‘DAN McCARTHY…INSPIRED BY THE RACING GAME…..’

*  It was fate that drew Gai Waterhouse into racing: “There was a spot available with Dad when my Uncle died. I started by working in the office and clocking horses . But I found an excuse to leave the office all the time, and go down to the horses. I knew that’s where I wanted to be…..”

* Lee Freedman was 27, with plenty of faith in himself and his brothers, but little else: “We bought some stables; put down fifteen or twenty grand or something, and borrowed the rest. Then I went to see the racecourse manager and told him we needed to train there……”

* Colin Hayes was a 12 year-old at Semaphore, an Adelaide beachside suburb. He would save 25 cents, which would enable him to spend an hour at a riding school: “ I used to sit there and dream about owning and training my own horses…”

* Hal Hoysted was part of a racing dynasty. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all been successful trainers – as had several uncles. When he hung up his jockey’s silks, he became a stable foreman. Then, after gaining enough experience, he launched into a 60-odd year career as a trainer……….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Dan McCarthy doesn’t pretend that he’ll reach the status of any of the above training legends. But he has something in common – he’s inherited a passion for the racing game that consumes him.

“I never visualised myself doing anything else,” he says. “When racing’s in your blood it’s a disease interrupted only by death. You can’t shake it ! “IMG_3942

His foothold in the industry has been enhanced in recent times, as his small stable has won several important races. He’s also forged a strong relationship with prominent owner-breeder, David Strain, whose horses such as Ashlor, Ashtrain, Blazing Ash and Ashrad have achieved success.

Dan’s hopeful that Ashlor can propel him to his dream of training a Group 1 winner…………

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

He grew up around horses on the family property at Flowerdale.

“Dad ( Brendan) built up what was the biggest band of broodmares in Victoria over a ten-year period. At one stage he had about 700 horses; most on agistment, but a fair chunk of them were his own.”

“He was a great personality – a real story-teller – whose love for horses began as a teen-ager in Kyneton. He used to tell us that he acted as the resident S.P bookie at the Marist Brothers College he went to.”

When the McCarthys moved to Tallarook. Brendan Snr would travel down to operate his Insurance Brokerage in Melbourne, whilst also running the Stud Farm. Luckily, the eight kids were all willing helpers.

He became President of the Victorian Bloodhorse Breeders Association at one stage, and was a committeeman at Moonee Valley Race Club.

Brendan McCarthy died early last year, but his racing legacy continues through the VOBIS scheme. He and a colleague reasoned that the Victorian racing industry needed some sort of incentive for owners and breeders.

“They travelled the world off their own bat, looking at various schemes. When they made their presentation, Racing Victoria threw their support behind it. It’s a massive thing now.” Dan says.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Dan’s other sporting love is footy. When he was rounding off his education at Assumption College he was a member of the First 18 squad for three years, alongside future stars like Brownlow Medallist Shane Crawford, Richmond’s Chris Smith and North Melbourne’s Simon Wood.

“I was as keen as mustard. But I couldn’t crack it for a game in the illustrious First 18.”

When he left school and spent a year working on the family Stud Farm, he played a season with Nagambie, but had to put his footy career on hold when he joined forces with his older brother Brendan, who was training at Caulfield.  At 21, he became the youngest-ever licensed trainer in the State.

“We usually had about 30 horses in work, and Saturdays were always taken up,” he says.

Dan and Perri married in 1998 and settled in Wangaratta. He brought five horses up here, to have as a bit of a hobby whilst undertaking an Electrical Apprenticeship: “I thought it’d be handy to have something to fall back on if things got a bit quiet with the training. But we were lucky enough to have 20-odd winners the first year.”

One of his best performers around that time was Another Timah. He had a half-share in him and the rest was owned by a few family members. “At the end of its career it had won 18 races; including wins in Melbourne and placings in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. He was a really good horse, and carried us through for a while.”

“But potentially the best we had was Le Rivet, which was broken down when we got hold of him. Three vets inspected him and told us he wouldn’t race again.”

“We bought him for $500. He won six races in his first preparation, and ended up collecting around $200,000 in stake-money, which was a bit of money in those days. He was placed three times in Melbourne. It was really rewarding to achieve that sort of a result against the odds.”

Eventually, Le Rivet’s career ended when he again broke down, but Dan was nominated for the Fred Hoysted Award for Training Excellence, for his effort in reviving the gelding’s career.

