Horseman remembered

Legendary horseman remembered


Horses
Horesman Max Crockett and son Cameron, who is now a successful trainer, pictured at the 2011 Mudgee Cup races. Photo by Virginia Harvey.

Horesman Max Crockett and son Cameron, who is now a successful trainer, pictured at the 2011 Mudgee Cup races. Photo by Virginia Harvey.

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Mudgee racecourse will see a celebration of the life of renowned horseman Max Crockett who died in his home-town of Mudgee recently aged 74.

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TUESDAY December 18 at Mudgee racecourse will see a celebration of the life of renowned horseman Max Crockett who died in his home-town of Mudgee recently aged 74. 

When living at Randwick he became a successful educator of young horses, and has been accredited with near 7000 that he broke-in.  These horses were mainly for big time trainers and included Bart Cummings, Tommy Smith, Neville Begg, Jack Denham and Les Bridge. 

Max also doubled as a horse leader/handler at the famous William Inglis and Son sale’s ring at Newmarket for numerous years, many earlier industry participants recalling Max doming his large cowboy hat which was part of his auction work-wear. 

Early in his youth at La Perouse Beach (a place where some gallopers stretched their legs 50 years ago), Max met a doyen of Australian horse-educators – the late Harry Myer a man who imparted his knowledge to the young man seeking a horse profession.  

During these early times, Max - together with Harry, “rubbed shoulders” with some champion horses including the great Tommy Smith trained Tulloch. Moving to the Mudgee district, Max along with wife Cheryl, had employment stints at celebrated properties “Guntawang” near Gulgong, before moving to Gooree Stud, still today owned by Eduardo Cojuangco. 

Max also began training, where in earlier times, he had for the renowned Foyster family, the US-bred Mr Prospector mare Seeker’s Gold. He further trained at Gooree then at Mudgee racecourse with a memorable galloper being Lancelot, a Refuse To Bend gelding who won 11 races and over $200,000. Following in his footsteps is Max’s son Cameron, also based at Mudgee, and who is making his mark as a trainer.  

Cartoonist gone, but recalled

HE may have been more widely known for his controversial cartoons in earlier times, however Larry Pickering became a character on the turf when he turned his hand to racehorse training. He is recalled, recently losing his battle with cancer passing away at age 76 on the Gold Coast. 

Max also doubled as a horse leader/handler at the famous William Inglis and Son sale’s ring at Newmarket for numerous years, many earlier industry participants recalling Max doming his large cowboy hat which was part of his auction work-wear.

Touted as a trailblazer who paved the way for a new generation of political cartoonists, Mr Pickering was a four-time Walkley Award winner, his cartoons and caricatures featuring in major metropolitan newspapers and books. 

Mr Pickering also developed a love of horse-racing and managed a sprawling property in the Mangrove Mountain/Kulnura district near Gosford, he named Pickering Park, that contained excellent horse-training facilities. There he prepared a number of gallopers none better known than Rising Fear, a close second placegetter in the 1986 Melbourne Cup. 

A gelding purchased cheaply at a William Inglis yearling sale in Sydney, Rising Fear was bred by Jim Bartholomew’s Barador Stud at Martindale in the Hunter Valley. The best horse sired by Without Fear sire son Unaware, Rising Fear showed his liking for distance races when winning the QTC P J O’Shea Stakes-G2 and AJC Colin Stephen Quality-LR over 2400 metres, and the STC Stayers Cup-LR and third in the Brisbane Cup-G1 when run over 3200 metres. 

Ridden by Bob Skelton, Rising Fear led for most of the way in the 1986 Melbourne Cup, and almost got away with it except for the Colin Hayes prepared import At Talaq. Interestingly Rising Fear is a half-brother to another well-recalled favourite of the 1980s – the Brisbane trained Daybreak Lover, a dual Stradbroke Handicap-G1 winner (1984 and 1986), who famously served his initial book of mares at stud in the year in-between. 

Polanski off the mark 

THOSE participants on a previous UK The Land/Quadrant Journeys Thoroughbred Tour with myself should recall our visit to the Irish National Stud at Tully in Country Kildare. There we saw a number of stallions including Invincible Spirit – now a champion stallion as well as the sire of I Am Invincible, and Irish foaled Ratki a five times European Group 1 winner by Danzig son Polish Precedent.  

Shuttling for four seasons to Chatswood Stud in Victoria before his untimely demise in 2010, Rakti sired Australian stakes winner Polanski, winner of three stakes including the 2013 VRC Derby-G1. Like Rakti and standing at Chatswood Stud, Polanski is recalled as he sired his first winner Lesedi, a three-year-old filly who recently won her maiden over 2045 metres at Mornington. 

The crowd begins for house 

WHILE being represented with his oldest being four-year-olds, Great Britain-bred stallion Crowded House had his first winner when three-year-old filly Alexandria won at Bendigo this month. 

Standing his first three seasons at Wattle Grove Stud near Berrima in the southern highlands, Crowded House was moved to Victoria where he has since stood at Wyadup Valley Farm at Lancefield, owned by successful Western Australian owners and breeders Trevor and Terrie Delroy. 

Closely related to world iconic stallions Storm Cat and Royal Academy, Crowded House continues the Nearco sireline via his champion sire Rainbow Quest. 

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