Leigh Plunkett Tasmania's best known studmaster honoured.

On May 28th The Launceston Pacing Club will honour the memory of one of Tasmania’s studmaster and horseman, with the annual running of the Leigh Plunkett Memorial a race for mares this year sponsored by Australia’s leading breeding nursery Alabar, who have kindly donated a service to exciting young sire Vincent as trophy to the winning owners.

The race is one of the feature events on the Pacing For Pink race night in which Tasracing will hold a cocktail party with MC Janie Finlay, to raise funds for the McGrath Foundation.

Leigh Plunkett, who died in December 2007 from Leukaemia aged 57, was one of Tasmania’s leading all-round horseman and officials.

A member of a harness racing family dating back almost 100 years, Leigh was a successful owner, trainer, driver, breeder, studmaster, farrier and administrator. His brother Rod was also an accomplished trainer and driver.

Leigh jogged horses from 10 years of age, had his first drive at 19 and won his first race a year later.

Leigh was a licensed trainer-driver for 38 years. He drove Digger Neptune to win the 1988 Tasmanian Derby, was runner-up in the 1988/89 Tasmanian Drivers Premiership and was successful in a Tasmanian, New South Wales and Victorian driving series featuring the best reinsmen from each state.

Having a special affinity with juveniles, Leigh’s list of training achievements included the two-year-old classic winners Sunshine Joe (1993 Dandy Patch Final) and Blended Humor (1986 Blue Bonnet) and the 2002 Tasmanian 3YO Fillies Championship winner Ballychurch.

He was also a professional farrier for two years.

Leigh and his wife Donna established Berriedale Stud at Westbury in 1990. The Smooth Fella horse Meadow Fella was their first stallion producing the Sires Stakes winners Dancing Fella, Carla Ross and Sunshine Joe.

Ticket to Heaven, a son of No Nukes, stood for seven seasons at Berriedale Stud and figured prominently on the Tasmanian sires’ lists. His best offspring included Simply Electric, Prodigious, Lindy’s Ticket, Heart’s Legend, Barrington Belle, Shy Ticket and Colsta, while he figured as the damsire of the dual Inter Dominion champion Beautide.

Time Stands Still, who stood at Berriedale Stud in the early 2000’s, exploded onto the siring scene with his first crop producing 12 individual winners. He has an impressive list of Sires Stakes winners including Hillbilly Halo, Johnny Applesead, Mon Poppy Mary, Quastor Centurion, Gedlee and Eternal Life.

Leigh served on the committee of the Launceston Pacing Club, Carrick Park Pacing Club and the Northern Tasmanian Light Harness Association.

He was Chairman of the Tasmanian Standardbred Breeders Association and represented Tasmania on the Australian Standardbred Breeders Association (ASBA) . Leigh was a member of the Australian Harness Racing Council Equine Breeding, Animal Welfare and Registration Committee for three years.

In 2004 Leigh was awarded a Meritorious Service Award by the Australian Harness Racing Council in recognition of the important role and contribution that he had made to Standardbred breeding in Australia. He received a Meritorious Service Award from Harness Racing Tasmania in 2005.


Leigh Plunkett