Spondee, which won eight races in the early 2000’s and Stash of Gold, which had nine wins, were a couple of others to bring success to the stable.IMG_4058

But wins have come along at fairly regular intervals over the years, and his last three seasons have been fruitful. Especially with Ashlor beginning to reveal its obvious potential.IMG_4051

After an impressive win at Moonee Valley last October, the stable-star was set for the lucrative Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot.

“It was a big challenge, taking him over to Perth. Normally plane expenses for that journey can be about $15-20,000, but W.A Racing paid for the trip over. When you nominate they’ll only do that if they think the horse is a genuine chance. And besides, they provided a $6,000 rebate to cover expenses.”

“W.A Racing were really good to deal with, and it was a marvellous experience. He got caught at the front of the pack doing a lot of work early, but then, when they turned into the home straight, he was in front. He faded a bit, to finish sixth, but overall, it was a terrific run in a million-dollar race.”

Ashlor followed that up with another good win at the Valley in late December. With 11 wins from 27 starts and accumulated stake-money of over $600,000, Dan’s confident that the five year-old gelding can keep improving……….

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

When I tracked him down last week, this ‘Racing-Man’ was spearing drop-punt passes towards eager youngsters at College’s training session.

He’s a thick-set fellah with the physique of an old ruckman/forward. Since his kids started coming through the Junior League, he’s been fully invested. He had charge of College’s Under 14’s for four years and is in his second season sharing the Under 16’s coaching with Peter Harvey.

I suggest that, with his co-coach’s renowned reputation for ‘white-line fever’ he’d be spending a lot of his time trying to keep ‘Harv’ in check.

“Nah, he’s pretty calm. I’m the one who goes ‘off’ a bit,” he says.

Dan coached his sons Harrison and Alex to Under 14 flags at College. Harrison went on to be part of the Rovers’ Thirds premiership last year, and is now at uni, playing Amateur footy with Old Scotch U.19’s.  Alex made his Thirds debut with the Hawks a fortnight ago.IMG_4040

Third son Will is now coming through at College, whilst the baby of the family, Holly, is a budding Netballer.

I’m intrigued to learn, in hindsight, how Dan and Perri became so deeply entwined with the Greta Football/Netball Club.

“Well, Perri had a couple of seasons of Netball with the Rovers, not long after we arrived up here,” Dan tells me.

“It had been more than a decade since I’d played footy at Nagambie, but I got itchy feet, and joined Greta in 2002. I played there for the next 11 years; chalked up 150-odd games and finally hung up the boots when I was 40.”

“Perri eventually joined me out there. She won 5 Netball Best & Fairests, 2 O & K Medals and a couple of premierships.”

“We really enjoyed it at Greta. I served on the committee for a few years, and was Vice-President…..Terrific people……”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Dan has a team of 12 horses in work at present, and reckons that’s just about perfect for him. Four of them are running at Caulfield tomorrow, in what will be a hectic day.

“You’ve just got to be careful not to take on too many,” he says. ” We’ve got a few syndicates involved now, which is great. And if they can have some fun, and get something out of it, I’m rapt for them. I suppose if you had the right team around you, you could possibly handle up to twenty.”

At the moment, though, the principal of McCarthy Racing, father-of-four, part-time Electrician and College Football Club co-coach is handling things just nicely………IMG_4053

JIMMY – KEEPING AN EYE ON THE COACHES…….

Jimmy Stone still gets as toey about football, as he did when he first started playing for his beloved Tarrawingee, 65 years ago.

Understandably so. His son is in his first year as coach of a Wangaratta side which is on a roll……

Expectations are high…..Jim mentally plays each game and knows full-well that the buck stops with Dean, the bloke in charge…….

Similarly, he feels for his grandson Connor, who debuted with the Magpies this year, and is working like heck to gain a footing in senior ranks……

And whenever he has flicked over to a Fremantle game in recent times, he’s winced as the TV cameras zoomed into the coach’s box to show a testy Ross Lyon swinging around and looking for answers from his assistants.

His first reaction was to hope that it wasn’t another son, Mark, who was feeling the heat…………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The Stone family features prominently in Wangaratta’s sporting heritage…….. The fascination of Jim’s dad Brien, for all sports rubbed off on his seven kids.

In the latter stages of his life Brien was Tarrawingee’s President for a decade or so, and his three boys and three of his sons-in-law played with the ‘Dogs at various stages.

