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Wondai’s Winter Warm-Up Looks Fine

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Wondai Jockey Club 1927

One of the earliest known photos of the Wondai Jockey Club committee, taken in 1927. Lewis Duff is right-most in the back row (Photo: Cedric Duff Collection)

Gunsynd's GossipJuly 5, 2018

by Ross Stanley

On a July day with a maximum temperature expected to exceed 20 degrees, the South Burnett Race Club’s Winter Wonderland meeting on Saturday is honouring present and past figures.

Roy Radunz, the club’s patron and former long-serving administrator, will have a tired right hand come sunset because he will have to handle many congratulatory handshakes during the day.

His Order of Australia Medal award is being recognised in the naming of the Benchmark 65 Handicap.

It would be fitting if that contest is taken out by a horse that is prepared at the course.

Liverpool Jane, unbeaten in her four Wondai assignments, certainly fits the bill.

Lewis Duff, an office bearer and owner-trainer of a bygone era, and his son Neal will also be remembered with the running of the Open Handicap and the Class B Handicap, respectively.

The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre notes that “Lewis Duff was born at Merrits Creek near Toowoomba on April 3, 1899 and passed away in 1961.

“His father had worked for James Tyson as a teamster taking boring plants out from Longreach to drill for artesian water.

“He then came back in to Coalbank to start a dairy farm and was the first supplier to the Crows Nest factory.

“In 1910 the family took up a selection of Burrandowan Station in the South Burnett and set off with all their cattle and horses to their new home, which they called Duffield.

“They ran a fair mob of cattle there in those early days.

“In this district between the Stuart and Boyne Rivers, the rivers and creek were sand bedded, and in the dry part of the year they learned the art of sand troughing to provide stock water.

“Lewis married Elizabeth Ryan at Maryborough on September 30, 1918. Their residences were at Coalbank between Cooyar and Crow’s Nest (1899-1910), Duffield (1910-1943), Warranilla, Rolleston (1943-1945), Glen Eden, Stanthorpe (1945-1947) and Glencoe near Proston (1947-1961).”

* * *

Lewis Duff

Lewis Duff with his horse LeeGuard, the winner of the 1927 Wondai Handicap
(Photo: Cedric Duff Collection)

Lewis and Elizabeth’s children were Kathleen, Maureen, Kevin, Neal, Stephanie and the twins Cedric and Patrick.

Peter Ryan, the timekeeper at Wondai, is their cousin.

Elizabeth was involved with Iruklam, the chestnut by Ajax’s son Achilles that collected the 1963 BATC Summer Cup, was runner-up in the 1961 Queensland Derby and flashed home for fourth in a Stradbroke Handicap.

Pat’s first success as a trainer was with Lady O’Stars at Wondai.

Another early winner was Gael Bay, which was raced by Joe Ryan and Elizabeth Duff.

Papilloma, a $200 buy that saluted 20 times, was a real pin-up and money spinner for Duff.

The exception was when Midsummer’s head denied the 66/1 to 14/1 firmer in a Bundamba Sixth Division Handicap.

Alas, the first horse returned a positive swab and was disqualified!

Our Cavalier, Handsome Prince, El Akbar, Bay Legend, Star of Florida,Hard Case, Scomeld (briefly), Hard To Catch, Heart Of The Citi, Power Arrow, Prince of Rory and Lord Medes and apprentices such as Michael Pelling, Jim Byrne and Mick Dittman are some of the industry participants that Pat put the polish on.

Cedric, a family history enthusiast, was a talented trainer in his own right at Toowoomba and remains a keen supporter of Burnett racing.

* * *

Hoofnote: Sometimes it is fun to back an omen. With Wimbledon under way, Pat Kash, a son of Patapan and Kashaan, in the Hams Crane Hire BM 50 Handicap may get the strawberries and cream. After the Australian won the Gentlemen’s Singles in 1987, he famously scaled the stand to celebrate with his entourage. Hams Crane Hire kindly help Jeff Bryant, the video cameraman at Wondai, rise to the right dizzy height. A catch could be that the six-year-old would prefer to perform on grass.

It’s also worth noting that 25 acceptors for the card that kicks off at 1:45pm are yet to start at Wondai. The ones with a disclosed liking for the circuit are Liverpool Jane, Clouds, Canid and Monte Lago.

Good luck!


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