Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

700 Gather to Celebrate Life of Katsidis

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

700 Gather to Celebrate Life of Katsidis

Article excerpt

Byline: GLEN McCULLOUGH @thechronicle.com.au

GRIEVING family members, friends and racing industry colleagues yesterday farewelled champion jockey Stathi Katsidis at an emotional Toowoomba funeral service.

An estimated crowd of more than 700 people gathered at the Toowoomba Community Baptist Church to celebrate the life of Katsidis, 31, who died suddenly at his Brisbane home last Tuesday.

The cause of his accidental death is still to be determined following an inconclusive post-mortem examination.

Katsidis rose to the heights of Australian racing after serving a successful apprenticeship with Toowoomba trainer Graham Banks.

The former St Mary's College student went on to win a plethora of the nation's feature races, including six Group One events.

Closer to home Katsidis achieved legend status for his effort to win Toowoomba's time-honoured Weetwood Handicap five times in the space of eight years.

At the time of his death, Katsidis' career was peaking following a successful comeback last July from injury and disqualification.

He marked his return from 14 months in racing's wilderness with success aboard Jussemi in the Toowoomba Cup on July 11.

Katsidis promised his followers the best in his controversy-dogged career was still to come.

He went on the next racing season to ride more winners than any other Australian jockey.

Katsidis finished the 2009-10 year with 171A1/2 victories.

His passing came at a time when his services were in demand from Australia's leading racing players.

Many of those players yesterday joined Katsidis' family members including his father Harry and mother Robyn at the service.

Jockeys Corey Brown and Michael Rodd were among interstate visitors who travelled to Toowoomba to pay respect to their friend and workmate.

Yesterday's service included a tribute penned by Katsidis' brother Michael who is in Thailand training for a world boxing title bout and was unable to attend the funeral. …

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