By Tony McMahon
Rockhampton racing followers and Queensland industry stakeholders will be saddened to hear of the passing of jockey Larry Allen, who was a leading figure at Callaghan Park in the late 70s and 80s.
Aged 66, the long-retired jockey died in a Brisbane hospital on Sunday after battling cancer.
A natural lightweight, Larry Allen came from a racing family with his father Neville and brother Terry successful Brisbane jockeys.
Larry is best remembered in Rockhampton for winning the 1976 Rockhampton Cup on Lumley Fair.
For many years, he combined at Callaghan Park’s feature Saturday race meetings on the old sand track with the prolific Theodore-based trainer Mick Hanlon.
While his name is instantly recognised with success in Rockhampton, that pales into insignificance compared to Larry Allen’s feats on the Gold Coast.
He was one of the first jockeys to be awarded the moniker of “King of the Gold Coast” a worthy title also bestowed on crown holders Ken Russell and Daniel Griffin.
Twice during the mid-80s, Larry Allen won the Gold Coast jockeys premierships.
In fact, Larry remains one of less than a handful of jockeys to have ridden six winners in a day on a major Queensland track.
Allen recorded this remarkable feat on the Gold Coast on November 17, 1984 winning on Dandy Miss, Alchera, Amboina, Burano, Lunch With Reeta and Cruise Missile.
His only other ride that day in York Street ran third.
Mick Dittman (Eagle Farm, November 1, 1977) and Michael Rodd (Sunshine Coast, October 26, 2003) also accomplished the same rare exploit of half-a-dozen winners on the same program.
While it may not be well known, Larry Allen also won three races on the champion Vo Rogue in 1986.
He replaced regular rider Cyril Small through suspension and naturally two of the Allen-Vo Rogue wins were at the Gold Coast, with the other at Doomben.
Jockeys riding at the Rockhampton Jockey Club’s race meeting at Callaghan Park on Saturday will carry black armbands as a mark of respect for Larry Allen.
Larry Allen’s funeral will be held in Brisbane on Thursday.