STUBBS, Munnings, Malt – I have prints and/or paintings by all three internationally eminent equine artists displayed at home.
English-born George Stubbs (1724-1806) and Alfred Munnings (1878-1959) I know by reputation. Brisbane-born Brian Malt I knew on a first hand basis as an artist, racehorse owner/breeder and the father of former Queensland Country Life colleague Shannon Malt.
So I was dismayed to hear of Brian’s death, aged 76, on Wednesday, July 26, in Toowoomba after a lengthy illness.
Widely regarded as Australia's most eminent Thoroughbred artist, Brian was commissioned by race clubs nationally and internationally to paint famous racing scenes and horses. Some of his work is on display at race clubs including Toowoomba, Moonee Valley, Eagle Farm, Doomben, Tattersalls and at the Eagle Farm Racing Museum, while other works are displayed in Australia, England, Canada and in numerous private collections.
Although originally based in Brisbane, Brian later moved to Southbrook on the outskirts of Toowoomba and became an ardent supporter of the Darling Downs thoroughbred industry with his involvement including successful horse ownership and breeding.
Indeed, his passion for racing was always evident in many conversations when our paths crossed at Toowoomba’s Clifford Park racecourse. Horses raced by Brain and his family included city winners Mr Light Blue and Strawberry Malt who was bred and raised by Brian. Her race-track wins included the Listed Just Now Quality Handicap at Eagle Farm in 2005 before she went on to become a successful broodmare.
In a moving tribute published on Racing Queensland’s web page, racecaller Ross Stanley wrote that Brian Malt did not let his long illness hinder his fervour for the Thoroughbred.
“Despite being robbed of normal speech and mobility, he thrived on catching up with Beauxbaton – the Michael Nolan trained Toowoomba-based gelding that he bred from his stakes winner Strawberry Malt. An added joy for Brian was that his wife Jan and children Wendy, Brian, Shannon and Matthew were also in the chestnut's ownership.
“Seven decades earlier, Malt made the ideal racetrack debut. Perched like a periscope on the shoulders of his father Norm, the five-year-old witnessed Bernborough's brilliant triumph in the 1946 T.M.Ahern Memorial at Doomben and was smitten with racing for the rest of his life, Although Brian's prowess as a sketcher emerged during his childhood, he could not have dreamt then that the Brisbane Amateur Turf Club would commission him to paint Bernborough.
“Brian's initial bountiful bank of characters and settings that featured in his racing composition was founded in his trips to country courses when he worked for a bookmaker. Those experiences were a springboard. The innumerable track visits for Brian, often with Jan's companionship, ranged from Burrandowan to Goondiwindi, Pakenham to The Valley, Clifford Park to The Farm and Royal Ascot to Saratoga.
“Accordingly his paintings now hang in houses both humble and high class, racecourse rooms, the Eagle Farm museum, and the premises of clubs, associations and businesses in Australia and abroad,” Stanley wrote.
New stars align for Racing Queensland Thoroughbred Awards
THE UBET Queensland Horse of the Year title will go to a new star for the first time since 2012, when Racing Queensland (RQ) hosts the 2017 UBET Queensland Thoroughbred Awards on Saturday, September 9.
Following the retirement of champion sprinter, five-time winner Buffering, five new contenders have been nominated for Queensland’s most prestigious equine title.
Group 1 J.J. Atkins winner Capital Gain, Magic Millions winner Houtzen, Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup winner and $1 million earner Rudy, Summer Sprint Triple Crown winner Most Important, and Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes winner Yankee Rose are in the running to put their names alongside the likes of Buffering, Falvelon, Shoot Out and Starcraft as previous winners.
Capital Gain and Houtzen will also vie for honours in the 2YO Horse of the Year title, with Yankee Rose among the leading contenders in the 3YO Horse of the Year award.
The Queensland Trainer of the Year, Queensland Jockey of the Year and the Ken Russell Apprentice Jockey of the Year, will be among 31 award winners – and Queensland Racing Hall of Fame inductions – announced on the night.
RQ Chief Executive Officer, Dr Eliot Forbes, said he looked forward to joining with the industry to celebrate the 2016/17 racing season. “You can’t help but be impressed by the quality of thoroughbreds and accomplished industry participants nominated to win 2017 UBET Queensland Thoroughbred Awards. We’ve been fortunate enough to witness Buffering on the national and international scene for the past five years, but the time has come for the next generation to announce themselves as Queensland’s Thoroughbred stars of the future,” he said.
