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JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
There
is an upcoming WASBA Feature Race at Narrogin (following on from the
Color Glo Tribute) on Saturday July 6th, the "Salute To Red Vicar". A $14k race with garland and trophy for the winner.

It
is wonderful that the mighty Red Vicar is being recognised. There
should be a statue of him in the Narrogin Town Square or Entrance. As a 3
year old, he raced in the district at Katanning, Wagin and Narrogin for
trainer Vic Murphy and driver Colin Murphy,
winning 5 races including the Great Southern Derby, rating 2.19 around
the small 3 furlong tracks. For such a magnificent long striding horse,
complete with his stunning chestnut coat and white socks, it was an
imposing sight to see him getting around the tiny circumference circuits
as well as he did. 

Transferred to Phil Coulson's Herdsman Parade
stables, he announced his arrival when winning a Qualifying Stakes at
Gloucester Park on Saturday December 5th, 1970. Sensationally supported
from 10/1 into 7/4, the meeting corresponded with the Ashes Test Match
over the road at the WACA, and visiting press from England collected
handsomely courtesy of a Ken Casellas tip off as Red Vicar careered
home by over 50 metres. It was an astounding win, and afforded Ken god
like status in the press box on the same night that Coulson produced
Juniors Image for a statement win in a heat of the Christmas Gift.
Course commentator George Grljusich had of course declared the runner up
to Red Vicar, a handy mare named Brunette, to be his best bet on the
programme and in typical fashion, declared that Brunnette was unlucky
and that Red Vicar would never beat her again. George's statement didn't
age well. 

Red Vicar would also win a heat of the Christmas Gift a
fortnight later whilst Juniors Image, after winning the Final, headed to
New Zealand for the Interdominion Series. Red Vicar continued to march
through the classes with Fred Kersley deputising for Coulson whilst he
was in NZ, but Coulson was back on board when Red Vicar won both his
Heat and the Final of the prestigious Easter Handicap for new trainer
Geoff Sherriffs. Coulson continued to win race after race, a remarkable 9
wins from 10 starts, until his disqualification from NZ took effect.
Fred Hough took charge of the reins during the WA Pacing Cup campaign
(4th in the final off 12 yards) culminating in a win in the J.P Stratton
Cup. The Interdominion in Brisbane was the main goal and with Fred
Kersley driving, Red Vicar won multiple Free For Alls and the Easter Cup
prior to traveling to Albion Park. It is now history that after winning
a heat and qualifying for the Final, the heavily supported Red Vicar
galloped at the start before flying home to finish 4th to Welcome
Advice, a certainty beaten to quote the inimitable George Grljusich. 

Transferred to Lawrie Moulds after the Inters, Red Vicar won the Albion
Park 10,000, main events at Harold Park and Time Trialed in 1.59.6, a
Queensland record. His 22 starts that season resulted in 13 wins for a
then monumental $39,563 in stakes and he set 3 Australian distance
records over 9 furlongs, 13 furlongs (from the mobile) and 14 furlongs.
Not bad for a Westbred son of an unraced sire (Overdew) from Ted
Abbott's unraced dam in Bonnie's Kay. He was a magnificent champion and
it is most fitting of Narrogin Race and Pace and WASBA to be
commemorating this stunning horse. All up, he won 31 races including 18
metropolitan wins in WA at both Gloucester Park and Richmond Raceway,
and 5 metropolitan wins at Albion Park and Harold Park. I have never
seen a better ocean swimming horse than "Big Red", he was an absolute
powerhouse and he was a major draw card at the track. Probably a bit
boring for many but it gives some context as to why the great champ is
being honored.

Comments

  • savethegamesavethegame    2,857 posts
    Not sure of the full attire but can remember a picture of him in the west with Geoff Sherriff driving him fast work no helmet etc would accompany Red Vicar stories..
  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    At the time, Geoff wasn't old enough to wear one of those "fedora" safety hats that must have been glued onto the heads of old fellas like Joe Petricevich, the Kersleys and Bernie Cushing. As a kid, I could never work out how they didn't blow off in fastwork. Geoff was more of your baseball cap types. His colours were blue with a green maltese cross whilst Vic Murphy was blue with pink sleeves and cap.
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