On the morning of Wednesday 17 May, 11 inductees were added into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, in Victoria.
In 1861 Archer won the inaugural Melbourne Cup and ushered in a new era in Australian racing.
Offering total prize money of 930 sovereigns, the 1861 Cup attracted 17 starters, with the Victorian horse Mormon favourite at 3-1 over Archer at 6-1.
The race was marred by a false start and then a fall affecting three horses.
Archer managed to avoid the trouble and by the top of the straight he was three lengths clear, which he extended to six lengths to defeat Mormon.
A year later trainer, Archer returned to Flemington for the 1862 Melbourne Cup, which he started as favourite in the field of 20.
Although burdened with 10st 2lbs (64.5kg), he won his second Cup with even greater ease, beating Mormon by eight lengths, and claiming a place in the record books with his consecutive wins.
Named in honour of her sire Le Filou (meaning “pickpocket”), Light Fingers’ career was kick-started when W.J. Broderick leased her following her brother, The Dip’s, on-track success.
Under the guidance of Bart Cummings, Light Fingers won three minor races as a two-year- old in the autumn of 1964.
Brought back in the spring, she dominated her age group by winning the Edward Manifold Stakes, Wakeful Stakes, Victoria Racing Club Oaks and the Sandown Guineas.
In the autumn of 1965 she campaigned in Sydney where she was successful in the Princess Handicap and the Australian Jockey Club Oaks.
At the end of the season she had seven wins from 12 starts, and was only once unplaced.
Light Fingers started her four-year- old season with wins in Adelaide and in the Craiglee Stakes at Flemington.
Her preparation was then interrupted when she was injured in the Caulfield Stakes in which she ran third, before being scratched from the Caulfield Cup.
After running third in the Mackinnon Stakes, she was relatively unfavoured in the Melbourne Cup at 15-1.
Carrying a record weight for a mare of 52.5kg she scored a courageous win over her stablemate, Ziema, by a short half head.
When she was finally retired in 1967, Light Fingers had 15 wins from 33 starts and 13 placings.
Saintly was bred, raised and trained by Bart Cummings.
After a slow start to his career with just one win from four starts as a two-year- old, Saintly came into his own as a three-year- old winning five of his 11 starts.
His career highlight however was to occur in his third season racing when he won the 1996 Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate double.
Only Nightmarch, Phar Lap and Rising Fast had previously achieved the same feat.
Adding the 1997 C.F. Orr Stakes to his wins, Saintly’s success was recognised when he was named Australia’s Champion Racehorse for the 1996/97 season.
Unfortunately, a tendon injury suffered in training forced Saintly’s retirement in July 1998. Saintly’s 23 starts produced 10 wins and 11 placings, and his injury was a tragedy for Bart Cummings, who said: “He was something special. He was still growing up, still putting it together. We’d only seen half his potential”.
Winx rose to prominence during her three-year- old season, her comfortable win in the 2014 Furious Stakes at Randwick heralding the arrival of a mare with ability.
Unbeaten as a 4-year- old she claimed wins including the Theo Marks and Epsom Handicaps, but it was her Cox Plate success in a race record time that cemented her greatness.
Only the sixth Australasian champion to win seventeen or more races in succession, Winx has, by public acclamation, been crowned a First Lady of the Australian Turf. Her trainer Chris Waller said of Winx after her amazing 2016 Doncaster Handicap win: ‘’I’ll call her a champion while I can speak.
I thought she was beaten at the half mile. She must have an amazing will to win.’’
For the 2015-16 racing season Winx was voted Australian Horse of the Year, and she finished 2016 as the highest ranked turf horse in the world.
On induction into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2017 she had raced 27 times for 21 wins and three seconds; including 12 Group One wins.
Her journey continues.
THOMAS "TOMMY" CORRIGAN
Tommy Corrigan is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest ever jumps jockeys.
His outstanding career on the flat and over the jumps includes 788 race starts, from which Corrigan had 238 wins and 230 placings, including wins in six Grand Nationals Steeplechases and one Grand National Hurdle. His skill and courage as a jockey were renowned, and were immortalised in the words of Banjo Patterson: ‘…by danger undismayed, he never flinched from fence or wall, he never was afraid’.
