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By Mark Oberhardt
Neal Birrer, one of the last of a golden era of Queensland jockeys, has died after a long illness.
He rode during a period in the 1950-60s when Queensland produced a long list of elite riders.
Birrer is best remembered for riding the 1960 Stradbroke Handicap winner Wallgar, who scored at 33-1 odds.
However, he was highly regarded as a judge of pace in races with his all the way win on Meanmi Shadow in the 1972 Queensland Oaks a perfect example.
He used stop-start tactics as the filly held off a field of top class gallopers.
The effort was included when a panel of experts put together a top-10 of all time great Winter Carnival rides.
In all, he won eight Group 1 races.
Birrer rode at times inter-state and was called on by all the top southern-based trainers when they campaigned in Brisbane during the winter.
He never won the Brisbane jockeys premiership but finished in the top-10 on nine occasions.
Birrer rode about 700 winners during his 25 years in the saddle, at a time there were only two meetings per week.