Daily Thoroughbred News
<< Back to News
<< Back
Oliver and Hayes join racing greats in Hall Of Fame
26 Aug 2008 | Racing Victoria Ltd 

Champion jockey Damien Oliver and one of the world’s leading trainers, David Hayes, on Tuesday were announced as 2008 inductees into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

The six-time Scobie Breasley Medallist and seven-time Melbourne metropolitan premiership winning trainer were among seven racing icons announced. They join champion gallopers Tranquil Star and Wenona Girl, legendary trainer Bob Hoysted AM, jockey Frank Dempsey and associate Percy Miller.

All will be officially inducted next Monday night, 1 September at the Australian Racehorse of the Year & Hall of Fame presented by Sky Channel, to be held in the Palladium at Crown in Melbourne.

Oliver’s induction caps a remarkable career, which in addition to his 1995 Melbourne Cup win on Doriemus and unforgettable 2002 Cup win on Media Puzzle, has netted four Caulfield Cups, two Cox Plates and seven Melbourne metropolitan jockeys premierships (twice as an apprentice).

He has so far won a total of 78 Group 1 races and has overcome the tragedy of losing his father Ray and brother Jason as a result of falls.

Hayes joins his father Colin in the Hall of Fame, an inaugural inductee in 2001.

David took over the reins at the world famous Lindsay Park in the Barossa Valley following Colin’s retirement at the end of the 1989-90 season. He immediately made his mark, winning the 1990 Cox Plate with Better Loosen Up, setting a world record of six Group race winners in a day on Derby Day and winning the Japan Cup with Better Loosen Up.

Hayes won every Melbourne and Adelaide trainer’s premiership until the end of the 1994-95 season before moving to Hong Kong, where he trained 458 winners and won two trainer’s titles.

Since his return to Australia in 2005 Hayes has re-established himself as the nation’s premier trainer winning the past two Melbourne trainer’s premierships and a host of Group 1 races, including the past three Blue Diamond Stakes.

Tranquil Star and Wenona Girl are among the greatest mares ever to race in Australia.

Tranquil Star started an amazing 111 times and as a five-year-old won the Caulfield Stakes, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes. Wenona Girl was one of Australia’s all-time great sprinters, winning among a host of feature races, two Lightning Stakes. But she also showed her versatility by winning the AJC Oaks.

A fifth generation trainer, Bob Hoysted prepared many champions but none greater than Hall of Fame member Manikato. Manikato remains perhaps the greatest sprinter Australia has ever seen. Hoysted also enjoyed great success with stars such as River Rough, Rose Of Kingston and 1990 Caulfield Cup winner Sydeston. He was also the President of the Australian Trainers Association for 12 years.

Frank Dempsey was a champion jockey who won three Caulfield Cups, including his first in 1915 at the age of 16. He won the Victorian jockeys premiership five times and also rode with success in England before retiring in 1930 and becoming the official starter of the VATC and MVRC.

Percy Miller was a breeding pioneer in Australia, establishing Kia-Ora Stud in 1914.

Kia-Ora produced 1925 Melbourne Cup winner Windbag and stood champion stallions Midstream and Delville Wood, horses which produced champions such as Hall of Fame galloper Shannon, VRC Derby & Cox Plate winner Hydrogen, and Melbourne Cup winners Delta and Evening Peal.

Full profiles:



For seven seasons Tranquil Star was the ‘darling’ of the Victorian racing public. Starting in 111 races between 1939 and 1946, her form was unpredictable – in 18 of her races she was the beaten favourite – but her courage and her longevity won the affection of racegoers.

Bred at St Albans Stud near Geelong and trained by Ron Cameron, Tranquil Star first showed her real quality as a three-year-old with wins in the Edward Manifold, St George Stakes and VRC St Leger. In her only visit to Sydney, she took out the Chipping Norton Stakes and the Cumberland Plate. Her four-year-old season produced just two wins from 21 starts. But she came back with a vengeance as a five-year-old with six wins, including the Caulfield Stakes, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes.

At six-years of age Tranquil Star could manage only one win, and suffered a severe injury at her 78th start when she fell and fractured her jaw. Only her iron constitution and the patient attention of her trainer enabled her to survive. Returning to racing in the spring of 1944, she won her second Cox Plate and second Mackinnon Stakes. In her final season as an eightyear-old she won her third Mackinnon Stakes and the six furlong William Reid Stakes. At the end of her long and illustrious career Tranquil Star had amassed 23 wins, including what would be regarded as nine at Group 1 level.


A great sprinting mare, Wenona Girl also had the versatility to win up to a mile and a half.

In 1960, Wenona Girl won both the VRC and the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes and finished
second in the Golden Slipper Stakes. In the spring, she took out the Hobartville Stakes and Rosehill Guineas in Sydney, and the Thousand Guineas and Wakeful Stakes in Melbourne.
In the VRC Oaks she could only manage third, but the following Autumn she won the AJC Oaks. In 1962, she won the C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield and in 1963 a succession of major races – the George Main and Gloaming Stakes in Sydney, the Lightning Stakes, Futurity Stakes, Linlithgow Stakes and George Adams Handicap in Melbourne.

She was still a major force at six, winning her second Lightning Stakes and the AJC All Aged Stakes, before being retired to stud.


Percy Miller was a successful businessman and a hobby breeder. In 1914, with half a dozen mares, he decided to try commercial thoroughbred production and purchased the cattle property Kia-Ora from the established Segenhoe Stud, just east of Scone.

With manager Bert Riddle he set about developing Kia-Ora as a fully operational horse stud and by 1917 was able to offer two yearlings at the Sydney Easter Sales; the start of a sustained and most remarkable breeding record.

