Champion indigenous jockey Darby McCarthy has race named in his honour on Doomben Cup day
Darby McCarthy’s daughter is certain her legendary father would have been chuffed with having a race named after him on a bumper Group 1 day during the Queensland winter carnival.
Memories will come flooding back at Doomben on Saturday for the extended McCarthy family when the champion jockey, a trailblazer for indigenous sportspeople, is honoured.
* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this story contains names of deceased persons in photograph and material. News Limited has received permission from the McCarthy family to use these photos *
The Darby McCarthy is a sprint race for three-year-old horses which pays homage to McCarthy, who was born in a sandhills camp at Cunnamulla in western Queensland before at his peak being hailed as one of the world’s best jockeys.
McCarthy died last May and was posthumously inducted into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame.
McCarthy’s daughter Chelsea Lucas is sure having a race named after him on Doomben Cup day would have given him just as much of a thrill.
“The last time I saw him was at a race day in his honour at Toowoomba last year – the next day he was taken to a nursing home and we couldn’t see him after that because of COVID restrictions,” Lucas says.
“He would be very chuffed about having this race on Saturday named after him, he never chased recognition but he was a very proud man.
“He would have had a big, beaming smile on his face if he knew about this.”
Jockey Darby McCarthy in his riding days.Source:News Corp Australia
In one golden period, McCarthy won the Stradbroke Handicap three times with Mullala (1963), Cele’s Image (1964) and Castanea (1966) and he moved to Sydney where he won the 1969 AJC Derby (Divide and Rule) and 1969 Epsom (Broker’s Tip).
At his peak, the brilliant McCarthy rode with success in France and Lucas recalls some tales from her Dad’s riding days.
“I remember when I was young being told about how he fell while riding in a Melbourne Cup when there were 32 runners and how he then wrote to the Victoria Racing Club asking them to lower the amount of horses that were riding in it because it was dangerous,” McCarthy said.
“He was only young then and I thought it was pretty remarkable for someone of his young age and colour deciding to call out something that he thought was dangerous.
“He was a black man from Cunnamulla who rode at Royal Ascot and in Paris, on the back of a horse he got to see the world.
Long into retirement, McCarthy worked tirelessly to help the Aboriginal community.
McCarthy played an important role in Queensland’s unique ‘Murri court’ system designed to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders to make changes in their lives.
A cinema dramatised bio-pic feature documentary – “In a Life Time” – is currently being made about McCarthy‘s extraordinary life.
Originally published asRace honour for champion indigenous jockey
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