Vale Margaret Davies

01 April 2019 | Michael Court

NOBODY worked harder for women to be allowed to drive in races against men than Margaret Davies, who passed away last week at the age of 74.

As the inaugural president of the NSW Reinswomen’s Association, which was formed in 1974, Margaret shrewdly used the new Discrimination Act to advantage for the women.

After intense lobbying with the Harness Racing Authority in NSW and the Australian Trotting Council, licences were finally granted to Margaret and Lynette Locke in late 1977.

At the time there were 54 permits issued to women who were undergoing the qualifying period at Shows and Gymkhanas.

Margaret Davies was the first reinswoman in NSW to drive against the men – finishing fourth on Jaunty Jack and then second aboard Jonathon Jan at the Non-Tab race meeting at Nowra on November 12, 1977.

Her first winner against the men was aboard Pipedream at Goulburn on March 4, 1978. A win on the same pacer at Bulli on June 22, 1978 saw this race provide the ‘first Ladies quinella’ in a race, with Karen Pearce finishing second on Queen Victoria.

Margaret had previously won the 5DN/Ansett Reinswomen’s Championship at Globe Derby in 1976, aboard Nichols.

A lover of the trotter, Margaret lived in north-east Victoria for the last decade.

Among her career highlights were to own, train and drive Altimeter to win the 1989 NSW Trotters’ Derby and to breed and own the filly, Jingling Silver to defeat the colts to win the Group One 2010 Victoria Trotters’ Derby (trained and driven for the race by Chris Lang). Jingling Silver won 14 races and $191,322 and also won a Group two and three trotters feature and was placed in a Victoria Oaks and Super Sires Final.

From her base at Bulli on the south coast, Margaret trained a team of pacers and trotters and always rated her husband Kelvin Davies as the biggest influence on her career.

A Memorial Service for Margaret Davies will be held at 1pm on Friday 5 April at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Arundel Street, Benalla.