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Harness industry pays tribute to Dudley Warburton

15 May 2024

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By Andrew Smith

The Queensland harness racing industry is paying tribute to trainer Dudley Warburton who passed away this week, aged 67.

The Toorbul-based horseman sadly lost his battle with T-cell lymphoma after being diagnosed in early 2024.

Remarkably, the industry veteran was still training horses at the start of this year, with Bukthsystem the last of his runners to go around at Albion on January 19.

Obtaining his trainer's licence in 1982, Warburton racked up 1237 starts, netting 86 wins and 252 placings over a 40-plus-year career.

It was Bukthsystem that proved to be the most successful acquisition, with 28 wins from 324 starts bringing in over $133,000 in prize money.

The pacer also gave Warburton his final victory, with Angus Garrard piloting the bay gelding to a win in late December 2023.

Driver Leonard Cain, who himself saluted eight times with Bukthsystem, paid tribute to the Queensland harness racing stalwart.

“He was always a very gentle and sincere sort of bloke,” Cain said.

“He was always happy and he was never disappointed in anything - any time I drove for him, he was just happy the horse got around safe and well each time.

“He was an easy bloke to get along with and was always full of praise.

“He loved the horses and always did a great job with his team.”

Dudley Warburton with driver Angus Garrard after Bukthysystem's win in December.

Cain recalled first linking up with Warburton out of the blue at the races in 2021, when the driver had just moved back from Sydney.

“I never really knew him to start with but Peter Jones put him on to using me as a driver for a while and once we started, we had a fairly strong connection and we got some good results,” he said.

“He always turned up, he was always a happy sort of bloke, and nothing ever really phased him - he never let anything bother him and he got along with everybody.

“I think he was the sort of bloke that enjoyed going to the races and looking after his horses and that was probably his thrill in life - getting away from his job and just being able to spend time with the horses, that was his passion.

“He’ll be deeply missed and he was a great bloke that everyone will remember.”

Other success stories for the Warburton stable included Pride Of Cooma, Itzallinthetimin, Tee Bird and Dig Deep.

Racing Queensland Senior Racing Manager – Harness David Brick thanked Warburton for his contribution to the industry in Queensland.

"Dudley epitomised the hobby participant, maintaining his passion for the sport with a small team of horses in work while working for various local councils,” Brick said.

“RQ wish to recognise his contribution and participation for over 40 years and pass on our condolences to his family.”

Leonard Cain and Dudley Warburton with Bukthysystem after a win at Redcliffe.

As well as his training career, Warburton spent over thirty years working for the Brisbane City, Redcliffe and Moreton Bay councils.

He is survived by wife Carol and children Brad, Stacey and Tara.

A race will be named in Warburton’s honour at this Sunday’s meeting at Redcliffe.

A GoFundMe page was also set up last month to assist Warburton and three other members of the Queensland racing industry also doing it tough – Dan Costello, Greg Elkins and Jack Butler.

Click here to view the GoFundMe page.

Racing Queensland extends its condolences to the Warburton family.

Dudley Warburton and Leonard Cain with Bukthysystem.