Another passion was greyhound racing. He owned a succession of pacy ‘dishlickers’ which often bore the prefix ‘Medowra’ in their racing name. Medowra Lad was one of his stars, but Accumulated was possibly the pick of them.

Jim’s ascension to a marathon senior career with Tarra was unorthodox, to say the least.

His hectic school-day schedule in the forties included rising before dawn to ride trackwork for Tib and Hal Hoysted; then shooting off to muck out stables the moment the final school bell rang.

“I was having a lovely doze one day, when the teacher, old ‘Thunder’ Thorburn, rudely interrupted me during class. ‘What time do you get up, lad’ he said. I told him it was usually about 4.30. ‘No wonder you can’t stay awake. You may as well spend all day with the horses’ “

Jim literally took his advice. He served his apprenticeship with the legendary H.J.Hoysted and spent about eight years as a jockey. A St.Patrick’s Cup win on Deep Lagoon in 1950 was probably the highlight, but rising weight eventually forced him out of the saddle a couple of years later.

Fortune favoured him when he started playing football, as Tarrawingee, after many years of struggle, had developed a handy side. He slotted into the 1953 premiership line-up as a nippy rover with good skills and the ability to dispose of the pill with either foot.

His preparation for the Grand Final was slightly off-beat, though. He and Des (his brother and premiership team-mate) got up bright and early to milk the cows on the family farm.

“Then we thought, blow it, we don’t want to be coming back to the milking-shed if we happen to win the flag. So we put them through again at about 11.30 and headed off to the game.

By gee, we got some milk from them the next day ! “

Tarrawingee, coached by ex-Wangaratta strong-man Kevin French, proved too good for Greta and won their first-ever O & K title by more than seven goals.

Jim discerned the best way of running out the sore spots after footy – by playing Baseball on a Sunday during the winter. He shone as an out-fielder in a Tarra side which at one stage won four successive flags, during an era that saw the local game enjoy a rich vein of popularity.

He played tennis in the summer months, but later switched to cricket, and proved a more than handy bowling all-rounder for Tarrawingee. Operating off a short run, he bowled a nagging length and combined well with champion wicket-keeper, great mate and drinking partner Billy Fitzgerald.

Tarra assembled some pretty formidable footy sides towards the rear-end of Jimmy’s career.

He won his first club Best & Fairest in the premiership year of 1963, celebrated another flag in ‘64, and figured in five Grand Finals in a fruitful six seasons for the Tricolours.

He decided to step down a peg in the late 60’s after 315 senior games, finally bowing out after enjoying a swansong season as captain of the Reserves………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Jim and Bev’s three boys all started out with Junior Magpies. Knee injuries put paid to Darren’s sporting aspirations, but Mark and Dean have continued on football’s whirligig, in one direction or another, for more than 30 years.

They were blessed with similar on-field attributes; small and light like their old man, blessed with good skills – both hand and foot – and a shared willingness to have a ‘crack’.

Mark’s first job, with Westpac, took him to Wodonga. He had lined up in several games for the Bulldogs’ Thirds and had just made his senior debut, when he was belatedly suspended by the O & M for being an unregistered player.

“Some-one had overlooked the paperwork,” Jim recalls. “So he headed out to Howlong for a season.”

By this time, he had scored employment with an Automative Finance company in Melbourne, and joined Amateur team, Powerhouse (he won his Division’s Pepper Medal), followed by a couple of seasons with Ormond Amateurs.

He travelled back to play with Wangaratta for three years, had a stint with Moe, then joined Eastern District League club Ringwood, under former Benalla boy John Lamont.

Mark’s next move in employment took him to the Riverina, where Terry Daniher had turned Wagga Tigers into a classy unit. Friend and foe alike, admired the inimitable ‘T.D’, and Mark, who hit it off with him a treat , shared in a flag triumph and took out the Riverina F.L’s Quinn Medal.

In his first term as Daniher’s successor, he led the Tigers to another premiership. He was looking for a sea-change at the end of the following season, and responded to an advertisement from WAFL club South Fremantle , who appointed him Assistant-Coach.

Mark has since spent 15 years as a coaching assistant in the AFL. He was West Coast’s Stoppage and Opposition Analyst from 2003-‘07, under John Worsfold, and took over as a Sydney Assistant and Stoppage Coach under Paul Roos, from 2008-11.

