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Inductees announced in Newcastle & Hunter Racing Hall of Fame

It was the night of nights for Newcastle and the Hunter’s racing fraternity as eight nominees were inducted into the inaugural Newcastle & Hunter Racing Hall of Fame on Wednesday 15 March at the newly named Newcastle Racecourse.

Over 150 people attended the Gala Dinner to celebrate with the 59 nominees across the four categories of associate, trainer, jockey and racehorse. Hall of Fame Chairman, Brian Judd said he was thrilled with the inaugural event that shone the light on the regions rich racing history and heritage.

“The awards have been launched to recognise the extraordinary contribution of these associates, trainers, jockeys and racehorses to the Newcastle and Hunter region or the wider Australian thoroughbred industry,” Mr. Judd said.

“Our eight inductees are all true champions and will have a permanent plaque dedicated to them in the soon to be designed ‘Hall of Fame Garden’ at Newcastle Racecourse,” he added.

Not only is this concept the brainchild of industry stalwart Gary Harley, but he remains a driving force in bringing it to life, and joined other selection panel members in presenting the awards to inductees.

The first inductees for the evening were Associates – Alf Ellison who imported the prolific stallion Star Kingdom to Australian in 1950, followed by Billy Hill who was a legendary race-caller and famously called every Newcastle Cup from 1937 to 1980.

History-making Paul Perry was present and proud to be announced as one of the two Trainers inducted, whilst accepting awards for both Trainer and Racehorse categories from Lees Racing were Vicki Lees and daughter Danielle Statham, on behalf of their late and legendary husband and father Max whilst John Wade accepted behalf of the connections of the immortal 2yo Luskin Star.

Famous hoops Robert Thompson and Wayne Harris were both present for their inclusion as the two jockeys in this stellar line-up and were very popular choices on the evening, whilst ‘Coalfields Champion’ horse Rogilla rounded out the inaugural eight on the strength of his feats in the 1930’s.

An official souvenir program has been produced and is available from Newcastle Racecourse or by emailing




  • A.O. (‘Alf’) ELLISON - Racehorse breeder - Imported Star Kingdom and stood the great stallion at his Baramul Stud.

  • ATHOL ALBERT “BILLY” HILL - Legendary race-caller Called every Newcastle Cup from 1937 to 1980


  • MAX LEES - Trainer – Broadmeadow. 20 Group 1 wins including: Two-Year-Old Triple Crown – Golden Slipper Stakes, Sires Produce Stakes, Champagne Stakes - with Luskin Star (1977); five Coolmore Classics with Satin Sand (1986), Quicksilver Cindy (1991), Flitter (1995), Chlorophyll (1996), Shindig (1998); George Main Stakes and Spring Champion Stakes (1992) with Coronation Day. Twice Runner-Up Sydney Trainers Premiership: 1992-93, 1993-94

  • PAUL PERRY - Trainer – Broadmeadow 11 Group 1 wins including: 1994 Epsom Handicap, Navy Seal; Oakleigh Plate, Dantelah (1999), Fastnet Rock 2005); 1998 Emirates Stakes, Bezeal Bay; 2003 Golden Jubilee Stakes, Choisir; 2005 Golden Slipper Stakes, Stratum; 2006 The Galaxy, Proprietor. First Australian trainer to win a Group 1 in Britain. Trainer of 3113 winners (and counting)


  • WAYNE HARRIS - Jockey – Muswellbrook 31 Group 1 wins both in Australia and overseas including: 1979 Golden Slipper Stakes, Century Miss; Champagne Stakes, True Version (1985), Select Prince (1989); 1990 Blue Diamond Stakes, Mahaasin; 1994 Caulfield Guineas, St Covet; 1994 Melbourne Cup, Jeune; 1995 VRC Newmarket, All Our Mob. First apprentice to win the Golden Slipper. 558 winners as an apprentice – a record which still stands.

  • ROBERT THOMPSON - Jockey – Cessnock 7 Group 1 wins: Romantic Dream, 1976 QTC Sires Produce Stakes and QTC Marlborough Stakes; Just A Steal, 1978 AJC Spring Champion Stakes; I Like Diamonds, 1982 Champagne Stakes; Sharscay, 1995 Canterbury Guineas; Heavenly Glow, 2008 Arrowfield Stud Stakes and Australian Oaks. Winner of 4265 races (and counting) – the most by any jockey in Australia. Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductee Awarded AM in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for ‘significant service to the thoroughbred racing industry as an ambassador, a champion rider, and mentor to apprentice jockeys’.


  • ROGILLA Chestnut gelding foaled 1927 By Roger de Busli out of Speargila (Brakespear) Career record: 73 starts: 26 wins (including 5 dead heats), 12 seconds, 11 thirds. Major wins: 1932 Caulfield Cup (12 furlongs), 1933 Sydney Cup (16f), 1933 and 1934 AJC Chelmsford Stakes (9f), 1933 W S Cox Plate (9.5f), 1933 Melbourne Stakes (10f – later the Mackinnon Stakes), 1935 AJC Chipping Norton Plate (10f).

  • LUSKIN STAR - Chestnut colt, foaled 1974 By Kaoru Star from Promising (Idomeneo) Career record: 17 starts, 13 wins, 3 seconds. Group 1 wins: Golden Slipper 1200m, Sires’ Produce 1400m, Champagne Stakes, QTC Sires Produce Stakes 1400m, QTC Marlboro Stakes 1600m, Caulfield Guineas 1600m, The Galaxy 1100m.

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