WHAT does the collective of Todd Pannell, Kayla Crowther and Jason Holder have in common with former jockeys Mick Goreham, Jim Courtney and Billy Sharp?
Full marks if you guessed that the 2019/20 season ends a 45-year gap since three South Australian jockeys last broke the 50 metropolitan winners milestone in the same season.
Premiership winner Pannell finished 2019/20 with 65 metro winners, ahead of Crowther (52) and Holder (51).
Such a trifecta last occurred way back in 1974/75, when Goreham notched 65 wins, the late Courtney had 58 wins and Sharp finished with 52 wins.
The feat’s rarity means it deserves recognition, according to Thoroughbred Racing South Australia handicapper Rhett Cook.
“It’s quite amazing to think that it’s taken 45 years for that to happen again,” Mr Cook said.
“It shows how good those riders were back then, but also underlines the quality of riders we have in South Australia at the top of the ranks right now.”
Sharp, who retired “about 16 or 17 years ago”, has fond memories of that era.
“Us three got on quite well together – we had a good relationship,” he said.
“Jim Courtney was number one for Colin Hayes, so I did a lot of second riding for him.
“I rode a lot of winners at Victoria Park, but Morphettville and Cheltenham were both good tracks for me too.”
Remarkably, the two eras crossed paths – albeit briefly.
“I was still riding when Jason Holder was a young apprentice,” Sharp said.
“I can remember him.”
Now 71, Sharp is also full of praise for the talents of Pannell, and in particular Crowther.
“Todd’s a very good rider, and I’ve been watching Kayla a bit and she also rides very well,” he said.
“She’s got a good seat on a horse and they seem to run well for her. She’s got a big future ahead of her.”
Goreham, also 71, is now based in Victoria and believes jockeys and stables were more closely aligned 45 years ago.
“Back them, the stables stuck by their jockeys,” he said.
“There wasn’t much changing – you rode track work and you got the rides.”
Goreham was inducted to TRSA’s Hall of Fame in 2016.
Sharp said his best wins during the 1974/75 season included the Adelaide Guineas (at Victoria Park) aboard Exalts Pride for local trainer Horrie Hendry, and the George Adams Invitation Stakes (at Morphettville) on the Bart Cummings-trained Just a Gamble.
“When I went back through my scrapbook looking for that season,” he said, “I realised, that geez I’ve ridden some good horses.”
65 wins – Mick Goreham
58 wins – Jim Courtney
52 wins – Billy Sharp
65 wins – Todd Pannell
52 wins – Kayla Crowther
51 wins – Jason Holder