He headed back to the West in 2012, when Fremantle snapped him up as an Assistant.

He held a variety of positions in his six years with the Dockers, including midfield, forward-line and stoppage coach, and was one of Ross Lyon’s longest-serving off-siders. But he felt it was time to explore other options, and he informed Freo last week that he’d be leaving when his contract expired in October.

With his vast experience in all aspects of coaching, he’s is sure to be sought after as an Assistant in the AFL system.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Dean’s career, whilst not following the same trajectory as that of his elder brother, has also had a few whistle-stops.

After leaving the Junior League, he headed to Milawa for a season, before Wangaratta enticed him to his spiritual home. His re-location to the Border in his job with Reece Plumbing, saw him reunited with a good mate Dean Harding, at Wodonga, His next move was to Wagga Tigers, where he and Mark savoured successive flags.

Dean was lured out to powerful Farrer League club, The Rock-Yerong Creek, where he won a B & F and sampled his initial ‘baptism of fire’ as a playing-coach.

He played some great footy on his return to Wodonga, and shared the 1994 Best and Fairest with Jason McInnes. Unfortunately, after 57 games with the ‘Dogs, a damaged knee prematurely put paid to his playing career.

He remained involved in football for years as an Assistant at Wodonga, then, after accepting a job back in his home town, as a rep for C.U.B, led Wangaratta Thirds to a flag in 2015.

The Magpies, aiming to break a six-year finals drought in 2017, handed the coaching responsibility to this well-travelled football ‘nut’.

He has them well-placed. Club insiders are impressed that his thorough match-preparation and solid relationship with the playing group have been important facets of their run to the finals.

If they continue on, spare a thought for an 85 year-old fellah who’ll be riding every kick and bump, and scrutinising every coaching move…………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LEGACY OF THE GENTLEMAN JOCKEY…..

They called Maurie Gray the ‘Gentleman Jockey’.

And that’s a fair assessment of a champion ‘hoop’ who was to establish a reputation for honesty, sincerity and superb horsemanship in a career that spanned almost three decades.

Gray was born in Wagga and rode more than 1,200 winners on North-Eastern, Southern Riverina and city tracks. He smashed just about every riding record in the book.

He often joked that his first ride was on a chair at the family home, at the age of two.

Four years later he was plonked on the back of a stable pony, and from then on became entranced by the racing game.

Maurie haunted the stables which were situated nearby. It was only natural that horses would be his life.

‘Jock’, or ‘Dan’, as he was nicknamed, re-located to Wangaratta in 1931 to complete his apprenticeship under the guidance of the legendary trainer H.F.’Tib’ Hoysted.

It was the commencement of a long and fruitful association with the Hoysted family, as he took over as the leading rider for the stable from the time ‘increasing weight forced ‘Tib’s’ son Hal from the saddle.

Although he was essentially a freelance jockey, he rode the bulk of the trackwork for Hal over the years, and, in effect, was part of the Hoysted household. The Gray-Hoysted partnership was to become one of the most formidable in country racing.

Maurie resisted repeated offers to re-locate to the city and was content with life in Wangaratta. He regarded it as the ideal spot for he and his wife Dot to bring up their four boys, Brian, Dennis, John and Neville.

He was a natural lightweight, tipping the scales at around 7.5 stone, and was always in peak condition. Ballooning weight, the bane of many jockeys, was never a problem and he could tuck into a decent meal and enjoy a quiet beer whilst scarcely adding an ounce to his wiry frame.

It enabled him to pilot many of the district’s finest horses. But there’s no doubt his favourite was Golden Doubles. The sprint star was locally-owned and was good enough to win weight-for-age races in Melbourne, including successive William Reid Stakes and a C.F.Orr Stakes.

Maurie was privately chuffed about his achievement in 1944, when he ‘rode the card’ at an Albury meeting.

His success in three Corowa Cups, a Wangaratta and two Benalla Cups, paled behind his greatest thrill in racing, when he returned to his home-town to take out the Wagga Gold Cup.

The inherent danger of his occupation was chillingly displayed on a mid-autumn day in 1957.

Maurie was riding a handy galloper, Bold Silhouette, in the Albury Gold Cup. In a split second, three horses were down, with their riders laying motionless on the track, as doctors and ambulance men attended to them. All three were unconscious when admitted to the Albury Base Hospital.

