Racing industry mourns Darby McCarthy

Racing industry mourns Darby McCarthy


Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.


THE Australian racing industry is mourning the loss of Hall of Fame jockey Richard (Darby) McCarthy (76) who passed away on Thursday, May 7.

The trail-blazing hoop, who achieved widespread acclaim during the 1950s and 1960s, rode more than 1000 winners during a decorated career including three Stradbroke Handicaps, a Brisbane Cup and the Doomben 10,000. In Sydney, he won the 1969 AJC Derby on Divide And Rule and the Epsom with Broker's Tip on the same day before riding across Europe including Paris and Royal Ascot.

A proud descendant of the Mithika people, McCarthy was one of 13 children and was born in the sandhills outside of Cunnamulla in western Queensland. Having left school at the age of nine to work on a station, McCarthy's passion for horses soon developed and his natural skills were recognised before enrolling in Queensland's jockey school when he was 11. He would go on to be crowned the champion of the Queensland apprentice jockey school in 1960 and 1961.

Hall of Fame jockey Darby McCarthy. Picture: Racing NSW

Hall of Fame jockey Darby McCarthy. Picture: Racing NSW

Queensland Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said he first met Darby when he was part of an acknowledgement to country ceremony many years ago when it was a rare way to mark the beginning of an official function. "He was a real boy from the bush whose talent as a jockey surpassed much of anything our racing industry had ever seen. We will never truly understand the many barriers he overcame to become one of the finest athletes ever produced in Queensland - if not the nation," he said.

McCarthy won his first race at a Flying Doctors race meeting in Thargomindah - by six lengths - before steering Mullala (1963), Cele's Image (1964) and Castanea (1966) to victories in the Stradbroke. In 2004, McCarthy became just the fourth jockey to be inducted into the Queensland Hall of Fame, following in the footsteps of Mick Dittman, George Moore and Neville Sellwood, before being awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to racing and his work with Indigenous youth in 2016.

He spent his final years on the Darling Downs and continued to serve as a role model, particularly for the Indigenous community, and was inducted in the Aboriginal and Islander Sports Hall of Fame.

Darby McCarthy's feats are legendary

RACING Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said McCarthy's contribution to the racing industry transcended his feats on the track.

"Darby McCarthy's feats in and out of the saddle are legendary as he blazed a trail across Queensland before taking on the world. He inspired a generation of athletes that anything was possible and continued to serve as a role model in more recent years. He thoroughly deserves his position in the Hall of Fame and he will be sorely missed," he said.

In the Darby McCarthy: Against all Odds book, Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman, who would stay with McCarthy's family while she attended boarding school in Toowoomba, reflected on the legendary jockey.

"I learnt some precious lessons from Darby who taught me in his own charismatic and crazy way what it takes to be a real contender, to rise above everything and everyone else to be your very best," Freeman said.

Earlier this year, the Toowoomba Turf Club hosted the inaugural 'Darby McCarthy Raceday' and used the meeting to raise funds to provide leadership guidance to Indigenous communities in south west Queensland through sport.

Racing Australia's chairman, Greg Nichols, said Darby was an inspiration to the Indigenous community and had a profound impact upon young Indigenous sportsmen to follow their dreams and achieve at the highest echelons of sport. "Darby provided a beacon of hope to young and old, no matter their background. Australian racing and the Australian nation are indebted to his significant contribution to Thoroughbred horse racing and society at large and will be forever thankful," he said.

Russian Camelot shows staying prowess

South Australian Derby winner Russian Camelot. Picture: Telemon Stud

South Australian Derby winner Russian Camelot. Picture: Telemon Stud

THE youngest horse in the field has shown stamina and staying prowess beyond his years with Russian Camelot claiming this year's Group 1 South Australian Derby.

Bred to northern hemisphere time, Russian Camelot was giving away six months to most of his rivals in the 2500m Classic at Morphettville, on Saturday.

Because of coronavirus restrictions on cross-border travel, Melbourne trainer Danny O'Brien watched the race from Caulfield. O'Brien, who won the 2019 Melbourne Cup with Vow And Declare, would not be drawn on Russian Camelot's Cup prospects but the TAB has wound him into $11 favouritism. English bloodstock agent Jeremy Brummitt bought Russian Camelot from Ireland's Camas Park Stud for 120,000gns (approximately $A240,000) from Book 1 of the 2018 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale on behalf of O'Brien's clients who harboured the desire to bring him to Australia unraced.

Russian Camelot has raced five times for three wins and won $324,225 in prize money. By English Derby Camelot, who shuttled to Coolmore Australia in 2014 for one season, he is one of two winners - the other being No Trouble (No Nay Never) - from the unraced Cape Cross mare Lady Babooshka. In turn, she is a three-quarter sister to four-time stakes winner Alkaadhem (Green Desert) and a half-sister to the stakes-placed Raising Sand (Oasis Dream).

Also featured in the pedigree is Royal Ascot Group 2 winner and US Grade 2 winner Stagecraft (Sadler's Wells) and European stakes winners Mullins Bay (Machiavellian) and Hyabella (Shirley Heights). Lady Babooshka also has an unraced 2YO sister to Russian Camelot, who is in training at Lambourn in the UK with Sylvester Kirk, a filly foal by Zoffany (Dansili) and she is back in foal to Camelot.

Queensland owners share SA Derby win

Emerald-based Dan and Rae Fletcher co-owners of South Australian Derby winner Russian Camelot. Picture: Telemon Stud

Emerald-based Dan and Rae Fletcher co-owners of South Australian Derby winner Russian Camelot. Picture: Telemon Stud

A SYNDICATE of Queensland owners put together by Emerald financial planner Dan Fletcher has shared in the success of last Saturday's Group 1 South Australian Derby winner Russian Camelot.

