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Retired horses travelled as much as TV legends the Leyland Brothers

8 June 2022

By Darren Cartwright

Clerk of the course horses Grey Missile and Racorza could be dubbed the Cairns Jockey Club's equivalent to legendary TV explorers the ‘Leyland Brothers’.

The two retired racehorses had travelled all over the countryside, just like Mike and Mal Leyland had for the explorer documentary TV series Ask The Leyland Brothers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, before becoming equine marshals of the Far North Queensland racetrack.

Of the pair, six-year-old grey Racorza (pictured below) has clocked up the most kilometres, having started his career at Sale, in south-eastern Victoria, in July 2018.

He notched his first and only win in 29 starts at Cranbourne five months later before racing at Darwin and Alice Springs and ending his career at Mareeba, a 65km drive from west of Cairns, in May 2021.

The son of multiple Group 1 winner Helmet is based at Mareeba, under the care of Leanne Buckingham who is also a clerk of the course at Cairns Jockey Club.

Now known as Blue, he went straight from racing to his trackside role within a month of retiring and has been a pleasure to ride, Leanne said.

“Started clerking less than a month after his last race back at Mareeba which was 12 months,” she said.

“He’s quiet enough for kids to ride him as a beginner.”

Unlike Racorza, Grey Missile (pictured below) never left the state, but he covered a lot of territory.

He raced in Cairns, Mackay and Townsville and as far south as the Gold Coast while the last of his 10 wins was at the Sunshine Coast in January 2020.

Time was called on the seven-year-old’s career last October, having earned almost $400,000 from 49 starts.

The son of Red Element is still learning his craft as clerk of the course although he potentially has a future in show jumping, according to his owner and clerk of the course Kellie Buckingham.

“He is still learning the trade,” she said.

“He has now been retired from racing for about seven months and has been a clerk for about five months.

“I have taken him to some show jumping clinics and he has shown a bit of promise as a jumper too.”

 

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