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 !