News, Media & Events

This day in jumps racing history

01/05/2020

By John Adams

HARRY GREEN

There is no story specific to today, but there has been lots of feedback to date about the legendary jumping rider from the 1970’s through to the 1990’s.

Green was a unique character, who, despite his great skill and horsemanship, could not have existed in today’s era.

There are hundreds of H Green stories in existence ranging from the incident at a dinner hosted by Britain’s leading trainer at the time, Dave Nicholson, to stories of him being found asleep and hungover, in a vehicle at 11am on one of the days of the Warrnambool carnival, being thrown in the showers to sober up, disco dancing around the mounting yard, winning the opening event and being drunk again by 4 o’clock.

My favourite story relates to the first jumping race run at Rosehill in 1984, and the Sydney Turf Club requesting that the Friday evening cocktail party be held at 6pm, so the riders would get a good nights sleep. I advised them that a much later start would be recommended as we would know where the riders were, rather than turning them loose in Sydney at 8pm on a Friday night.

Green had the ride on Quobite, for Ernie Ewert (I think) quoted at about 6/1 the evening before.

He arrived at the function under the weather, and became drunker as the night went on, eventually laying his roving hands on a very well connected woman, and then falling over a balcony.

Leading bookmaker Domenic Beirne had a betting board set up, and upon seeing the condition Green was in, turned the horse out to 66/1.

He was besieged with Victorians wanting to get on, all saying Green rode best when he was like this.

The next day Green ran second to the favourite Brinkworth.

In David Moore’s article on Green in the 1988 AJRA Annual Journal, he recounts the story in a Tipperary hotel that hosted a function the night before one of the Ireland v Australia jump races.

“Whilst teammates Harnett, Shepherdson and Jennings were all made very welcome, it all became apparent that Harry Green was the man most of the racing folk had wanted to meet. “

“How old is he?, Is he really a New Zealand Maori? How does he get up in the morning to ride out, asked the many that had flocked to check out the famous Australian jockey that they heard so many weird and wonderful tales about”

Green had ridden for eight years in NZ, and came across to Australia with the Jack McGreal trained Tossa, who won the 1975 Great Southern Steeplechase at Mornington and later the Grand National Steeplechase in the same year.

Within a short time he got two years disqualification on Crimson Prince in a hurdle at Kilmore, a verdict many thought was flawed.

In the mid 1980’s he teamed up with Eric Musgrove, and they plundered races from Victoria Park to Sale, but the combination was virtually impregnable in the western Dist of Victoria and South-Eastern SA.

To keep Green sober, Musgrove used to stay on a rural property near Coleraine, where Green couldn’t get a drop of his demon drink, the day prior to a race.

Moore’s article also told this story “Green crushed three vertebrae from a fall from Nymphus at Moonee Valley.

He spent some time in St Vincents before being moved to a private hospital in Pakenham to recuperate.

Butch Londregan smuggled a few tinnies into his mates hospital room and after the pair polished them all off, they decided to adjourn to Green’s home for a few more.

When the duty nurse found the empty bed and a dozen cans strewn around the room, she called the police to try to locate her missing patient. A few hours later Green was escorted back into the ward, where he signed himself out”

This is Harry Green’s record:

  • Grand Annual Steeple 1977 Count Cobbler, 1985 Arabian Myth (Gary Canavan)
  • Great Eastern Steeple - 1988 River Amos for John Leek
  • M J Bourke Hurdle - Lunar Fox for Dave Perkinson
  • Von Doussa Steeplechase - 1986 Kosbar and 1987 Sing For Supper for Eric Musgrove
  • Moonee Valley Hurdle - 1975 Red Boy for Gary Lee
  • Moonee Valley Steeplechase- 1977 Aircon for Jack Winder
  • Crisp Steeplechase- 1980 Northam Park for Ian McKinlay
  • 1983 Cup Hurdle - Ohura Holiday for Gary Carson.
  • Green also rode the last winner of the ill-fated Canberra Hurdle winning it on Cobblers Boy for Arthur Hare in 1988.

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