John Tapp interviews the people who make racing tick
Episode 286: Mikayla Weir
It’s unlikely there’s a busier jockey in Australia currently than Hunter Valley based Mikayla Weir. As this podcast is posted Mikayla has had 32 race rides on 8 different race tracks in 10 days. Just for practice she rode in 11 barrier trials at Scone last Wednesday. In an interview recorded on Good Friday she takes us through that horrendous schedule.
The young jockey logs enormous mileage to honour commitments in the North Eastern corner of the state. She explains how she comes to terms with the travelling.
Mikayla takes us back to early days on the South Coast and her introduction to rodeo.
She explains the fundamentals of some of her favourite rodeo pursuits.
Mikayla recalls the fateful day at a Cooma rodeo when she met her partner, professional rodeo star Jock Bone-Langdon.
The 27 year old looks back on her first racing stable job with Kembla trainer Kerry Parker. It was a year before Kerry allowed her to ride trackwork. She was “hooked” from the first moment.
Mikayla reflects on her successful application for an apprenticeship with Hunter Valley trainer Todd Howlett- an apprenticeship which only recently concluded.
The hard working jockey remembers her first race ride and the magical moment of her initial win.
Mikayla acknowledges some of the nice horses who’ve helped to lift her profile in recent times.
She makes special mention of her role model Kathy O’Hara, and expresses her gratitude to the trainers who’ve given her regular support.
The popular jockey talks of the support she receives from partner Jock who gives her the latitude to pursue her chosen career. Mikayla outlines the improvements she and Jock have made to their Jerry’s Plains property. She hints at a future as a trainer.
Episode 285: Bruce McHugh
I’ve had several requests over a period of time to organise a podcast with former high profile bookie Bruce McHugh. We actually did just that in August of 2019, but in those early days of the website many missed it. In the 1980’s this was the time of year when Bruce and Kerry Packer would go toe to toe at the big Randwick carnival. It’s an appropriate time to repost that podcast.
Bruce talks of his current interest in racing, and the thoroughbred stallion he stands commercially- the fashionably bred Arlington.
He shares memories of his grandfather Jim who arrived in Australia as a state ward in the late 19th century. Jim McHugh rode an Epsom winner. Bruce remembers him clearly.
Bruce shares wonderful memories of his late father Bill who died in 1999. He remembers his father’s tenuous start as a bookmaker at bush meetings and his elevation to the famous Randwick Flat Enclosure.
He admits he was a born gambler, the prime prerequisite for a future bookie.
Bruce talks fondly of his maternal grandmother Hilda who dabbled in a little bit of bookmaking outside the boundaries of the law.
He recalls a couple of early business enterprises and his low key start as a bookmaker.
Bruce remembers his admission to the Randwick Flat and his gradual transition to the St Leger interstate ring. He was promoted to the main interstate ring with the death of an older bookie. He remembers his main client of the era.
He recalls a chance meeting with Kerry Packer in the Rosehill interstate ring. The bookie next door refused a bet from the media magnate. Bruce accommodated him, and an amazing association began.
The Packer segment in this podcast is wonderful memorabilia. Bruce takes us through some high pressure afternoons with one of the world’s biggest punters. McHugh couldn’t be more frank.
Bruce looks back on the day Packer had a gigantic bet on Myocard in the Sydney Cup only to be beaten by a horse he half owned.
He looks back on 18 rewarding years on the Sydney Turf Club Board, three of those as Chairman. He talks of the AJC/STC merger.
Bruce talks about the massively expensive high court challenge he mounted against a ban on the use of artificial insemination in the thoroughbred industry.
Many theories have been advanced about Bruce’s sudden departure from the bookmaking ranks. He reveals why it was time to go.
This is a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a man who was a major player in the days when the betting ring had as much theatre as the racetrack itself.
Episode 284: Tim Clark
Great to catch up with one of Sydney’s most popular jockeys. Tim talks of his recent Coolmore Classic win on Queensland mare Krone- his 16th Gr 1 success.