Separately, another Queensland racing enthusiast, Brendan Ainsworth, is also a co-owner.

Senior part-owner is Canowindra, NSW, farmer John Wheeler - formerly associated with Visy cardboard - who has been racing flat horses and jumpers for more than 25 years including the last eight years with Melbourne trainer Danny O'Brien who trains Russian Camelot.

Dan Fletcher takes up the story: "I'd become friends with a couple of Englishmen - Mark Edwards and Melvyn Ford (co-owners) - whom I met at the Inglis Easter yearling sales. Mark had a connection to Melbourne trainer Danny O'Brien who wanted to buy English/Irish bred yearlings rather than tried horses and an incredible judge, UK bloodstock agent Jeremy Brummitt, who picked out two yearlings initially - Russian Camelot and Grand Avenue who is as yet unraced.

"We formed a syndicate called Qld Cup Colts to participate. Initially there were to be five couples but when we realised Victorian Racing allows for syndicates of up to 20 members we decided 'the more the merrier'!

"Our group is:

  • Dan and Rae Fletcher (Emerald/Telemon Stud)
  • Terry and Catherine Piggott (Aldinga Droughtmasters, Rolleston)
  • Yasmine Johnson and Andrew Thomas (Tambo)
  • Brad and Janice Harvey (Bundaberg)
  • Jim and Kaye McGowan (Grange, Brisbane)
  • Vince and Ann Ernst (Highfields, Toowoomba)
  • Bruce and Trudy Roberts (Springsure)
  • Peter and Janine Mahady (Springsure)
  • Andrew and Angela Schwarz (Fernlees/Springsure)
  • Scott McGowan and Shantal Paydayachee (Grange, Brisbane)

"In the lead-up to the Derby the horse was the subject of some really significant offers. These were refused. Thankfully now!" he said.

Tambo's Mate earns Stradbroke start

North Queensland-bred and owned Tambo's Mate (yellow colours) ridden by Matt McGillivray winning Group 3 BRC Doomben Sprint. Picture: Racing Queensland

North Queensland-bred and owned Tambo's Mate (yellow colours) ridden by Matt McGillivray winning Group 3 BRC Doomben Sprint. Picture: Racing Queensland

STUART Kendrick's decision to take a gamble with North Queensland owned Tambo's Mate completed a huge week for the Sunshine Coast trainer when the gelding earned a start in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap.

AAP reports Kendrick trained his 900th career winner on Wednesday, May 6 and had a Gold Coast metropolitan winner on Friday, May 8. He also completed a deal to sell his ATC Australian Derby placegetter Eric The Eel to Hong Kong.

Kendrick had been debating whether to run Tambo's Mate in the Group Three BRC Sprint (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday or the Listed Chief De Beers at the Sunshine Coast next Friday. After a lengthy discussion with the gelding's Townsville-based owner Dalan Tamblyn, it was decided to run in the BRC Sprint which carried ballot-free entry to the Stradbroke on June 6. It proved the correct decision when Tambo's Mate ($12) scored by a short head to Deep Image ($14). "We figured if he couldn't run well on Saturday he wouldn't be any chance in the Stradbroke," Kendrick said.

A 4YO gelding, Tambo's Mate was bred and raised by Townsville-based Dalan Tamblyn and for eight months back in 2017 the then un-named yearling/2YO and Dalan were virtually inseparable as they both recovered from serious leg injuries - hence the name Tambo's Mate.

The 40th stakes winner for Mossman from the winning Canny Lad mare Passagemaker, Tambo's Mate was catalogued for the Magic Million March QTIS yearling sale but was withdrawn when X-rays showed he had a fractured sesamoid. This led to Dalan moving the horse from Glenlogan Park, Innisplain, where he was being prepared for sale to his 5.2ha 'backyard' near Townsville to recuperate.

Now a dual black type winner having won the Listed Recognition Stakes at Doomben last November, Tambo's Mate now has eight wins and four placings from 16 starts and almost $456,000 in prize money and bonuses. Jockey Matt McGillivray took the feature double for the day as he had earlier won the Listed Doomben Guineas on Vanna Girl.

Vanna Girl clinches Doomben Guineas

Listed BRC Doomben Guineas winner Vanna Girl (blue colours) ridden by Matt McGillivray. Picture: Racing Queensland

Listed BRC Doomben Guineas winner Vanna Girl (blue colours) ridden by Matt McGillivray. Picture: Racing Queensland

THE Team Edmonds juggernaut has rolled on with Vanna Girl securing the Sky Racing Doomben Guineas at Doomben on Saturday to bank the first listed race of the winter campaign in Queensland.

Having won four of her previous seven starts, jockey Matt McGillivray ensured the smart filly remained unbeaten over a mile as he steered Vanna Girl to her first black-type win.

Racing Queensland web-news reports that with the Queensland Oaks missing from this year's calendar due to COVID-19, Toby and Trent Edwards will target her at next month's 1800m Group 2 The Roses at Eagle Farm.

"A stakes winner with that filly - $40,000 we paid for her - and she's worth a bit of money now so that's great," Toby Edmonds said. A daughter of the Argentine Group 1 winner Husson, Vanna Girl is one of five winners produced from the winning Redoute's Choice mare Logan's Choice while her grand dam De Souba (Dehere) is a winning half-sister to AJC Derby winner Naturalism and Queensland Oaks winner Crystal Palace.

Having claimed four winners at the Gold Coast on Friday, the Edmonds stable continues to go from strength to strength after training their 100th winner for the season late last month.

The story Racing industry mourns Darby McCarthy first appeared on North Queensland Register.


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