Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Jim's Rich Collection of Stories Hobby Trainer Jim Opens Gate on Life

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Jim's Rich Collection of Stories Hobby Trainer Jim Opens Gate on Life

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony McMahon tmbsport@capnews.com.au

PRESTWICK, Scotland, is the proverbial world away from Callaghan Park racecourse, which the Rockhampton Jockey Club's horse gate attendant James Paterson knows only too well.

"Probably about 16,000km I reckon," Patterson replied when popped the question.

Great Scot, James was close enough with the official figure recorded as 15,892km.

While James's ("call me Jim") face is well known around racing circles in Central Queensland, his background will come as quite a shock to many.

"Most of them at the track just think I'm a silly old cranky bugger who knows nothing about horses but I just laugh," Jim, 74, said.

Born at Prestwick -- about 40km south of Glasgow -- Jim's family migrated to Australia in 1949 and took up residence in Lucas St, north Rockhampton.

"I was nine at the time and dad was a linesman with the post office and I went to school at Allenstown. I started to ride a pony named Tom at the stables of Russell O'Mara's father. He taught me a lot," James -- sorry, Jim -- said.

Aged just 10 he once rode some trackwork at Callaghan Park racecourse, but when family tragedy struck in 1953 his father became very homesick.

"My mother died giving child birth and in 1954 Dad took us back to Scotland," he recalled.

Almost immediately, Jim became attached to the stables of trainer Gerry Lawrence at Ayr where he rode track work.

Over the next nine years his track work skills opened the door for Jim into many stables none more famous than Victor Smyth at Epsom.

"Old Victor was a former champion jockey and he became a great trainer of stayers. I rode work for him for years and learnt a lot. He insisted that his trackwork riders rode to his instructions and he demanded detailed reports from them on how the horses worked and felt. …

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