Jeff Lloyd will be the likely frontrunner to take the Jockey of the Year award, after he broke Chris Munce’s 2012 record for most metropolitan winners in a season. But he will be challenged by perennially successful jockeys Jim Byrne, Robbie Fradd and Damian Browne.
The Trainer of the Year title will be a tough decision for judges to make. Metropolitan premier trainer Tony Gollan finished the season with 100 winners statewide, while Toowoomba-based young-gun Ben Currie topped the tally with 103.5 winners.
Female riders feature prominently in the Ken Russell Apprentice Jockey of the Year awards, with metropolitan premier Tiffani Brooker and runner-up, Alannah Fancourt, joined by Josh Oliver and Matthew McGillivray.
As part of the night, RQ may induct up to four new names (Horse, Jockey, Trainer and Associate) into the Queensland Racing Hall of Fame. A list of featured nominees is included below, with winners decided by a panel including media, Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards and key industry stakeholders.
This year’s function will be held at Gambaro Hotel, in Brisbane’s Caxton Street entertainment precinct. Tickets are limited so early bookings are essential. To purchase tickets visit: https://www.trybooking.com/book/sessions?eid=293242&embed=true
2017 QUEENSLAND THOROUGHBRED AWARD FEATURED NOMINEES
Horse of the Year:
Jockey of the Year:
Trainer of the Year:
Ken Russell Apprentice of the Year:
4YO and Older Horse of the Year:
Col ‘N’ Lil
3YO Horse of the Year:
Crack Me Up
2YO Horse of the Year:
Ours To Keep
Saint Patricks Day
Monteith Report puts Eagle Farm rejuvenation back on track
RACING Minister Grace Grace has accepted an independent report outlining a remediation plan for the Eagle Farm track, targeting a return to racing by April 2018.
The remediation works, expected to cost between $1-$1.5 million, will be funded through Racing Queensland’s Racing Infrastructure Fund.
Racing Queensland commissioned the report from former Victoria Racing Club CEO Dale Monteith following a direction from Ms Grace to take all necessary steps to ensure Eagle Farm is returned to a fit state for racing.
“Eagle Farm hasn’t performed to expectations following a track rejuvenation project approved in 2014. We can’t afford to waste time with finger-pointing and blame-shifting – my absolute priority is to ensure the track is operating at its optimum level,” Ms Grace said.
“Dale Monteith’s thorough and exhaustive report sets out a clear path to remediating the track, and Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club have reached in-principle agreement to implement his recommendations. I’d like to thank Dale Monteith for his professionalism and I look forward to seeing remediation works get under way, once tenders have been issued,” she said.
After assessing the track design, construction and maintenance of Eagle Farm, Mr Monteith said several factors contributed to the track’s performance:
- The sand and grass chosen.
- Maintenance programs during and after track construction.
- Weather events at critical maintenance times.
- The racing program in the first 12 months.
- The budget available for the project.
The Monteith Report includes expert advice from Sports Turf Consultants, and recommends the total removal of the existing grass and thatch layer and re-blending the profile to include angular sand types to improve stability.
It also recommends laying couch grass and a graduated return to a racing for the first year of racing and thereafter, depending upon track performance.
The Minister said the Monteith Report had been peer reviewed by soil scientist Dr Mick Battam, who concurred with Mr Monteith’s recommendations.
“This represents a clear way forward to restoring Eagle Farm to its leading role in the Queensland racing industry. I want to thank racegoers and industry participants for their patience, and assure them that racing will return to Eagle Farm as soon as possible,” Ms Grace said.
Racing Queensland CEO Dr Eliot Forbes said: “This report has taken into account all the circumstances and feedback on the track design, construction and maintenance. I would like to thank Mr Monteith for his diligent work and all stakeholders who have provided information for the review.”
BRC Chairman Neville Bell said: “We welcome the review of the track. We look forward to working with Racing Queensland to ensure Eagle Farm is ready for the 2018 Brisbane Racing Carnival. Over more than a century, Eagle Farm has proven to be very popular with punters and we want to ensure that history stretches over many more years.”
To view the Monteith Report, go to http://www.racingqueensland.com.au/