Born in Ireland in 1854, Corrigan came to Victoria with his parents at the age of ten.
Three years later he rode in his first race as an apprentice, and in 1872 he had a mount in the Melbourne Cup. But it was over jumps that he excelled.
Corrigan was of small stature, even for a jockey, and boasted a huge handlebar moustache.
The racing public held him in great esteem and affection.
He was described in the Argus as: ‘Possessing a kindly, genial disposition, and being as open as the day, he made friends everywhere.
Added to this, he is one of the most capable horsemen over fences ever seen in Australia.’
Corrigan died following a fall in the VATC Grand National Steeplechase on 11 August 1894.
His funeral was reported to be one of the largest ever seen in Melbourne.
The cortege of more than 250 vehicles left his Caulfield home for the Melbourne General Cemetery, and was joined at Princes Bridge by 150 jockeys and trainers who marched in procession.
Corrigan’s green and white jacket and his boots rested on the coffin and were buried with him.
JOHN "JJ" MILLER
As a young jockey J.J. Miller led a nomadic existence – riding in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and internationally in Mauritius and Singapore, where he won the 1963 Singapore Jockeys Premiership.
In 1964 he settled in Adelaide, where he linked up with trainer Bart Cummings.
In 1965-66 he won the Adelaide Jockeys Premiership, and the following year he rode the great stayer Galilee in a stunning series of victories, winning the Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup, C.B. Fisher Plate, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Autumn Stakes and Sydney Cup.
In 1967 he also rode Tobin Bronze to win the Doncaster Handicap and the All-Aged Stakes.
In 1970 Miller re-settled in Perth, where he remained for the rest of his riding career, dominating the Western Australian calendar and triumphing in the Western Australian Turf Club Australian Derby six times.
Occasional travel to the eastern states to compete in major carnivals brought further success with wins in the 1974 Victoria Racing Club Derby on Haymaker, 1979 Adelaide Cup on Panamint, and the 1979 Australian Cup on Dulcify.
Miller retired from riding in 1990 at the age of 57, and in 1997 took out a trainer’s licence.
Growing up as a member of an extended and successful racing family, Brian Courtney began his career as an assistant to his father, veteran trainer Ned Courtney.
In 1951 he took out his own trainer’s licence.
Ten years later he was Victoria’s leading trainer.
Courtney was known for being meticulous in his training methods.
He insisted that horses were not machines, but must be treated as individuals and brought to their peak by the correct preparation.
During the 1960s Courtney had several high-class horses in his stable.
The star was Dhaulagiri with whom he won the 1961 Cox Plate, Alister Clark Stakes, Caulfield Stakes, Blamey Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, St George Stakes and C.B. Fisher Plate.
Another quality performer was New Statesman who won the 1961 Victoria Derby, Oakleigh Plate, Williamstown Cup, Moonee Valley Stakes, William Reid Stakes and the George Main Stakes.
With Coppelius, Courtney won another Victoria Racing Club Derby, Caulfield Guineas and the Memsie Stakes.
He also trained the 1964 Victoria Racing Club St Leger winner, Better Lad, and two excellent sprinters in My Peak and Small Time. Courtney’s training accomplishments earned him three successive Victorian Trainers Premierships: 1960-61, 1961-62 and 1962-63.
In a career that spanned four decades, Des Judd established himself as one of Australia’s leading trainers.
Three times he won the Victorian Trainers Premiership.
Judd learnt his craft from David Prince, a successful New Zealand trainer who was attracted to Victoria by the land boom of the 1880s.
After working as Prince’s foreman, Judd took out his own licence in the 1939-40 season.
A prolific winner for Judd in his early years was Prince de Conde, who after running unplaced in his first two starts, then won thirteen of his next fourteen.
During the 1950s and 1960s Judd won a host of feature races including the Victoria Racing Club’s Derby, Oaks, St Leger, Newmarket Handicap, and Oakleigh Plate; as well as the Goodwood Handicap, Australian Cup, Sandown Cup and Doomben Cup.
A highlight of his later years was his win of the Caulfield Cup with Beer Street in 1970.
