Kings of the Turf

A History of the AJC Derby From 1861 to 1983

Author: Ian Ibbett

1983 – Doug Bougoure: Strawberry Fields Forever!

Like true love, most romances of the Turf never run smooth and such it was with trainer Doug Bougoure and his champion galloper Strawberry Road, our winner of the 1983 A.J.C. Derby. Born in October 1922 in the rural town of Warwick, set amidst the rich Darling Downs some 81 miles southwest of Brisbane, Bougoure was the eighth child and fifth son in a family of ten children. His father, Daniel, was the manager of Risdon station, a sprawling sheep property just outside Warwick that later became a thoroughbred stud. Young Doug received precious little formal education but he could ride before most other children had left the nursery. From the moment he could walk, this fascination with horses saw him mustering at Risdon with his father early in life and later working with Jack Rademy at Yandilla.

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1981 – The Coming of Robert Sangster!

Few men came to have more influence on racing in Australasia in the last two decades of the twentieth century than Robert Edmund Sangster. Born 23 May 1936, Sangster grew up in a mansion near the Hoylake Golf Club, Liverpool, England, the only child of Vernon Sangster who had founded the Vernons Pools Company ten years earlier. Robert was educated at the exclusive Repton School in Derbyshire, the school featured in the acclaimed 1939 film ‘Goodbye, Mr Chips’ and apart from Sangster, numbers amongst its notable and eclectic alumni Roald Dahl, Harold Abrahams and Jeremy Clarkson.

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1980 – From A Jack To A King!

Racecourse life has its rituals and traditions, like muddy car parks in winter and cold pies in summer, not to mention overzealous panjandrums in charge of course parking and access gates all year round. However, never underestimate the capacity of the racecourse for throwing up the unexpected. Ever since seeing Tulloch stroll away with the 1957 Rosehill Guineas as a very young boy, I’d impatiently waited for another champion galloper that was Tulloch’s equal to come along. Of course, what I didn’t realise in my adolescence, was that real champions are almost as rare and as fleeting as a transit of Venus.

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1979 – Colin Hayes & Dulcify: How Sweet It Was!

“The future belongs to those who plan for it.” It is a simple philosophy of life and one that Adelaide horseman Colin Hayes lived by every day. When he eventually realised his dream and first established the Lindsay Park Stud, nestled amidst the rolling green hills and massive, majestic redgums of the Barossa Valley in the Mount Lofty Ranges, Hayes had that philosophy inscribed on an iron plaque and placed on the grand entrance gates to the property. Colin Sidney (C. S.) Hayes, gentleman and racehorse trainer extraordinaire, might be regarded as the third man of Australian racing in the second half of the twentieth century. Together with Tommy Smith, seven-and-a-half years his senior, and Bart Cummings, three-and-a-half years his junior, Hayes came to exercise a disproportionate influence on the Australian Turf that lost nothing in comparison with the aforementioned pair.

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1977 – The Cups’ King Stoops To Conquer!

The year 1977 finally admitted to the honour roll of A.J.C. Derby-winning trainers, the man who was commonly regarded as the finest trainer of stayers in Australia in the second half of the twentieth century: James Bartholomew Cummings! We first met the young Bart Cummings in the 1948 chapter of this book as the strapper of the 1950 Melbourne Cup winner, Comic Court, trained by his father, Jim. Intermittent appearances have come in later chapters, notably 1973 and 1975 when he trained the A.J.C. Derby runners-up, Leica Lover and Rafique respectively. However, it was in 1977 that Bart trained his first winner of the Randwick classic. So let’s recapitulate with a little history through the mouldy chronicle of time.

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