VALE: Darby McCarthy at Godolphin Stables. Picture: Tim Carrafa
VALE: Darby McCarthy at Godolphin Stables. Picture: Tim Carrafa

Champion jockey, Stanthorpe Cup winner dies aged 76

A TRAILBLAZER for indigenous recognition in Australia and once one of the worlds greatest jockeys, has passed away.

Richard 'Darby' McCarthy died last Thursday at 76 year's of age with tributes from around the world pouring in and old stories of his prowess on the track being retold.

One story that many may not have heard is about the time he rolled into Stanthorpe and put on a devastating cup winning display.

He rode more than 1000 winners, in some of the worlds biggest races, from Ascot to Paris.

He rode for the Queen, Arab princes, the Rothschilds and partied with The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Hollywood royalty, but it was in Stanthorpe that Darby would ride his last winning race.

"It was just one of those freakish things that fell into place," said Bill Bonner, a part owner in that cup winning horse.

On October 20, 1990, Darby jumped in the saddle of Lou's Finito.

It was Darby's first major race win since claiming the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington nearly 12 years prior.

 

Stan Anderson, Bob Wilkins, Mick Mills, trainer John Everson, Bill Bonner, Darby McCarthy and John Dean. Mr Dean presented the Dean Family trophy to the connections of Stanthorpe Cup winner Lou's Finito in 1990.
Stan Anderson, Bob Wilkins, Mick Mills, trainer John Everson, Bill Bonner, Darby McCarthy and John Dean. Mr Dean presented the Dean Family trophy to the connections of Stanthorpe Cup winner Lou's Finito in 1990.

 

"I remember the absolute excitement of winning that race," Mr Bonner said.

"We kept the cup in the pharmacy for the year."

He was one of six part owners in Lou's Finito, along with Stan Anderson, Bob Wilkins, Mick Mills, Dave Ashwin and Carmel Mahoney.

"I remember working in my pharmacy one day and John Everson (Lou's Finito trainer) came in and said g'day and said he was new to the place.

"He told me how he had this horse syndicate and he had five people signed up and needed a sixth.

"I just remember him saying, 'it's going to win'," Mr Bonner said.

Sure enough, Lou's Finito blitzed the competition to claim the Clark and Associates Stanthorpe Cup at Armstrong Park.

 

Darby McCarthy crosses the line on Lou's Finito in the Stanthorpe Cup back in 1990.
Darby McCarthy crosses the line on Lou's Finito in the Stanthorpe Cup back in 1990.

 

Bill Bonner and John Everson had a further 14 winners together after that.

Mr Bonner didn't know Darby personally, only the legend of him.

"Most jockeys are short but I just remember him as this very short man.

"He rode for the Queen but I don't think he was a hobnob sort of bloke," Mr Bonner said.

Darby grew up in Cunnamulla as part of a big family, in poverty.

He fell in love with horses at an early age, watching them run past him at the Thargomindah races, where he got his first ride at the age of 10.

"He was one of the best jockeys in the world on his day," Stanthorpe Jockey Club president Neil Brunckhorst said.

"He was a really, really nice fella to talk to."

Darby spent his latter years in Toowoomba and was inducted into Queensland Racing's Hall of Fame in 2004 and awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2016.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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