Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Memories Are Made of This

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Memories Are Made of This

Article excerpt

RETIRED Coffs Jetty businessman Bob Mackay won't pay much attention to this week's Grafton racing carnival, but in his youth, the "Sport Of Kingsa featured heavily in everyday life.

Family patriarch, Robert "Red Boba Mackay, was a prominent racehorse trainer last century and while ayoung Bobbya never felt the inclination to follow in his father's footsteps, he did spend time as a bookmaker's clerk.

"As a young bloke I worked for a bookie named Piccone and it helped me make up my mind never to bet up big," he recalled.

"The bookmakers all went to the races in big, flash American cars built like aircraft carriers while the punters walked or caught a lift.

"Came to my senses very early that you never get rich quick on the punt and while I'd have the occasional bet, it was never more than a couple of quid."

One of the better horses trained by Red Bob during the 1920s was Denman, which won many races on local tracks between Kempsey and Grafton.

The trainer didn't own the horse and his son is interested to know if any descendants of the original owners are still out there.

Memories have been stirred by the exploits of the modern day racehorse named Denman a described by former trainer Peter Snowden as the best he's handled a now in Europe with the Godolphin racing empire.

"Our old bloke Denman wasn't a patch on the modern Denman, but he was still a very good galloper," Bob said.

"They took a picture of him and it's been in my possession since 1937 and I'd love to catch up with any surviving members of the original family that owned him.

"He won a lot of races at Bowraville and Coffs Harbour so I'd say they would have lived fairly close to these parts."

Bob remembers another of his father's horses who was set for one of the big Grafton feature races, en route to a Queensland campaign.

"I don't remember the name, but Dad entered the horse in three races at Coffs Harbour this particular day and he won the lot," he said. …

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