The Temora Tornado-Paleface Adios dominated Inters heats.

By David Aldred

Paleface Adios never won Australasia’s biggest pacing championship series, the Inter Dominion, but he did win 8 heats of the event including three at the age of 7 years at Albion Park in 1977.

Tassie-bred NZér, Stanley Rio, and company had his measure in the Grand Final that year but there was no doubt that Colin and Shirley Pike’s “Temora Tornado” was the series `biggest drawcard.

At Albion Park, which was then a slightly banked right-handed track and the downfall of many a good southern horse, the Brisbane track held no fears for Paleface Adios. He won twenty-two races there and his 1.57.6 mile at the circuit made him the fastest to race in Queensland at the time. In typical Aussie lingo, the champion’s name was often shortened to Paleface – and when he was spoken of everyone knew exactly who you were talking about. There was no Maroons Vs Blues when it came to Paleface, locals accepted the southerner with the idolatry no better illustrated than at the ’77 ID Grand Final. Winning all the qualifiers, fans flocked trackside for his arrival. Paleface was led onto the track by a chestnut Shetland pony, big white splash blaze and all, pulling a mini gig with the driver wearing Pike’s famous white, pink diamond & blue sleeves silks.

Paleface and his pal received a bigger applause than the Governor who arrived at the same time. Stipe, Jack Gregg was generous in his 15m handicaps for Paleface Adios, Don’t Retreat, Pure Steel & Royal Force, but everyone knew that Steelo (Pure Steel) was not suited around “The Creek” and the speed turned on by the front markers Sporting Son and the ultimate winner Stanley Rio gave them no chance in the Final anyway.

Three years later Paleface, now ten was applauded by all horse fans when he won his 100th race, the Cranbourne Cup in Victoria. Paleface’s century was achieved on tracks from Perth to Brisbane and he became the first pacer in Australia to top prize levels of $250k, $300k, $350k, and $400k, at one time holding the world record for 1000m set at a Hawkesbury time trial. Racing from 1972– 81 from the age of two to eleven, Paleface Adios (Deep Adios–Rayjen) won 108 races and more than $500,000.

He was a ‘Nellie Melba’ of trotting as he retired to stud several times only to be brought back to compete again at the top level. He raced champions, going head-to-head with Hondo Grattan, Pure Steel & Robalan and ran in the Miracle Mile 7 times, winning the biggest sprint invitation race in 1976.

His Gr1s were plentiful and included his Miracle Mile at Harold Park, two Sir Clive Uhr Championships (Albion Park) & Winfield Cup in Melbourne where in 1977 he defeated Pure Steel & Rip Van Winkle. Paleface Adios also won Cups at Harold Park including the Lord Mayor’s Cup twice.

He was twice runner-up in the AG Hunter Cup behind Royal Gaze & Pure Steel. Songs were written about him, and he has a life-size monument of his image erected in Pike’s hometown Temora. The champion died at his Temora home, on 11 December 1989. 

Story appeared in David Aldred’s linkein page.

Paleface Adios - Colin Pike.