Wayne Harris made Muswellbrook race club life member

Wayne Harris the highly respected horseman robbed of a long career as a leading Australian jockey because of ill heath, was presented with life membership of the Muswellbrook Race Club at their race meeting on December 1. A fine all round sportsman, Wayne grew up in Muswellbrook and started his riding career as an apprentice to long time local trainer Pat Farrell.

At the same time he received assistance from former international jockey Hilton Cope. Hilton had the Kelvinside breeding and agistment farm along the Hunter River near Aberdeen. It now belongs to Darley.

Wayne made such an impression as a strong, intelligent rider, he rode in three successive Golden Slippers as an apprentice, winning on the Bart Cummings trained equal favourite Century Miss in 1979, finishing third for Colin Hayes on Baglaga Miss in 1980 and a close second on the Pat Farrell prepared Food for Love in 1981.

As a fully fleged jockey Harris placed in two more Slippers, finishing second in1989 on Paris Opera and third in1991 on Big Dreams. His biggest success, however, was victory on the David Hayes trained imported stayer Jeune in the 1994 Melbourne Cup. All told in a career of just over 20 years of riding he managed over 2000 winners.

On another occasion, the day after his win on Century Miss in the Golden Slipper, he gave a fine display of horsemanship when legged up on the big, awesome looking grey stallion Raffindale at an open day at Thoroughbred International (now Emirates Park) at Murrurundi. It was the first time the imported winner in Australian record time of the Epsom Handicap had anyone on his back since he retired from racing and he reared high in the air.

Another former Pat Farrell apprentice who has gone on to be a prominent jockey has been Darryl “Digger” McClellan, while currently attached to the stable is Tim McIntosh. Like Harris, a Muswellbrook product, Tim since August 1 has been on loan to Mark Mason at Tamworth and had ridden 18 winners to the end of the first week of December. He is second top jockey behind another Tamworth apprentice, Timothy Bell, for the Hunter and North Western NSW . It does not include Newcastle.

Tim McIntosh’s mother Christine is a niece of Pat Farrell and does a lot of the horse work at his stables across the road from Muswellbrook’s Skellatar racecourse. It is one of the most professional country training centers in NSW, catering for over 100 horses and other trainers of consequence, including Mack Griffith, Jeff Englebrecht, Stephen Gleeson, Justin Drake, Marcus Wilson and Jan Bowen.