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129 years and counting
For 129 years the crowds have been flocking to the Kumara Racecourse for the annual Gold Nuggets
meeting, including another outstanding event today. The track — once swamp, scrub and tree roots — is
today a first-class facility, and as these 1959 photos from the late LES CLEVELAND show, things have
barely changed at the historic venue. A former university lecturer, poet and photographer, Cleveland lived
and worked on the West Coast for a period after World War Two. The photos are reproduced courtesy of
his widow, Mary Cleveland and former Coaster, Gerry Morris.
The annual one-day fixture of the above club was held on the racecourse, Kumara, on Easter Monday,
when there was a record gathering of the general public. The weather, which had not been very
favourable during the previous week, proved fine and continued so throughout the day.
On account of the weather the track was slightly soft but nonetheless the going was fairly good.
Large fields, good racing, and close and exciting finishes were the order of the day, and to Mr Jas
Noble, great credit is due for his adjustments in both racing and trotting events.
In the capacity of starter, Mr H Butland gave every satisfaction his dispatches of the fields being
A great success of the gathering was due to the untiring energies of the Secretary (Mr R Rouse). Mr
J C Patterson, Stipendiary Steward, was in attendance, but his services were not requisitioned.
Betting was very brisk the totalisator turnover showed an increase of £2125, on last year’s figures.The
sum put through was £6202.
Grey River Argus, April 7, 1915
A record meeting
Glenogly wins the handicap
General Gilbert, from Riccarton, ridden a well-judged race by B N Hadfield, came out on toP in the
Kumara Handicap on Saturday.
He dived on the leaders at the furlong, and came on well to beat Shanty Town by a length, with Dark
Seaman right there third.
This race was the first leg of the Kumara Racing Club’s double. The second leg was the Gilbert
Memorial Hack Handicap, and Jet Girl, from Westport, finished attractively, to win and complete a
£86 11s 6d double with General Gilbert.
General Gilbert was fifth favourite in the Kumara Handicap, good odds for a horse of his record in
Canterbury. He paid £9 to win. The race was an extremely open one. There was no clear-cut favourite,
and then again no real long-shot.
The pace was on all the way, with Deladana and Picket cutting each other’s chances out in front.
Shanty Town, ridden in behind, took the lead at the two, and looked to have the race sewn up until
General Gilbert came on the scene with his strong run.
A five-year-old chestnut gelding by Advocate General from Ramona, General Gilbert, is raced and
trained by J L Barr, Riccarton. Barr’s father won the race 30 years ago with Grantly, and Barr was the
horse’s attendant, on that occasion.
Jet Girl returned an attractive performance to win the Gilbert Memorial. She was about fourth
Messmaid got to a big lead of six lengths at the three.
His Host and Knight’s Review set out to bridge the gap and they carried Jet Girl to a handy position
at the bend. She came home well to have a winning margin on Knight’s Review at the line.
Jet Girl is an attractive black three-year-old filly by Red Jester from Primitive. She is raced and
trained by Mr and Mrs R K McDonald at Westport, and was capably ridden by the Kumara-born
apprentice, P J Daly.
Greymouth Evening Star, January 11, 1965
A fine, warm day encouraged a large crowd to the annual meeting of the Kumara Racing Club on
Saturday. On-course betting rose by £3205 on last year to £19,012 10s. Last year’s meeting was held
in February, wet weather forcing its postponement in January. Off-course investments on Saturday
amounted to £10,094 15s, compared with £6586 15s last year. Messmaid was the off-course
General Gilbert first home in Kumara feature
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