In the same year a horse called Magpie ran second in the English 2000 Guineas and eventually came to Australia where he was acquired as a stallion by Percy Miller.

Over the next decade Magpie became one of Australia’s leading sires producing many feature race winners at Kia-Ora including Windbag, Amounis and Talking. This became the pattern at Kia-Ora with a succession of successful sires standing at the stud farm.

Most notable of these were Midstream and Delville Wood who also became premiership winning sires and produced such champions as Shannon, Delta, Hydrogen and Evening Peal.

They were to leave a legacy in a superb brand of broodmares, but what was most remarkable about the record of Kia-Ora was the high percentage of winners that came off the property and the huge numbers of well grown yearlings that were sold off the stud.

This number peaked with 105 offered at the 1941 Sydney Easter Sales, taking the total of yearlings presented for sale between 1917 and 1949 to 2,862.

Bert Riddle was the manager through all these years but on his death in 1952, four years after Percy Miller, the stud was cut back by the family and finally dispersed in May 1959.


Bob Hoysted belongs to one of Australia’s best known racing families. Hoysted began his career working for his illustrious father, trainer Fred Hoysted, before branching out on his own as a public trainer in 1956. He prepared many fine horses during the succeeding 20 years but none better than the great Manikato.

In 1978, Hoysted took over the training of Manikato after the death of his brother Bon.

Over the next five seasons, Manikato won five William Reid Stakes, the Marlboro Cup, Caulfield Guineas, three C.F. Orr Stakes, four Futurity Stakes, two George Ryder Stakes, the Doomben 10,000, and the Queen Elizabeth Cup at Caulfield in the presence of the Queen in 1981.

Other outstanding horses trained by Hoysted were River Rough, which won two Pure Pak (now Salinger) Stakes and two Lightning Stakes; Rose of Kingston, winner of the AJC Champagne Stakes, VRC Oaks, AJC Derby and SAJC Derby; VRC Oaks winner, Spirit of Kingston; Blue Diamond Stakes winners Aare and Love A Show; as well as Sydeston, winner of the Caulfield Cup, Moonee Valley Cup and Sandown Cup.

Hoysted also made an outstanding contribution to the racing industry as President of the Australian Trainers’ Association for 12 years.


Following the retirement of his legendary father Colin, David Hayes took over the training operation at Lindsay Park at the start of the 1990-91 season. During this season, David won the Cox Plate with Better Loosen Up, set a world record of six Group winners in a day at Flemington on Derby Day and then won the Japan Cup with Better Loosen Up a month later.

In 1994, he won the Melbourne Cup with imported galloper Jeune and by the end of the 1994- 95 season, Hayes had won every Melbourne and Adelaide metropolitan trainer’s premiership.

In 1996, he accepted an invitation to train in the world’s toughest racing environment, Hong Kong. He was an immediate success winning two trainer’s premierships and training 458 winners.

David returned to Australia in 2005 and became “King of the Kids” winning the world’s richest two year old race, the Golden Slipper, with Miss Finland and training three consecutive Blue Diamond Stakes quinellas. He added another Cox Plate with Fields of Omagh, a VRC Crown Oaks with Miss Finland and the 2007 Victoria Derby with Kibbutz.

David has also won the past two Melbourne metropolitan trainer’s premierships and in seven full seasons of training in Australia has won 53 Group 1 races.


In a riding career that extended 30 years, Frank Dempsey won the majority of Australia’s important races. He was widely regarded as a supreme stylist of his profession.

As an apprentice Dempsey had a remarkable record. In 1915, at the age of just 16, he won the Caulfield Cup on Lavendo.

In 1917, he won the Caulfield Cup again on Bronzetti. That same year he won the Memsie Stakes, Australian Cup, Gimcrack Stakes, Epsom Handicap, and Maribyrnong Plate. In 1920, he partnered Eurythmic, for a third Caulfield Cup win at the age of 21.

Dempsey was associated with many great horses. He rode Eurythmic in 20 of his wins, including the Futurity Stakes, Caulfield Cup and Sydney Cup. On champion filly Frances Tressady, he won the 1923 Victoria Derby - VRC Oaks double. On Whittier, he won the
Doncaster Handicap and a succession of weight-for-age races. And in 1925 he took the mount on the rogue horse, Manfred, winning the Cox Plate and Victoria Derby and running second to Windbag in the Melbourne Cup. He won the Victorian jockeys’ premiership five
times and rode with success in England, winning over 40 races during the 1926 season.

Dempsey retired from the saddle in 1939, and subsequently became the starter for the VATC and the MVRC.


Damien Oliver commenced his riding career in Western Australia in 1988 where he rode 66 winners on metropolitan and provincial tracks and was leading apprentice for the 1988/89 season. He then accepted an invitation to come to Melbourne for a three month trial period with trainer Lee Freedman – and remained indefinitely.

Under the guidance of Freedman, Oliver had a stellar apprenticeship, riding 478 winners.

His first Group 1 came with Submariner for Bart Cummings in the Show Day Cup in 1990. By the end of his apprenticeship in 1993, he had a record 18 Group 1s to his credit, including the Caulfield Cup on Mannerism. He won the Victorian Jockeys’ Premiership twice as an apprentice.

During the next decade Oliver established himself at the very peak of his profession. He added five more Victorian Jockeys’ Premierships to his tally, and won the Melbourne Cup twice, the Caulfield Cup four times, and the Cox Plate twice. His Group 1 wins now total 78, and he has been awarded the Scobie Breasley Medal for Victoria’s leading rider a record six times.

Oliver has also ridden overseas with distinction, particularly in Hong Kong.