The Pit Horse Derbies

Extracts from the Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder

Pit Horse Derby

All the collieries that ran a horse in last year's Pit Horse Derby have again entered this year, and a field of 17 will face the barrier. They will be run in four heats and a final. As usual the finalists will be ridden by leading jockeys of the Commonwealth.

Bob Smith is making a special trip to Sydney tomorrow — no, not to see the Ep som — just to engage the jockeys for the greatest horse race ever put on in the Southern Hemisphere.

IN THE PAST the owners have named their own horses , and supplied the breeding. You remember some of the pedigrees last year. This year there will be a naming competition, among the boys who work in the mines. We feel sure that they will be able to name them better than the own ers. The winners of the competition will get a free pass to the Derby . In addition, they will also receive a free pass to Rotarian Max Redman's services for twelve months. Address all names to Bill Brown. Cessnock (endorsed ' Pit Horse Derby ').  

The premier turf sleuth of the North. Bobby Pearce, has again been engaged, to keep us posted on the form of the candidates. The form will be given later. Owing to petrol restrictions. Bobbie will use the listening device of the V.D.C, as he can tell from the hoof  beats how they are going. Each week the gallops will be recorded and handed on.

Pit Horse Derby. (1944, October 13). The Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder (NSW : 1913 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved May 11, 2013, from

Pit Horse Derby

Entries have been received from the following collieries: Seven from the J. and A. Brown Group, Millfield-Greta Maitland Main, Kalingo, Bellbird, Neath, Aberdare, Aberdare Extended, Aberdare Central, Neath No. 2 — practically all the mines on the field.

Reports from the managers of several collieries reveal that there are more good things in the Derby this year than ever. Looking over some of the candidates, our turf expert informs us that he reckons the buyers attended the bloodstock sales instead of the draught section.

A special Cup is being brought from abroad for this year's event. This Cup is nobody knows how old. It has been handed down in a direct line through the Lett family since the days of King Solomon. By the appearance of the Cup it has been used for other purposes than horse racing.

Owing to the change in the weather, the trainers have gone very slow, with their charges this week. A shortage lias caused a boil over at Neath, last year's runner developing a heavy cold. However, 'Blue' Purcell has his eye on this.

The only gallop of any consequence this week, according to the listening device, was one by the Freeman's Tunnel entry, who ran away with Smithy along the Blue Gum road. No time was recorded.

The distance this year will be slightly longer — about two furlongs. This will give the stayers a much better chance.

Bob Smith has all the arrangements in hand for the champion jockeys to ride the finalists. He made a special trip last Saturday, but was so busy backing winners that he forgot all about the boys. Another trip is indicated. The boys (who are not too proud to drink a drop of good beer) demand that he make the trip through the week, and not on a hot Saturday.

Pit Horse Derby. (1944, October 20). The Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder (NSW : 1913 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved May 11, 2013, from

Report of the 1944 Derby (PDF)

Mentions the fact that top Sydney jockeys such as Jack O'Sullivan, George Moore, Jack Thompson and Harold Darke rode in the Derby.

Coalfields Pit Horse Derby Won by Contented. (1944, November 21). The Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder (NSW : 1913 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved May 11, 2013, from


(By Chas Smith)

One of the most popular topics around Kurrl Kurri these days is the Pit Horse Derby and who is going to be the champion jockey.

Fifty six applications have been received from business men wishing to ride in the race. The Committee will select the best from those still alive and physically able on the night of the race.

Noel Benjamin is having difficulty in getting his mount to understand him. When he says, 'Come on guy, let's have some gol darn speed,' the horse takes no notice. He will have to learn the pit lingo to do any good.

Dr. Johnny Tonkin, Government Medical Officer, will have to give away the Government 'stroke' or the race will be over before he gets started. When asked if riding in front of a bumper crowd would affect him; Senior Constable Claude Dimmock said, ''Not at all, I've had 'bumper' experience before.'  

Miss Jean Kimble, who does the dope tests for the A.J.C. was in town at the week-end and after the 'Jocks' had completed their trials, was heard to say she hadn't seen such a variety of 'dopes' in all her career. It was a bit doubtful whether she was re ferring to the horses or the jockeys, but it must be remembered that horses are regarded as very intelligent.

Vic Prance is now being called 'Spearby.' Every time the horse stops, he spears by its ears. Bookmakers, 'Rugged Robert' and 'Moneybags' Field have 'Redex' a hot pot as he is the 'good- oil.' However, Doc Hellestrand says he has a mixture that will eliminate the Red and just leave him Ex.

The horses are hoping that Dr. Harrison will soon decide on one riding position. So far he has been from tail to ears and back again each gallop. Things must be getting tough for the medicos around are discarding their 32 horse power jobs and are now using one horse power for their rounds.

Store Manager, Bill Robinson, may be a surprise packet. He is not going to use an ordinary whip in the race. He says he will use one of his many 'branches.'

Publican Col Braye claims he will be a certainty if he can get a barrel chested horse as he has been practising on a 44.

The Catching the greasy pig event is being taken very seriously. Butcher Joe Scott was timer to catch one in a 10 feet square pen recently in 25 minutes. But Joe is barred as he is a prof.

Favourite for the event, Rees Duncan, has decided to with draw from the event because at practice last week four keen contestants dived on him. Anyone intending to enter the obstacle race and catching the greasy pig should come dressed for the events as they arc going to be mighty tough.

PIT HORSE DERBY NOTES. (1954, August 13). The Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder (NSW : 1913 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved May 11, 2013, from

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