THE MAN FROM WEST WYALONG, BUT JUNEE IS THE KEY

Ray Moore has lived on a substantial grain growing farm in the West Wyalong region of NSW for the past 30 years.

These days in semi-retirement he leases out most of his land but lives and breathes for the breeding of his Harness Racing broodmares, totalling 14 in number.

One of these mares Loving You, a daughter of Art Major, recently provided Ray with one of his biggest thrills in Harness Racing.

Riverina Paceway in Wagga was the venue for the $100,000 NSW Regional Championship on 19th May.  Blake Jones drove a confident race to get the Ray Moore owned Brooklyn Bridge to the front after racing three wide early and from there controlled the race – sprinting home in 56.4 for an exhilarating victory for his owner Ray and trainer Ellen Bartley.  This was just the tenth career start for Brooklyn Bridge and his seventh victory in a dream start to a horse’s career.

Ray owned a mare called Daisey Chain and had bred a nice horse called Manhattan Island from her.  So, when a full sister to Daisey Chain in Loving You 1:55.7 was offered to Ray for sale by Peter Wharton, Ray parted with $15,000 to buy her.  She was in foal to Sweet Lou when he took possession of her and shortly thereafter, on 18th October 2018, she foaled a colt to be later named Brooklyn Bridge.

With already $103,431 banked from just 11 starts, Ray is looking forward to an exciting ride with the horse named after one of New York city’s major landmarks, Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge is bred on a similar lines to the richest male of Sweet Lou’s progeny in the world, Spirit of St Louis 1:48.2 $1,152,976, who is also from an Art Major mare and then from an In The Pocket mare .  Brooklyn Bridge’s granddam is by Christian Cullen, a son of In The Pocket.

So where did Ray inherit his love of Harness Racing from.  We need to turn the clock back to the 1960’s when Ray was growing up and attending school in Junee, NSW.

“My mother was one of the Turner Family in Junee – a family heavily involved in Harness Racing then and still today,” stated Ray recently.  “She used to take us to Trot meetings in Junee and I’ve always remembered those days fondly.”

Junee today is well worth a stop to visit the Chocolate Factory and of course is home to the Junee Postman, Bruce Harpley.  Back in the 1960’s and 70’s Junee and Temora, just up the road, were the hub of Harness Racing in Australia with horses of the calibre of Welcome Advice, Paleface Adios , Just Too Good and Adios Victor being owned and trained in these towns.

In fact on 23rd March 1974, just one month after the Inter Dominion Final at Gloucester Park in Perth [won by Hondo Grattan] those four horses after returning from competing in WA, raced in a Free For All at Junee , won by another star of that era in Reichman.

‘Mr Inter Dominion’ himself, Brian Hancock, and his brother Richard, who trained Jofess to win the 2004 Inter Dominion, also called Junee home as well as Our Sir Vancelot in those magnificent days of Harness Racing.

Ray Moore has been a long and loyal servant of Harness Racing, devoting many hours to his West Wyalong Club as well as representing the NSW Riverina Clubs on the NSW HRIG Forum.  Many of his spare hours are now devoted to caring for his mares, weanlings and to investigating suitable stallion matches for his mares – a Labor of Love.

Of course, following the future racing career of Brooklyn Bridge is high on the list of priorities.   To finish the Ray Moore story, we had a few questions for him.

Question – Who is Your Favourite Stallion.

Ray – “There is so much to admire about Art Major and Bettors Delight, but I will choose American Ideal.   I personally haven’t had much luck in breeding to him but just love his pedigree.  His granddam Three Diamonds and the dam of his sire, Leah Almahurst, were both champions on the track in the 1980’s and amazingly are closely related.  The third dam of Western Ideal and the third dam of American Ideal are full sisters, so I believe this strong inbreeding to champion females has been instrumental in the success of American Ideal as a racehorse and sire.”

Question – Do You Have a Favourite Broodmare Sire.

Ray – “That is a hands down easy answer – Artsplace.  I don’t think there is a stallion alive or deceased that compares to him.”     [ Author’s note – In Nth America , Artsplace is the leading Broodmare Sire ever with progeny earnings of $494 million to 31st Dec 2022.  He is $43 million ahead of second placed Albatross and $122 Million ahead of third placed Abercrombie]

Question –   Who Is Your Favourite Racehorse.

Ray –  “Most people will raise their eyebrows at my choice, but it is Barwen Bill.  He was owned by some friends of mine in Wagga – Barry and Wendy Robinson. I used to travel up to Harold Park with them in the mid 1980’s.  He won 10 races at Harold Park, many with Brian Hancock in the gig and many a time we came home with our pockets lined.  Sweet memories of old Bill.”

Question – What is One Thing We Could Do to Improve Harness Racing.

Ray – “In a nutshell – lift our standards or image in dress code and on track catering. “

Victorious driver Blake Jones and his partner Ellen Bartley and Ray Moore after Brooklyn Bridge’s Regional Championship victory (HRNSW Photo)