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Remembering the sadder side of horse racing

Remembering the sadder side of horse racing

Their Last Ride-The Fallen Jockeys of Australia is a book which includes information about 938 deceased jockeys from the years 1853-2017. Local John H Payne has been writing the book for eight years now and it is finally ready to be released. 

“The book is about the history of Australian racing and Australian history. If you read some of the stories it will tell you what it was like back in the 1870’s in racing.

“I am passionate about this because it has never been done before and I think it should be done. It came about because there are three monuments in Australia, but they only have the jockey’s name, year date and the state of which they died. There are 40% errors on them and most aren’t even included on there. These people deserve a monument with their names spelt right on it.

“The bottom line is that all of the people I have spoken to, race clubs and historical societies have all shown an interest in it. There is a monument going up in Condobolin and this book is a template for the monument. I think it will be a very good thing and the beauty of it is that it will have a one liner on every jockey,” said John.

John has spent many hours researching each jockey in this book to give people an insight into their lives and to honour those who have died in racing.

“I have tried to get their full name, their parents’ names, where and when they were buried, the race and track they were riding at, the horse in which they were riding, the owner or trainer of the horse and so on.

“All of the deaths are related to accidents, about 700 were killed in races and the rest were killed in training or stable accidents.

“When I was writing it every story ended in death so I was thinking how was I going to do this. You can’t change the death to too many words but after a while I relised that it wasn’t about death, it was about promoting what they did. They enjoyed doing it,” said John.

Although John doesn’t have a favourite story he says there are a few which stand out including this one.

“There was this one where three brothers were killed in an eight-month period and two on the one day in an accident, so I guess that sticks out. There have been a couple of brothers killed and a couple of young kids as well,” said John.

If you love history and you love racing, then this book is for you! The book will be available at Collins Bookstore or you can contact John directly on 0458 489 012 or email jypayne@bigpond.net.au

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