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  • Provincial Racing NSW

LEGENDS HONOURED AT KEMBLA GRANGE

Updated: Oct 20, 2023


IT’S the inaugural Legends raceday at Kembla Grange tomorrow to celebrate the first four inductees.

Julie Humphries and Cliff Clare along with the late great trainers Bede Murray and Gwenda Markwell will officially become Illawarra Turf Club legends.

ITC chairman Barry Vandenbergh says his club is extremely proud of the quality of thoroughbred racing in the region and the role of the club in this success.

“It was a bleak Tuesday in 1912 when a crowd of more than 2000 eager racegoers filed through the turnstiles to attend the first race meeting held at Kembla Grange racecourse,” Vandenbergh said.

“One hundred and eleven years on, we are proud to launch the Illawarra Turf Club Legends program.

“More than a decade of racing would not be possible without great people.

“We wish to honour these Legends, a group of industry participants who are deserving of this prestigious acknowledgement.”

Vandenbergh said the program has been designed to recognize individuals, not employed by the club, for their positive contribution to thoroughbred racing in the Illawarra, its growth and success, promotion and prestige.

A permanent tribute is being planned for display at the racecourse.

Illawarra Turf Club hopes to add inductees to the Legends program on an annual basis. The club’s Board of Directors next year will again consider nominations put forward by Directors, ITC members and employees.

The four inductees’ biographies are as follows:

JULIE HUMPHRIES

Julie has recently retired after 28 years of voluntary service as hostess of the Kembla Grange winning owners’ room. During this time, it is estimated Julie looked after the winning connections of more than 7000 races. Prior to this she filled the role of club secretary, starting with the Wollongong Racing and Trotting Club in 1968.

CLIFF CLARE

When the ITC was formed in late 1976, one of the leading riders at Kembla Grange race meetings was Cliff. Now a spritely 93 years of age, Cliff is best known as the rider of 1967 Golden Slipper Stakes winner Sweet Embrace. He rode a multitude of winners at Kembla Grange before retiring from race riding in May 1992, less than two years after one of his great mates, fellow jockey the late Norm Munsie.

BEDE MURRAY

A former dairy farmer, Bede transitioned to horse racing in 1962 to begin his 53-year career as a trainer. From a total of 7999 starters, Bede trained 913 winners, including 259 at Kembla Grange, along with a series of black type races. A thorough gentleman, he won four Group 1s with Universal Prince (2000 Spring Champion Stakes at Royal Randwick, 2001 Canterbury Guineas and AJC Derby, and 2002 RanvetStakes at Rosehill, two with Victory Vein (2002 Sires and Champagne Stakes at Randwick), and another with Coniston Bluebird in the 2009 New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie. Since passing away in March 2016, Bede’s legacy remains alive through his sons Graeme and Paul, both successful trainers in their own right.

GWENDA MARKWELL

The “Queen of Kembla”, Gwenda reigned supreme at Kembla Grange, capturing 18 champion trainer premierships at her beloved home track and dominating the local trainer title for a remarkable 20 straight seasons. Gwenda trained 1037 winners; her biggest triumphs being in the 2004 BMW at Rosehill Gardens (Grand Zulu) and 2019 ATC Australian Derby (Angel Of Truth). Whilst Gwenda passed away in 2022, she will always be remembered as one of the most influential figures in the local racing scene.

. All races at tomorrow’s meeting, which begins at 1.30pm, have been named after the four inductees along with horses associated with them, such as Sweet Embrace (Cliff Clare), Universal Prince (Bede Murray), and Grand Zulu (Gwenda Markwell). *Words John Curtis, October 20, 2023*

. Michael Craig’s selections are:

Race 1​- 8 Make A Call has been racing in much stronger company

7 Aethelflaed ran on strongly at 2nd race start

2 Mr Fabulous will appreciate this trip

Race 2​​ - 5 Ramble On promising efforts in 2 starts back from spell

7 Kanoozi big improvement last start

4 Icebreaker worth another chance

​​​Race 3​ - 1 Influential well placed here

5 Rimbaud has plenty of ability

10 Drift Net should run another nice race

​ ​Race 4​​ - 5 Candlelit will be hard to run down

2 Hide Your Heart finishes hard

​​11 Left Field big chance on best form

Race 5​ - 7 Diablo Bolt has trialled well

9 Likeabomb tried hard when resuming

12 Rhesus handy effort first up

Race 6​​ - 9 No More Lies narrowly beaten when resuming

​​7 Miss Bayles drawn wide but still rates highly

14 Up To Mischief chance on debut

Race 7​ - 7 Silent Raindrops can improve sharply

3 Sawrey never far away

9 Our Gold Hope stormed home at only start

Race 8​ - 8 Diabelli beaten fav. at last 3 starts

4 Patrika Mist has trialled since handy run in town

7 Jaz Tycoon gets in well after apprentice claim

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