You could have knocked me over with a feather the night an immaculately dressed twelve year old boy wearing a pork pie hat bowled up to me at Penrith trots, declaring one of my horses a “good thing”.
I was surprised when Club Menangle historian Peter Collier told me that forty trotting trainers and drivers have died in accidents since the sport began in Australia. In conjunction with his Victorian counterpart John Peck, Peter has worked tirelessly for years to identify the people involved and to trace the circumstances of their fatal accidents.
Stumbled upon a couple of photos of Hondo Grattan the other day. That’s all it takes to trigger memories of one of the most charismatic harness horses of all time. Did a quick check to learn that it’s coming up twenty five years since the little champ passed away at the Turnbull family’s Loyal Stud near Bathurst.
The crowd had dwindled and the bids were sparse when Lot 202 walked into the ring at the 2015 Bathurst Gold Crown yearling sale. Chris Frisby had already secured a couple of “cheapies” and wasn’t really interested in a third. He sat down for a moment and took a cursory look at the Sportswriter colt from Rooftop Fairy.
Harry Martin seems to have been around Sydney harness racing tracks forever, and was well ensconced when I trained and drove my very first horse, a two year old filly called Red Mittens. Harry had a filly called Miss Viscount at the same time, and I clearly recall going around with him in early trials, and in a race or two.