89-year-old former hoop Bruce Hunt ready for Talmoi next weekend

FORMER picnic jockey Bruce Hunt will next month celebrate his 90th birthday with family and close friends however there’s another engagement that he’s keen to tick off his busy social calendar – a day out at the famous Talmoi picnic races at Garah next Saturday.

As a jockey back in the 1940s and 1950s, Hunt greeted the judge 365 times at picnic race meetings across NSW, including a long list of feature races on bush racing’s Golden Triangle at Moree, Mallawa and Talmoi.

And as a trainer in the 1980s and 1990s, Hunt led back his share of winners, including Talmoi Cup heroes Bhutan Boy in 1985 and Maygar Hill eight years later

As a young horse Bhutan Boy was trained by Joe Armstrong and made an absolute mess of a quality line-up in the 1981 Moree Cup.


Former leading picnic jockey Bruce Hunt. Now 89, Bruce rode 365 winners on the NSW picnic racing circuit, including many cups and bracelets on bush racing’s Golden Triangle at Moree, Mallawa and Talmoi. (Image Copyright Bill Poulos).

It was one of many feature wins across the north and north-west.

As an older horse Bhutan Boy was trained by Hunt – who was also a part-owner – and as a rising 10-year-old carried a whopping 70.5kg in the 1985 Talmoi Cup to beat George Sinclair’s Talberay by one-and-a-half lengths.


Bruce Hunt guides Wathagar to an easy win in the 1955 Boolooroo Cup at Moree for prominent owner Rob Gill (Image Supplied).

“Bhutan Boy was a great old horse and won a lot of races all over the place,” Hunt recalled.

George Sinclair’s grandson Peter, now a successful trainer who has called the Golden Triangle his own in recent years, remembers when Hunt brought Bhutan Boy to the Moree track for an early morning gallop.

“Bhutan Boy was an old horse at the time – this was a few years after he won the Moree Cup – and he bucked in the tie-up stalls and bent one of the upright iron posts, and that post is still there, bent to this day,” Sinclair laughed.

Hunt, who is just a few weeks off celebrating his 90th birthday, recalls with absolute clarity his riding days in the 1940s and 1950s.


Bruce Hunt weighs out at Croppa Creek picnic races in the 1940s (Image Supplied).

Now retired in Moree, he won Boolooroo Cups at Moree on his own horse Krui (1954) and Rob Gill’s Wathagar in 1955 as well as Mallawa Bracelets on Plymouth Belle (1949) and Terror Boy (1953).

Hunt also won the 1954 Wathagar Bracelet on Monardo for prominent owner Hector Livingston who, in 1924 at Moree Picnic Race Club’s inaugural meeting, won the same race on Baumalto for his father, Duncan.

“Terror Boy was by far the best horse I ever rode, and Krui was pretty damn good, too,” Hunt said.

“I remember riding at all the picnic meetings, including Croppa Creek before the track was closed down when the property it was on changed hands.

“There were a lot of good riders around in those days. Blokes like Bobby Mackay, Charlie Carrigan and Rob Gill . . . they could all ride,” he said.

Words and Image Copyright Bill Poulos

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