Tim looks at his tremendous record with fillies and mares. He says he really hadn’t thought about it too much.
The jockey looks back on his country upbringing and his first apprenticeship to Peter Clancy in the Riverina.
Tim talks about the transfer of his indentures to John O’Shea at Randwick with whom he spent the last 18 months of his apprenticeship. He won the Sydney junior premiership in that season.
The jockey vividly recalls the circumstances that led to his first Gr 1 win.
Tim fondly remembers the wonderful mare Hot Danish who had to be put down in 2011 when she failed to respond to treatment for a massive hind leg infection. He remembers the exciting racing style of the daughter of Nothin’ Leica Dane.
He reflects on his favourite Gr 1 win- the 2011 Doncaster Mile on the noted mudlark Sacred Choice.
Following the passing of Hot Danish the jockey elected to take up a Hong Kong contract. He talks of two successful seasons in the mecca of great jockeys.
Tim remembers Avoid Lightning, the mare who regenerated his career in Sydney. He looks back on his first trip to Perth and the Gr 1 winner he rode for the excitable trainer Gary Moore.
Clarky talks of his two wins in the Gr 1 Flight Stakes. The fillies in question are among his all time favourites.
He elaborates on his reputation as a skilled rider of front runners. He mentions Samadoubt who led throughout to give him two Group victories at Randwick.
The popular jockey talks about family life with wife Jade and daughter Elly. Jade is a sister to talented jockey Josh Parr and daughter of former successful rider Steven Parr.
Tim closes with mention of his love for the NSW Central Coast.
Episode 283: John Messara AM
A timely podcast with John Messara as the Inglis Easter Sale approaches. John expresses his sadness that this sale will see the auctioning of the last yearlings by his iconic stallion Redoute’s Choice.
John talks of three year old filly Miravalle whose recent success in the Kembla Classic gave Redoute’s Choice his 178th stakes winner.
He talks of Arrowfield’s presence at the Inglis Easter Sale, and his long term association with the famous auction house.
John looks back on the reasons he identified Redoute’s Choice as the horse to replace his own famous sire Danehill.
The founder of Arrowfield profiles the sons of Redoute’s Choice who’ve followed in his footsteps at the famous stud.
The story of John’s acquisition of the legendary Danehill is a great yarn. Nobody tells it better than John himself.
John Messara’s life has been a fascinating journey. He takes us back to his childhood in Egypt and his arrival in Australia at age 11.
The Arrowfield Principal looks back on University days and his acquisition of a Bachelor Of Commerce Degree. That degree led him to his first job with Edwin V Nixon & Partners Chartered Accountants.
His next job was with stockbroking firm Ralph King and Yuill. John’s ability to speak French saw his new employer send him on an important overseas mission.
John reflects on the founding of his own stockbroking company and his long association with the Stock Exchange.
The famous breeder looks back on his low key entry into the breeding and racing world. He pays tribute to some of his early equine favourites.
He looks back on important administrative roles with Racing NSW and the Australian Racing Board and the exciting developments that took place during those years.
John reflects on the challenging task he was asked to undertake by the NZ Government. Many of the recommendations he put forward for the advancement of the NZ racing industry have been adopted.
He pays tribute to Kristine, his wife of 48 years and the mother of his four children Paul, Michael, Louise and Susanne.
With the rain tumbling down in Sydney, John had ample time to spend with us on the podcast. His reflections make for great listening.
Episode 282: Beverly Buckingham
I first interviewed Bev Buckingham at her Latrobe home in Tasmania during her rehabilitation from injuries received in the Hobart race fall that ended her career in 1998. I saw her again on three occasions over the next few years, but lost touch thereafter. When I spotted a photo of Bev on Twitter recently I launched a successful search for her phone number and thankfully she agreed to this podcast. The trailblazing jockey explains how that photo materialised.
Right off the top I should apologise for some audio glitches over which we had little control. I’m sure you’ll bear with us.