Doug Barclay died within a few hours from a fractured neck and skull. Maurie Gray passed away 48 hours later and the third jockey, Ivan Spalding, was the only survivor.

The late Hal Hoysted never forgot the race that claimed his good mate.

“Maurie Gray was the best bloke you would ever meet. It was impossible not to like him. To this day I still shudder every time I see a race fall,” Hal said in an interview forty years later.

Hal trained three Gold Cup winners after that fateful day, but recalled that they were all tinged with sadness.

Maurie’s wife Dot, had encouraged her boys to take up other sports, in the vain hope that their passion for riding would dissipate.

“She really had no hope,” said Johnny when I caught up with him the other day.

“We were all at Champagnat College when Dad’s accident happened, but we couldn’t wait to finish school and follow in his footsteps.”

The youngest of the quartet, Neville (Spider) was just 22 when he died of cancer.

But by the early sixties Dennis had been joined by John, as an apprentice jockey, indentured to Hal Hoysted.

“I’d retired at the age of 21. I loved riding, but increasing weight just got the better of me,” says John. “I was really too heavy when I started, but at least it lasted for 5 years.”

Johnny established a fine reputation during his brief career. He rode 103 winners, including two Albury St.Pat’s Cups and a win at Moonee Valley.

Bullara, the gelding which took him to those Cup wins of 1963 and ’64, was his best-ever, he reckons. But he also has a soft spot for Glen Star, on which he later won a race at Pakenham.

By late 1963 Dennis was the district’s leading apprentice and was attracting keen interest from Melbourne trainers. They detected an uncanny resemblance in his riding style to that of his father.

He transferred to Caulfield trainer Basil Conaghan in 1965, but his was to be a brief stay in the ‘big smoke’. He was back in Wangaratta the next year and continued to dominate the jockey’s table.

Dennis won four successive premierships and had his share of success in his occasional forays on city tracks.

He had a strong connection to the Jimmy Hoysted-trained French Poet, on which he won nine successive races.

The biggest of these was on Melbourne Cup Day in 1971, when he steered the gelding to victory in the Railway Highweight.

Eventually, after 14 years, the strain of wasting brought an end to Dennis Gray’s career in the saddle. He rode his last race at Wangaratta in 1976, when he won on the appropriately-named Endall.

Three months later, Endall saluted again at Werribee – this time with Dennis as its trainer.

The transition to his new role was seamless. Armed with an innate knowledge of the craft, and having learned from some of the best in the business, he went on to become one of the leading trainers in the area.

When cancer claimed the life of Dennis Gray just over six years ago, he was lauded as a master craftsman in both spheres of racing.

He had added another layer to the fascinating story of a highly-respected Wangaratta sporting family……….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RACING’S HORSEY HOYSTEDS

“The Racing Game…… It is the sport of uncertainty. It throws up champions and duffers, aristocrats and vagabonds. It is a magnet for those who parade and those who punt.

But it is mainly about hope. Hoping horses will fulfil dreams, and hoping that you are on them when they do…….”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

When you mention Wangaratta’s rich thoroughbred racing history, the name Hoysted inevitably crops up in conversation.

And why not ? For more than 150 years, from the time Harry Hoysted set up his stables in Grey Street, six generations of the famous clan carried on a remarkable sporting dynasty.

As trainers, jockeys, bookmakers, even race-callers….they did the lot.

Two of Harry’s sons – Fred (‘Father’) and Henry (‘Tib’), inherited the stables when he died in 1906. They got along famously until they had a disagreement at the Albury races in 1926, after Fred’s horse, Rakwool, beat the odds-on favourite, trained by ‘Tib’.

Fred moved to Melbourne, where he trained from his stables at Mentone for 39 years. His training establishment became the largest in Australia during the fifties. He won 17 Metropolitan trainers’ premierships. Probably the best horse to come through his hands was the mighty Rising Fast, with which he won a Caulfield Cup and finished second in a Melbourne Cup.

‘Tib’, meanwhile, remained a powerhouse in the country, with an occasional foray to city tracks. One of the finest moments of FullSizeRenderhis 50 years as a trainer, came at the Albury Gold Cup meeting in 1946, when he won 5 of the 6 races on the program. His son Hal won the other.

Hal Hoysted had always worked in his father’s stables, originally riding as an amateur before becoming an apprentice.

