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With the passing of 96 year old Fred Godecke this week, the last direct link to the first Interdominion Championship in 1936 has been broken. Fred trained and drove Willowcliffe who won a heat and qualified for the final. Of course, the extended Godecke family is synonymous with WA Harness Racing through the deeds of many top horses including the great Renaud, Golta, Fastease and company and they bred many top horses. Fred had very good horses such as Cornish Rogue, Caltrop, Banca and the stunning but injury prone Red Monaro who could have been anything.


  • JayJayJayJay    5,790 posts
    Article from Th West Australian 1939

    For long identified with trotting activities in the West as a breeder, owner and trainer, Fred Godecke was the central figure in an interesting presentation during the course of a smoke social amongst the light harness fraternity at Gloucester Park last night.
    He was presented by W.A.T.A. President, J. P. Stratton, with an inscribed
    gold medal, as a recognition of the performance of Lincoln's March in creating
    an Australian record (2.20¼) for a three-year-old square-gaiter over 12 furlongs.
    Presentation was the signal for an outburst of applause, to which Fred made a
    Fix this textbrief but apt response.

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  • JayJayJayJay    5,790 posts
    From August 12 1950 (I think Warren Lad will be of interest to Chariots)

    1st Winner 25/1 Pop
    Young Fred Godecke, son of Fred (senior) who was renowned for his breeding and
    handling of crackajack square-gaiters some years ago, has plenty of reason to
    remember his first winner.
    it was the 25/1 chance Aurora in last night's Albany Hep who rated 2.10 in winning from the 36 yard handicap
    In the opening event, Godecke  thought Supercharge a good
    thing and the horse went out favorite but he was just beaten by Warren Lad who was driven by Bernie Cushing from behind the leader.
    Keith's Idol, also just beaten last week, again failed to hang
    on. He was well in the market and cost the Cliff Clarke
    stable plenty once again:
    Favorite, Logart, the first of Ron Porter's many good drives last night, started favorite at 2's,
    but failed as did the odds on favourite Beaudale who went down to the smart grey Spanish Glen, described by his driver Alex McLean as "As good as I have sat behind". Porter gained some redemption with a win on evens favourite Gallantry in a later race.
    Bill Johnson, who has been having an enforced spell of 6 months, had his first drive back
    on the once popular Stormy moon but he was at the back of the field and did not show up.

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  • aussiebattleraussiebattler    165 posts
    interesting reading thanks JayJay , Fred (dec) is a cousin of my Grandmother Lorna Joyce Godecke 
  • JayJayJayJay    5,790 posts
    "Young" Fred strapped Willowcliffe in the 1936 Inters final for his dad Fred Snr when aged 13, which would be against the rules nowadays. And "young" Fred's first winner Aurora in 1950 was also Bill Godecke's first winner.  Bill of course is best known for his exploits with Renaud, Golta and Aboukir, who Fred also drove to win a Navy Cup at Fremantle. And then their was Bob Godecke (dec) of Fastease and Mint Condition fame, who famously dropped the Royal Trophy on the track at GP in 1977 after winning the $35k 1977 Queen Elizabeth Cup. A family with an enormous harness racing heritage....was going to say "pacing" but Fred Senior was a legend with squaregaiters along with winning the WA Derby four times back in the 1930's. Aussiebattler comes from great stock.

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  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,984 posts
    The third member of the Fred Godecke dynasty was also a competent driver winning many races at GP on Banca.

    He was also famous for being Best Man at our wedding.
  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,984 posts
    Attended Fred's memorial service at the Bassendean Bowling Club on Wednesday.

    A life well lived in the "Sport of Trotting" as it was known then before the harness racing industry jargon took over to make it look more professional.

    Fred participated in an era without trainers or drivers percentages, no drivers race or trial fees, no splash sheets or mudguards on quagmire tracks and you had to get your own on the punt or have a punter in tow to survive.