She talks of her family’s move to regional Victoria following her initial rehabilitation, and her brief foray into horse training.
Bev reflects on our visit to the Benalla property where she actually rode a Clydesdale mare for the Sky cameras. It was an emotional moment for us all.
She confesses to flirting with danger some time later when she tried to ride a thoroughbred yearling with disastrous results.
Beverly takes us back to her family’s arrival from England when she was just two years old. Her father was lured to Australia by the government’s call for skilled tradesmen. Their new life began in WA.
The former ace jockey remembers her very first time on a horse. She looks back on the Buckingham family’s move to Tasmania and the friend who talked her father Ted into becoming a horse trainer.
Then it’s fast forward to 1980 when young Bev made her debut as an apprentice jockey in an era of terrible prejudice against female riders.She talks of early winners and the remarkable feat of winning the Tasmanian jockeys premiership in only her second season of riding. She became the first female in the world to win a state title.
Beverly remembers the exciting adventure when she was flown to Sydney by the Nine Network to appear live on Mike Walsh’s Midday Show. She recalls being terrified.
The record breaking jockey talks of her reckless weight reducing measures, and the fateful day when she blacked out while driving to a race meeting. She admits she was lucky to escape with her life.
Bev looks back on favourite horses and some of the landmark occasions in her spectacular career.
She looks back on a stint in Melbourne when her father was invited to take up the option on stables at Ballarat racecourse. She couldn’t believe the opposition to female jockeys in Victoria.
Bev talks of the invitation she got to appear on the popular Bert Newton TV show. She broke new ground by asking the legendary presenter to give her a race ride on one of his own horses. It’s a great yarn!
The groundbreaking jockey looks back on a dream trip to Japan where she rode a couple of winners and came home with some serious money.
The gutsy former jockey was happy to relate the story of the 1998 fall which ended her brilliant career. She takes us through the accident and the immediate aftermath.
Bev takes us through the weeks of pain, despair, frustration, emotional upheaval and the terrible uncertainty of the future. She reveals the insensitive assessment of one particular Doctor.
She talks of her nine years living in Sydney with daughter Tara, the absolute light of her life.
Throughout her life in and out of racing Beverly Buckingham has called a spade a spade. Her trademark honesty is evident all the way through this podcast.
Episode 281: Jon Grisedale
Jon Grisedale tried to quit the saddle when he suffered a complicated leg break at Kembla Grange in 2013. He actually announced his retirement but couldn’t resist the urge to start riding trackwork again.
Eight years down the track he’s enjoying his job more than ever.
He begins by acknowledging the long priced winner he rode on the Gold Coast on Saturday for veteran trainer Lennie Wheeler.
Jon explains the reason he and his wife Donna moved from Kembla to Coffs Harbour in 2018.
He talks of the wonderful facilities available to trainers at the Coffs racecourse and the nearby beach.
The evergreen jockey talks of Donna’s ten year stint with the legendary Jack Denham. She credits her training career to the lessons learned in that decade.
Jon talks of his passion for riding trackwork. Six mornings a week he handles 15 or 16 horses. One day recently he went beyond that number.
The jockey talks of his English roots and his original apprenticeship to Bede Horan- the man who moulded his career.
Jon looks back on the heady days when he became number three rider for the giant Nebo Lodge operation and the champion trainer Brian Mayfield-Smith.
He pays tribute to the best horse he rode during his time with Nebo Lodge.
Grisedale reflects on his association with the young NZ trainer who set up shop at Rosehill in 2006. He rode a great deal of trackwork for Chris Waller and was on several of his early winners.
Jon talks of the resurgence of older jockeys in recent years. He’s proud to be one of them. This is a stroll down memory lane with a highly respected jockey.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great podcast ❤️❤️
Can you track down former gun Vic Jockey Malcolm Pay who was a multiple G1 winner and was a super apprentice during the 80’s
Can you track down James Moss from tricolours.
Can you chase up Neville Wilson for chat?