In less than three years he rode 112 winners, but increasing weight forced his retirement.

At the age of 84, in 1996, after more than 50 years as probably the best-known country trainer around, he finally handed in his licence. He had trained thousands of winners, including nine Wangaratta Cups, five Albury Gold Cups, and boasted 25 NEDRA trainers’ premierships.

Hal trained horses of the calibre of Aly Khan, Epsom Boy, Caesar’s Right and Gold Lad, which once won 13 races in succession.

But his best was Golden Doubles, which won successive William Reid Stakes and had many other wins along the way.

Hal’s son Roger was, naturally, destined to train. He worked at the Scott Street stables before and after school, then headed to Queensland for a couple of years. He worked for Tommy Smith and Bart Cummings, but received a letter from his Dad, asking him to come home to be his stable foreman.

Soon after that he gained his licence. His first city winner was Tiger Bolt, at Moonee Valley in 1974, but he trained a series of good horses. The pick of them was undoubtedly Lad of the Manor, which won 13 races, $1.6 million in prize money and was desperately unlucky in three consecutive Cox Plates.

He was preparing Lad of the Manor for another ‘Valley’ race when he succumbed to the cancer that had challenged him for almost 10 years. They said that the excitement of training ‘The Lad’ had prolongued Roger’s life and FullSizeRendergiven him a reason to go on.

Weight problems forced Jimmy Hoysted, Hal’s cousin, out of the saddle, after he had enjoyed a successful apprenticeship as a jockey.

“I shot up to eight stone. And if you were eight stone then, you were too damned heavy,” he once reflected. ” It was the depression and there were very few fat people around in those tough days. There were 10 to 15 fellows camped under every bridge.”

Jim was a classy footballer and roved in Wangaratta’s 1946 premiership side, under the coaching of Laurie Nash, before finally taking out a trainer’s licence in 1950. He eventually bought some land in Rowan Street and built a large stable complex to house his increasing team.

He focused on the North-East as his hunting ground and prepared a number of top horses. The best of these was Fuel, which he bought as a yearling for a local butcher, Harold Hahne.

It was estimated that there have been more than 30 trainers bearing the Hoysted name throughout the years.

I love the story of Des Hoysted, who was the son of champion Wangaratta jockey and trainer, Wally.

Legend has it that Des, who was racing-mad, would sit on the fence of the Grey Street stables and call imaginary races, as sticks that he had painted in racing colours flowed down the rain-filled gutter.

In the mid-thirties his uncle Fred trained a top galloper called Valiant Chief, which became Des’s favourite. Much to his delight, Valiant Chief came to Wangaratta to be the resident stallion at the Hoysted property.

“I used to ride him all the time”, Des once recalled. “When I came home from school at St.Pat’s, I would coax him over to the fence, climb up on the rails and jump on his back.”

“I’d then do phantom calls. I’d have Valiant Chief competing against the champions of the day. And, of course, he’d always win. At the same time I’d draw my knees up and put my hands on the side of his neck, as if I was riding him to victory. You know, the old bloke never turned a hair. Maybe he got a thrill out of ‘winning himself’.”

At 14, when he was old enough to leave school, he got a job with the P.M.G, then at 16, was shifted to Melbourne. He was in his element among the racing atmosphere. He continued to practice his race-calling and remembering horses’ and jockeys names became a fad of his.

The Christmas holidays of 1948 saw Des get his big chance. His cousin Henry, who was the course broadcaster at Wodonga, fell ill and Hal, another cousin, asked him if he’d like to have a crack at it.

He got a loan of Hal’s binoculars, called the whole program, and was on his way.

Hearing of his successful debut, A.B.C chief Mel Morris offered him a job as understudy to the renowned caller, Joe Brown.

Des was later to join Sydney’s 2GB and 2UE in a calling career which spanned 37 years and included the coverage of 32 Melbourne Cups.

Des’s exceptional recall of horses, jockeys, trainers and great races earned him the reputation as a ‘walking encyclopaedia of racing’. His name is still thrown up when experts recount the greatest race-callers of all-time.

The Hoysted tradition still continues, with Paul, the grandson of a fine trainer, Mick, and the son of another trainer, Michael, doing excellent work as the General Manager of the Wangaratta and Benalla Race clubs.

FullSizeRenderIt’s difficult to imagine another Australian family having had such a profound influence on their sport as the ‘Horsey Hoysteds’.