AS we head into the heart of the Spring Carnival, 2016 sparks many memories for Scone resident and local icon Betty Shepherd.
This year celebrates the 50th anniversary since Betty was the first licensed female trainer to have a runner in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup with her horse Trevors.
Believed to be the first ever woman to be granted a training license in Australia, Betty considered it more of a hobby, keeping only two or three horses in work at a time.
Betty and her husband Archie kept the horses on their property on the outside of Scone where she would ride one and lead one (or two) through town every morning to the old White Park Racetrack where Archie would time her as she put them through their paces.
It wasn’t long before Betty struck success with a her first horse Quick Knock who won six races, but her biggest achievements were with a gelding called Trevors.
Trevors was acquired for very little and was broken in by Betty who formed an inseparable bond with the horse over its racing career.
After a huge amount of local and city success, including the Listed McKell Cup and Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes, Betty decided to take the horse to Melbourne for a Spring campaign.
Trevors was described as very unlucky in the Caulfield Cup where he finished fourth in a photo finish and went on to run in the Melbourne Cup, finishing mid field.
The gelding who became some what of a local champion won 14 races for Betty, even stirring interest from some American buyers, but sadly passed away from unknown causes shortly afterwards.
Along with training, Betty also dabbled in breeding and was one of the first females to ever take a yearling through the ring at the Inglis Horse Sales.
Betty would handle and prepare the horses for the sales, but only men would ever take them through the ring in those times.
When a male handler failed to show up, Betty had no hesitation in doing the job herself.
Although there were a few hushes and funny looks, Betty showed no signs of this bothering her, getting the job done.
As well as reflecting back on these wonderful achievements, Betty has more recently played an integral part of bringing to life some of these memories for the current renovations of the old Thoroughbred Hotel.
Betty’s story and historic images will be displayed along side other local racing memorabilia planned for the interior of the new venue which will host a quality bakery, upmarket bar and restaurant, and 12 rooms for accommodation upstairs.
“We hope that Betty’s story will inspire other local young racing enthusiasts”, says local marketing and design consultant Kriston Harris.
“But most importantly it will be up on the wall to share for many generations to come.
“Stories such as Betty’s is a big part of what we are trying to achieve as part of the rebuild of The Thoroughbred.
“We have so many amazing local stories and achievements just like Betty’s, so it will be wonderful to see them displayed and shared for many years to come.”
Betty will be joining Bill Howey in officially opening the new venue on completion of the renovations early in the New Year.
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