All races at Newcastle this Thursday will be memorial races in honour of a number of key people who made major contributions to Harness racing in this region and beyond. Eighty people made up of family, and friends will be track side for the races and lunch to celebrate the lives of the following people.
Joe Ilsley was in the top bracket of reinsman since virtually the start of night trotting. He etched his name into the records books when he scored a popular win in the 1984 Miracle Mile with Double Agent. Ilsley was then 60 and Double Agent was a 12 year old. The veteran pair were the sentimental crowd favourites that night. Joe was regarded as the leader in his profession when it came to ‘crock’ horses. He used his famous salt water and sand training at Mona vale on Sydney’s northern beaches for some 30 years. Joe was a bush lover and moved to a lovely 20 hectare property at Morisset in the early 1990’s. Joe and his wife Isobel, who have both passed, raised a large family and we welcome many of them to the Paceway today for the running of the Joe Ilsley Memorial.
Michael Ilsley sadly passed away in November 2010 aged 59. In his prime Michael was one of the leading trainer, drivers in harness racing in the 1980’s and 90’s. He won many feature races on top horse including Paleface Bubble and he had a great strike rate driving horses for his father Joe as well as his own horses. Michael and Joe were a part of the strong contingent of northern beaches trainers in the 1980s and 1990s and were renowned for rejuvenating injury prone horses with sand work and swimming regimes. Michael took a step back from his involvement in harness racing over the last decade but still had an interest in the horse racing industry by spelling some gallopers at his lovely property on the Central Coast. Michael’s never complain and fighting attitude during his illness was inspirational.
Barry Rose was a ‘Jack of all Trades and Master of Many’ and at the time of his death he was the long-standing Mayor of the Upper Hunter Shire, after having been first elected to Scone Shire Council in 1987. Barry was the former Chairman of the New South Wales Harness Racing Authority and deputy chairman of the Australian Harness Racing Council. He was a catalyst for the move to mobile racing in New South Wales in the 1970s. In 2002 he received the Medal of Australia (OAM) for Services to the Community and Local Government. He was an accomplished classical pianist. He was the Mayor of Australia's most influential thoroughbred breeding area who bred – standardbred horses. Barry bred former Australian Horse of the Year, Don't Retreat. He had a great love of grey horses. He was a former amateur actor, sports commentator and member of a dance band in the 1960s and '70s. Barry played a major role in developing the Newcastle Paceway. He was also a foundation member of the Caduceus Club of Newcastle.
Bill was a prominent trainer driver in the early night trotting era. One of his best horses was the big grey pacer Snow Gum. He was one of the first secretaries of the Hunter Valley Owners and Trainers Association. He was a foundation member of the Caduceus Club of Newcastle. He was a director of Waratah Rugby Union Club and he was a tireless worker for charities including the Mater Hospital. We welcome his wife Patricia and family members today for the third running of Bill’s Memorial.
Joe was a prominent hotelier throughout NSW. He had stints at many country and local hotels including the Ocean View at Dudley, the Empire Hotel in Newcastle and the Minmi Hotel. He and Bev regularly filled in for publicans at various pubs around the state. Joe loved racing and boxing. He had a many bouts in his younger years as a heavy weight boxer. Joe was a great supporter of the Caduceus Club of Newcastle since its inception and he was made a life member in recognition of his service to the Club. We welcome his wife Bev and his many friends from the AHA to the paceway today for the running of the Joe Lang Memorial.
Matthew Jenkins tragically passed away in 2002 at 30 years of age. Matthew was a promising harness racing trainer, driver who was well liked and respected throughout the entire harness racing fraternity. Matthew worked for a time as a track curator at the Newcastle Paceway and was an important part of the clubs development. The Caduceus Club of Newcastle honour Matthew’s memory each year with the presentation of the Matthew Jenkins Young Achiever Award. The award is not only judged on harness racing ability but on the recipient’s demeanor and action off the track as well. We welcome Matthew’s friends and family to the paceway today and even though 10 years have passed we all miss Matthew very much.
Anne Marie Hancock
Anne Marie Hancock passed at too young an age in early 2011 after a gallant battle against cancer. Anne Marie was well loved in the local harness racing community. She was a tireless worker for many worth causes and was an especially strong supporter of the mini trotters association. She was always available to lend a hand to any worthwhile cause and she showed great strength and dignity in her battles with her illness. She is sadly missed by all. We thank Wayne for allowing us to run this race to honour Anne Marie’s memory.
Allan or Sharky as he was known affectionately passed away on the 6th February 2012 aged 54. Allan was a true horseman. He was a top trainer and capable driver. He raced at all local Hunter Valley tracks starting back in the early 1980’s with Boldy Pride a son of the former local champion Bold Biami. No doubt his best horse was Comet Prince. Allan had a special bond with the horse which won over $123k in his career with 26 wins. He was good enough to get a start in the 2009 Group 1 Treuer Memorial. Meteor Prince was another good horse winning 12 of his 53 race starts. The Harmey name is well known in harness racing in the Hunter Valley. Our thoughts today, on the first running of the Allan Harmey memorial are with Jane, Stacey, Scott, Shane, Shannon and all other family members and friends of Allan. Whilst it is a sad day it is a fitting way to remember Allan Harmey.