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John Letts: A true Hall of Famer

Two time Melbourne Cup winning jockey, John Letts was inducted into the South Australian Sports Hall of Fame on Friday Night at Adelaide Oval.

Letts, 75, is one of the most recognised and loved racing identities in the country and after Friday Night’s honour, Letts will go down as one of the legends of South Australian sport.

In 2004 he was inducted into the South Australian Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame before being inducted in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2010. The state’s highest riding honour is also named after Letts, with the best rider of the season being awarded the John Letts Medal.

Letts began his career in the saddle in 1959 as a 16 year old apprentice and finished his career in 1988 with 2,350 winners including 20 Group 1 victories including the VRC Derby, Epsom Handicap and Australian Cup. The eight time Adelaide Jockey’s Premiership winner also had plenty of success in SA with three Adelaide Cup wins, a Goodwood and SA Oaks victories.

While the older generation will know Letts for his prowess in the saddle, the younger generation of racing lovers know him for his time aboard his beloved horse ‘Banjo,’ who together, they conducted post-race interviews across the Spring Carnival for over 20 years.   

Letts has been a magnificent supporter and promoter of racing and in particular, South Australian racing since hanging up the riding boots. His work with charities, the SA Apprentice Academy, country racing clubs and the media have put our sport on the map over the years and his love of racing shines through whenever he speaks.

Letts is an icon of not only South Australian racing but South Australian sport in general and his induction into the Hall of Fame on Friday is a fantastic honour for a man who has given so much to the sport and state he loves.

It was a big night for South Australian racing which also saw talented Kayla Crowther claim the Junior Sports Star of the Year award. Crowther had a breakout year riding 78 winners during the 2017-18 season to finish third in the SA Rider’s Premiership behind senior riders Jamie Kah and Todd Pannell. Crowther has continued that good form this season, with 27 winners to her name which has her sitting in fourth on the State Premiership. 

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