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At The Winners’ Side

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Nanango's Clerk Of The Course Wayne Hancock (right) escorts the 2016 Fitzroy Hotel Nanango Cup winners Tampere and Jason Hoopert from the track (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's GossipFebruary 11, 2018

by Ross Stanley

Wayne Hancock was nearly sixteen when he first rode his grey horse Stork out to the track to serve as clerk of the course for the Nanango Race Club.

President John Lee and Bobby Greaves approached him about the task which he has performed successfully and loyally for a few years shy of four decades.

His later partners included Jessie and Birdwatcher, a retired racehorse trained by Glenda Richardson.

Hancock, a long time employee at Swickers Bacon Factory at Kingaroy, is also a redcoat at Kumbia and Wondai.

He also finds the time to be the farrier at some South Burnett racetracks and Kilcoy, Bell and Warra.

“Norm Kruger, Col Ryan and Vince Collins were Nanango’s clerks who helped my in the early stages,” said Wayne.

“I have only missed one or two Nanango days.

“Kerry Mercer, Brian Patterson and my brother Leslie are also members of the team.”

Hancock and his colleagues have a job of extremes.

The challenge comes when the thoroughbreds misbehave, particularly when there is a runaway.

The joyful moments are when they escort a winning horse and rider back to the enclosure.

A very special occasion transpired on Melbourne Cup Day at Kumbia in 2015.

“Glenn Richardson put a syndicate together to try and win the first Jim Lenihan Memorial.

“He gave me a share in Lucks In because of my shoeing work for his stable and his mother’s before that,” he said.

The outcome was akin to a fairytale.

Hancock had the ultimate pleasure of bringing the Bradbury’s Luck gelding and his jockey Hannah English back to the elated owners that included Jim’s brother Brian.

Wayne and his wife Francine, who is a raceday swabbing assistant, have had other ownership ventures, particularly with Jason Livingstone and his father Ian.

The latter puts the polish on Effective Assassin, a winner of an Ipswich maiden.

Hancock, 53, is one of a host of Nanango Race Club stalwarts who are looking forward to the Golden Anniversary program on Easter Saturday, March 31.

Hoofnote: Wayne Hancock sure is multi-skilled. The chat for the above snippet took place per phone when he was on horseback, mustering cattle. Fortunately there were no runaways !

* * *

John Lee, Nanango Race Club's President for 39 years, officially retired from the job in 2015; his contribution to racing in the South Burnett has been remarkable (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Bits And Bridles

  • Best wishes to John Lee who is home again after a lengthy stint in a Toowoomba hospital.
  • Hannah English has had a good week. She booted home Fatz for Bob Mahon at Ipswich on Wednesday and backed up two days later with a victory on the Kevin Kemp trained Door Drooper at Toowoomba. At Doomben on Saturday, she was unplaced on Mrranji, a 100/1 shot prepared by her master Glenn Richardson. She fared better there for Pat Duff when fourth of 12, beaten just over two lengths on Overlap ($101) after leading.
  • Nanango’s upcoming February 24 fixture will offer patrons an early viewing of the historical display that will be a feature of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. The old railway building which was the hub facility on 20 April 1968 will be the gallery’s home.
  • At Miles on Saturday, Bevan Johnson landed the trifecta in the $9,000 Murilla Cup. His charges, namely Fab’s Cowboy, Man of Destiny and Thin Disguise did the right thing by punters. The stablemates finished in the order of betting popularity.

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