Judd also saddled up some notable jumpers, winning the Australian Hurdle in 1965 and the Australian Steeplechase in 1967.
Judd’s first premiership came in 1954-55.
In the late 1950s he retired temporarily to become a hotel keeper.
He renewed his trainer’s license in 1962-63, and won further premierships in 1965-66 (equal with Angus Armanasco) and in 1966-67.
(EDWARD SPENCER) ALAN BELL
Alan Bell’s family background was in racing.
His father was a trainer and Bell commenced his own racing career as an amateur rider at the age of 13, before graduating to the professional ranks.
Following his early career as a jockey, his first officiating role was as a steward in 1924 with the Northern District Racing Association.
Through his diligent policing, the local industry saw significant growth in the popularity and integrity of racing.
The Victoria Racing Club soon brought Bell to the metropolitan region as an assistant steward in 1927, and then appointed him as a stipendiary steward when a position became available four years later.
By 1945 he had risen to Chairman of Stewards, a position he held until his death in 1956.
In his role as chairman Bell was strict but fair in his application of racing law, and forthright in expressing his opinions.
But he also acted to quell problems before they got out of hand.
As described by Jack O’Brien: ‘Mr Bell was noted for stopping trouble before it started.
A quiet, private word to owners, trainers and jockeys regularly stopped them from falling foul of the stewards, but he cracked down hard on any wrongdoers brought before him.
’Bell’s death in 1956 called forth tributes from all sections of the racing industry.
Deputy Chairman of the VRC, Mr. E.A. Underwood, spoke of his contribution to racing: ‘He not only knew the sport intimately – but also the people in it.
He knew every trick of the trade and seemed to have some intuition as to what to look for, and when.
He was determined that racing should be clean, and due very much to his efforts, it was.
The standard he set as a steward should be the aim of every man who follows him’.
Lloyd Williams has been acknowledged as one of the great racehorse owners of the modern era.
He has owned or part owned five Melbourne Cup winners: Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012) and Almandin (2016).
Williams also won the Caulfield Cup with Fawkner in 2013.
His champion Mahogany claimed eight group 1 races including the double of the Caulfield and Australian Guineas and the Victoria Racing Club and Australian Jockey Club Derbies as a three-year- old, and the Lightning Stakes in 1995 and 1997.
Lloyd Williams’ personal achievements are only matched by his contributions in the boardroom.
He joined the Victoria Racing Club committee in 1990 determined to resurrect the prestige of the Melbourne Cup by making it a truly international race.
Williams, along with fellow committee members have succeeded in maintaining the Melbourne Cup as a prestige event in modern day racing.
He said after Almandin's win in 2016: ‘We couldn't even get a free-to- air telecaster who was prepared to cover the race.
Yes, we had to turn things around before this event slipped away.
But we knew that to internationalise this great race was going to be the answer we were all looking for.’
The Lee-Steere family had a major influence on thoroughbred racing in Western Australia for well over a century.Augustus Frederick Lee-Steere established the family’s interest in racing.
He had a reputation as a good judge of horses and a fearless rider.
He served as a steward for the Western Australia Turf Club in the 1860s, and was its third chairman from 1868-1870.Augustus’ son, Sir Ernest Augustus Lee-Steere Snr was Chairman of the Club for 21 years, from 1920–41.
He owned many champion horses including Eurythmic which won the Caulfield and Sydney Cups, Maple which won the Caulfield Cup and Second Wind, which won two Williamstown Cups and ran second to Phar Lap in the 1930 Melbourne Cup.
His son, Sir Ernest Henry Lee-Steere Jnr, also served as Chairman of the Western Australian Turf Club for 21 years (1963-84). He championed the cause of Western Australian racing, and under his leadership it took on a new prominence in the Australian scene.
In his period as Chairman, public and members’ facilities at metropolitan courses were completely reconstructed, the winter course at Belmont was re-laid, the Australian Derby was introduced, and the Perth summer carnival became an essential element in the planning of east coast owners and trainers.
Lee-Steere was also a great supporter of the West Australian breeding industry, and horses bred at his family studs won or sired the winners of the Perth Cup and Western Australian Turf Club Derby, Guineas, Oaks and St Leger.