    It may be time for the current crop of young drivers to wake up and smell the roses. 

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  • JayJayJayJay    5,790 posts
    I am with you Chariots. I don't want to turn this into a soppy recall of the past, clearly progress and technology has made our sport safer and more convenient but no pre-made shoes, you made and shod your own, no plastic discs on spider wheels, no lightweight carts, leather saddlery that required copious lashings of Dubbin, no visiting "equine dentists", no flash horse transporters, few "imported" horses, you bred and broke your own....and as I set off to Narrogin tonight on well made roads in an air conditioned, heated, comfortable vehicle able to bet on both GP and Narrogin (and anywhere else in the world that is running a race) with a guaranteed earn of something more than a bag or two of chaff......it is a salient point that you make....for both drivers, trainers and owners.

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  • savethegamesavethegame    1,807 posts
    Best  way would be to drop the prizemoney for 12 months,just have ribbon racing,then the genuine horselovers would only be involved,no 24mil needed to be spent  on integrity of industry, no stewards required  for ribbon racing,surely there would be no high priced kiwi imports.Vets would disappear off owners bills.Three or more runners from one stable would disappear..Jay Jay think those dangerous yank carts are heavier.

  • MarkovinaMarkovina    1,353 posts
    I dont think the current crop of young drivers have to wake up at all

    I think they are finally being paid decent remuneration - i can remember it was only a couple of years ago that Lance Justice - who was the driving force behind got - enabled the Vic drivers to get Superannuation on top of their driving fees - and i mean why shouldnt they get it - every other - worker - even casuals get it

    Everyone has bagged drivers over the years - but i have said it once before - it takes guts to get out there - the risk in any race - look at David Harding and his wife

    If i was the president of any state driving association - i would be pressing to get as much as you could  get for your drivers within reason
  • OnTheBridleOnTheBridle    36 posts
    I think this commentary is rather flippant in regard to current participants. Those fortunate enough to participate maximally have been from Northam to Narrogin for a handful of meetings in the last week. This is disregarding trackwork every morning, and some have a second field of work during the day. Moreover, they are constantly scrutinised and often chastised on social media; a contemporary issue that wasn’t present in the “glory days”. I think the less that is said of the idea to drop prize money the better.
  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    1,984 posts
    edited June 2019
    Colin Brown and Chris Lewis have been driving long enough to have seen both sides of the coin.

    Last Friday Colin Brown would have earned $18k plus in drivers fees and percentages from his treble.

    When Colin first came into the industry that payment would have been zero and and he would have been at the mercy of the goodwill of the owners.

    I am sure that both Chris and Colin are much more comfortable with the remuneration arrangements now in place.

    The salient point is that a good driver can now make a living where as in the past even champion drivers found it difficult to survive.

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  • JayJayJayJay    5,790 posts
    Coulson lead the campaign for drivers to be treated as a "profession" with a mandated payment for every drive....at the time, it wasn't much but the driving fee concept was unheard of. Prior to that, a driver travelled to Cunderdin or wherever at his cost for potentially zero return. It now needs to be extended to trainers as per the gallops trainers who are guaranteed a minimum of $75 per starter.

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  • MarkovinaMarkovina    1,353 posts
    I heard an excellent radio /voice interview with Gavin Lang  about 18 months ago

    And Gavins precise words were - that over the years no one has made much money out of trotting - however he said where alot of participants - particularly the older crew had been defacto compensated for that - is they normally had a bit of land - previously rural - but now with urban sprawl had been rezoned as residential - and in Gavs words had got their 1-2 million through their land . Thats something  younger participants today are definetly not going to have the luxury  of

    Best example is FRK - talk about lucky - with his property - it was way down the track -as in sold - nearly exchanged contracts - what was the figure 550k

    I had to laugh at the time Gino DM was still at the West - and Gino said - Fred has been " forced out  " of his property - i would love to be " forced out "   for $9-10 million  when i  just about had accepted 550k

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