John Day at the opening of the racing carnival collection at the Rockhampton Art Gallery yesterday.
John Day at the opening of the racing carnival collection at the Rockhampton Art Gallery yesterday. Chris Ison Rokcgallery

Exciting history comes to life

WHEN jockey Jack Smith found out he was disqualified from racing at Callaghan Park for six months in September 1900, he shot RJC committee member Mr John Henderson in the stomach.

This was just one of the many exciting and interesting snippets of Callaghan Park racing history in Rockhampton at the 1888 Melbourne Cup Racing Exhibition launch yesterday.

That story, written by Hugh MacMaster in his book Mostly Murder was one of John Day's favourites, as he told it with a laugh yesterday at the exhibition's launch, claiming Callaghan Park's history was filled with quirky tales.

“Another one of my favourites is the race between a car and a plane on the Callaghan Park race track where thousands came to watch on June 4, 1912,” Mr Day said.

“The story of the two horses, Bay Hart and Sir Ross on the September 9 1922, who ran a dead-heat and then in two deciders also dead-heated, is also a great one because that's a very rare occurrence.”

His passion for the sport, making him a well-known local racing identity led him to help create what was on show, including a wonderful display racing memorabilia, and significant Australian paintings from the Rockhampton Jockey Club and Rockhampton Art Gallery collections.

Mr Day said his research was also compiled of old articles written by The Morning Bulletin. “I like putting on things like this because it brings it to the attention of the community to show what great racing history we have right here in Rockhampton.”

The exhibition is on while the XXXX Gold Winter Racing Carnival at Callaghan Park is happening this month.

 



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