Great trainer honoured for Australasian deeds

Racing Desk
8 February 2014

The aches and pains of old age weren’t going to stop Syd Brown making the trip back “home” from Sydney for the NZ Racing Hall Of Fame gala dinner at the SKYCITY in Hamilton on Friday night).

Brown, 88, was among the nine latest inductees into the NZ Racing Hall of Fame (NZRHOF) and he was determined to be on hand for the presentation, even though he hadn’t been back to New Zealand for many years.

Initially beginning his training career at Te Rapa, Brown is best-remembered for his success during his time at Woodville and, though it was 42 years ago that he shifted to Warwick Farm, his popularity was evident with his strong support group on hand.

After successful raids to Australia, he made the shift to Sydney and in 1972-73 and in his first full season he finished third behind Tommy Smith and Jack Denham on the NSW Trainers’ Premiership.

Also making the trip from Sydney to be inducted last night was Jim Cassidy, who recently became one of just three Australasian jockeys to win 100 Group One races. A record-breaking apprentice and winner of the 1981-82 NZ Jockeys’ Premiership, Cassidy will always be best-remembered by New Zealanders for his Melbourne Cup win on Kiwi.

Gold Coast-based trainer Paddy Busuttin also crossed the Tasman for the big night, which honoured his great stayer Castletown, and he was appropriately joined by Castletown’s strapper Rata Prince and regular jockey Noel Harris. Castletown’s feat of winning three Wellington Cups, an Auckland Cup and the New Zealand Derby will always be treasured.

Rex Cochrane, who slipped into retirement at Alexandra many years ago, was another inductee, recognised for his great skills as a trainer from his Gore base. He became the first New Zealand trainer to prepare 1000 winners.

Also inducted was Maurice McCarten, a champion New Zealand jockey who went on to make his mark in the saddle in Australia before becoming the champion Sydney trainer for four seasons.

Unfortunately, Mr Tiz passed away eight days short of his induction into the NZRHOF, but his deeds as a champion sprinter have been well-recognised.

Another inductee Cuddle made a huge impression in Australia, winning the Doncaster and All Aged Stakes in Sydney and the St George Stakes in Melbourne.

Friday night’s inductions stretched even further afield to include a notable feat by a Kiwi jumper in England. Moifaa became the first colonial-bred to win England’s famous Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree in 1904.

Completing the five equine inductees was the champion sire Zabeel, who was recently officially retired from active service at the ripe old age of 27. 

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