George Moore tribute takes pride of place at Ooralea

Published: 18 Sep 2020

A tribute for former champion jockey, the late George Moore, will take pride of place at Mackay Turf Club.

Mayor Greg Williamson presented the framed memorabilia, which includes two photographs and a short biography of George Thomas Donald Moore OBE, to the club today.

He said council organised the recognition after an approach from Mackay resident and racing enthusiast Paul Maguire, of Maguire Breeding and Racing, who is also Turf Club patron.

“Paul felt there needed to be more recognition in Mackay for George Moore, who hailed from here and went on to become one of the best jockeys in the world,’’ Mayor Williamson said.

“We organised the memorabilia, with the assistance of council’s Museums, Libraries and Corporate Communications and Marketing teams, and Mackay Turf Club was pleased to be involved,’’ he said.

“The racecourse is a fitting home for the tribute to George Moore. The nearby George Moore Park is also named in his honour.”

His son John Moore provided a thank you note on behalf of the family which was read out at today’s unveiling.

George Moore’s interest in horses and racing began early, inspired by his father George Snr, an amateur jockey.

He started out delivery papers for the Daily Mercury on horseback in and around Mackay as a 13-year-old. He worked his first horse at Ooralea and rode at the Mackay Showgrounds trot meetings before heading to Brisbane at age 14 to train as a jockey under trainer Louis Dahl.

Following success in Brisbane, including a senior jockeys’ premiership in 1943, he departed for Sydney and forged a successful association with leading trainer Tommy Smith.

Although based out of Sydney, he rode internationally in the 1950s and 60s, winning big races in Europe, the United Kingdom and United States.

Moore’s association with TJ Smith included great success riding Tulloch, a racehorse regarded as one of the best in Australian history.

He retired as a jockey in 1971 at the age of 48. During his career, he won 199 Group One races, a record that still stands to this day.

Moore went on to become a trainer, starting out in France and Australia in 1972 before hitting the Hong Kong training scene in 1973. He remained in Hong Kong for 13 seasons, winning the premiership 11 times.

Following the 1985 season, he retired to the Gold Coast. He died in Sydney in January 2008, 70 years to the week after he first began his racing career.

The frame memorabilia to be displayed at the Turf Club includes a photo of him when he was a special guest at the 1990 Mackay Cup at Ooralea, with winning horse Farm Boy.

That photo has been provided from the Daily Mercury Archives, courtesy of the Daily Mercury.

The other photograph of Moore as a jockey was provided by Em McQuillan. It was sourced from Michael McQuillan’s Classic Photographs.

George Moore family says thank you

On behalf of the entire Moore family, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Mackay Regional Council for its decision to acknowledge dad’s achievements in such a special way.

I know my mother, who passed away only recently, would join me in expressing those thoughts should she still be with us.

The fact the handover of a commemorative certificate coincides with the day the Mackay Derby is to be run is a fitting gesture behind the presentation.

The finest traditions of racing dictate that The Derby is the most important event on the calendar and some of Dad’s proudest moments were associated with his victories in this race.

Far North Queensland has produced some of Australia’s finest sporting icons and Mackay can be assured Dad never forgot his roots or the fact he was a country-born lad who made good.

Your tribute will help etch that fact in history. – John Moore