the likes of which are rarely seen,” Mr Charley said.
“He was a true legend of racing and tonight his name rightfully stands alongside the sport’s greatest names.”
There were also seven individuals and four horses inducted into the Hall of Fame this year: jockeys Glen Boss and Robert Thompson; trainers Brian Mayfield-Smith, Jim Moloney and Harry Telford; associates Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jnr and Bert Lillye; and horses Danehill, Choisir, Briseis and Dalray.
Queensland Thoroughbred Racing Board Chairman Peter Boyce paid tribute to the achievements of Moore and the evening’s inductees, all of whom have made a significant contribution to the sport of racing.
“We are incredibly proud to have such a strong contingent of Queenslanders inducted into the Hall of Fame this evening, particularly the Legend status granted to the great George Moore,” Mr Boyce said.
“The Australian Racing Hall of Fame dinner is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our sport and the achievements of those who have made outstanding contributions to racing in their chosen field.”
2015 Australian Racing Hall of Fame Biographies
Briseis can lay claim to be the greatest filly ever to race in Australia. Bred at the famous St Albans Stud near Geelong, and trained and raced by its owner, James Wilson, Briseis created a record in 1876 which is unlikely ever to be equalled. Taken to Sydney as a two-year-old, she won the Doncaster Handicap, the Flying Stakes and the All-Aged Stakes. In the spring of 1876 she completed a magnificent career by winning the Victoria Derby, the Melbourne Cup and the VRC Oaks, a treble never achieved by any other horse.
Choisir created racing history in 2003 when he became the first Australian horse in modern times to win at Royal Ascot. A son of Danehill Dancer, Choisir was trained in Newcastle by part-owner Paul Perry. The highlight of his Australian career was a dazzling win in the 2003 Group 1 Lightning Stakes at Flemington. Taken to Royal Ascot he convincingly won the Group 2 (now Group 1) King’s Stand Stakes and the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes in the space of five days. Since his retirement from racing Choisir has become a successful dual hemisphere stallion for Coolmore Stud.
Dalray was one of the great New Zealand stayers who excelled on Australian tracks. After a successful three-year-old season in New Zealand, Dalray won the 1952 Autumn Stakes in Sydney and was narrowly beaten in the Sydney Cup. Returning in the spring, Dalray enjoyed a triumphant season, winning the Colin Stephens Stakes and the Metropolitan Handicap in Sydney, and the L .K. S. Mackinnon Stakes, Melbourne Cup and Queens Plate in Melbourne. He subsequently had a successful stud career at Canning Downs in Queensland.
Danehill was one of the great sires of all time, with 349 stakes winners, including 89 at Group 1/Grade 1 level. After a fine track career, he was sold to a partnership of Ireland’s Coolmore Stud and Australia’s Arrowfield Stud, and quickly became the most successful, dual hemisphere shuttle stallion. He made the first of his eleven visits to Australia in 1990, and was leading sire in Australia nine times, twice in France and three times in Great Britain and Ireland. He has 114 sons and 56 grandsons at stud in Australia, ensuring that his bloodline will remain a mainstay of thoroughbred breeding.
With more than 70 Group 1 wins to his credit, Glen Boss ranks as one of Australia’s most successful jockeys. Having spent his early riding years in Queensland, he transferred to Sydney in 1994 where he quickly established himself as a leader of his profession, excelling as a big event specialist. His wins include almost every major event on the calendar, including three Melbourne Cups, three Cox Plates and two Golden Slippers. In 2008 he moved to Melbourne, winning the 2010 Scobie Breasley Medal, Victoria’s highest award for jockeys, and the 2012-13 Victorian metropolitan jockeys’ premiership.
In a career spanning over 40 years, Robert Thompson has ridden more winners than any jockey in Australian racing history. Born and raised in Cessnock in the Hunter Valley, his first win came at Wyong in March, 1973. Although he has Group 1 wins to his credit in Sydney, the great majority of his wins have been on country tracks. In 2008 he surpassed the Australian record of 3,322 wins held by namesake Jack Thompson. In May, 2014, his winning tally reached 4,000, and he has no intention of retirement in the near future.
After gaining his trainer’s licence in Queensland in 1971, Brian Mayfield-Smith relocated to Sydney in 1976.. During the next two decades he trained the winners of 29 Group 1 races, and in 1985-86 dethroned Tommy Smith as Sydney’s leading metropolitan trainer. Two more training premierships followed in 1986-87 and 1987-88. After two year’s work in the field of wildlife protection in Africa, he established a highly successful. boutique training operation in Melbourne which brought him a further 10 Group 1 victories before his final retirement in 2009.
In 1927 a 50 year-old, battling, Sydney trainer, Harry Telford studied the catalogue for the yearling sales at Trentham, New Zealand and was attracted to a colt by Night Raid out of Entreaty. Acting for owner David Davis, Telford secured him for a bargain 160 guineas, but when Davis saw the dangling colt he refused to take him. Instead he leased the colt to Telford who thus became the owner/trainer of the mighty Phar Lap. Telford had faith in Phar Lap, nursed him through his first four unplaced runs, and with his wins in the 1929 AJC and VRC Derbies, set him on the road to stardom and immortality.
Jim Moloney is part of a racing dynasty which is still with us today. He first took out his trainer’s licence in 1946, and during an illustrious career which spanned more than 30 years, he won a host of Australia’s feature races. His name will always be associated with the mighty sprinter Vain, whom he trained to win 12 of his 14 starts including the 1969 Golden Slipper Stakes. His three victories with Vain in the 1969 Melbourne Cup week were a supreme training accomplishment. He was also renowned for his work on behalf of the Australian Trainers’ Association and as a mentor of young jockeys.
Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jnr
A major business and political figure in his native Philippines, Eduardo M. Cojuangco Jnr has for many years been a leading owner/breeder in Australia. He acquired his Australian base, Gooree Stud at Mudgee, in 1978 and has since extensively developed and expanded it. Today some 300 horses agist at Gooree, and his famous red and black striped racing colours have been carried by many Group winners. He has been a generous supporter of racing in Australia through his arrangement of significant financial sponsorships. In his own words: “Australia is my second country”.
One of Australia’s foremost racing journalists, Bert Lillye began work at 15 at Smith’s Weekly in 1934. From there he progressed to the Sydney Morning Herald, moved to the Daily Mirror, and then returned to the Herald where he remained until his retirement in 1984. He also contributed extensively to Turf Monthly, where he commenced writing his column Backstage of Racing, a feature he later continued in the Sydney Morning Herald. He was an expert researcher, ever careful to verify his findings before committing them to print. Wherever possible he would look at the human angle, and show sympathy for the ‘battlers’ of racing.
A native of Queensland, George Moore had one of the most illustrious careers in Australian racing history. His first feature race win came in the 1946 Metropolitan Handicap, and the first of his 10 New South Wales jockeys’ premiership in 1956-57. His total of 119 wins at Group 1 level remains a record for an Australian jockey. For a number of years he rode overseas with great success, his wins including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the Epsom Derby and the Ascot Gold Cup. He was elected to the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1986, and was an inaugural inductee to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.