BENDIGO harness racing historian Noel Ridge is on a hunt to locate a quartet of missing Bendigo Pacing Cup race finish photos.
Hanging proudly on the walls of the Bendigo Harness Racing Club's history and memorabilia collection, situated underneath the Lord's Raceway grandstand, are the photos of 53 of the 57 winners of the Cup race., starting with Kalama's Peak in 1965, up to and including Wolf Stride, who won the 2021 edition of the Cup last month.
Ridge and Norm West are the curators of the collection and are keen to fill the gaps and hope members of the public, or relatives of the winning connections will be able to help.
Missing are photos of the 1969 winner Adapter, who was driven by Jack Hargreaves; 1970 victor Tara Meadow (George Gath); 1972 division two winner Monara (Don Dove); and Tailamade Lombo, who saluted in 2000 with Chris Alford in the sulky.
Curiously, Lord's Raceway, which opened to much fanfare on November, 17, 1954, did not run a Cup race until 1965.
While there is an interesting story attached to each cup win and behind each of the hidden gems in the collection, which includes dozens of famous racing silks, trophies, sulkies, race programs, books and presentation rugs, there is also a tale behind each of the non-inclusions, according to Ridge.
"In 1969, when Adapter won, we have been told that the photographer's camera broke down, so there was no photo of the finish taken," he said.
"Even though he won the Miracle Mile in Sydney later on and went to America, there is no photo of him winning the Bendigo Cup.
"The owners don't even have one, so that's a complete mystery.
"George Gath (in 1970), somehow no one seemed to get, and the same with Monara in 1972. The racecourse photographer during those years passed away many years ago, so reproducing the photos from negatives is not possible.
"Tailamade Lombo in 2000 seems to be a case of neglect. We do have the colours here, but we haven't uncovered a photo yet.
"It's something I haven't chased up with Mick Lombardo, but he had so many horses that he might not have Tailamade Lombo winning the Bendigo Cup, but you'd like to think he has."
Ridge said the collection had been the beneficiary of much generosity throughout its short existence, with a missing 1971 Cup photo of Maryborough's Miss Raidal the last to be borrowed for reproduction about two years ago.
He hopes the remaining four might one day be uncovered to complete the Cup winners photo collection.
He said another priority. for the collection was finding the authentic 'white tyred' wheels from the wide American sulky used by Maori's Idol when he became the first Australian trotter to break two minutes with a time of 1:59.3 in November, 1977, at Moonee Valley.
The sulky was donated to the collection by the family of the late trainer-driver Kevin Innes, who acquired the sulky after it was used by the connections of several horses to improve their record in a time trial at the Moonee Valley track.
"We're not actually sure if the sulky came from America with those wheels on it, or whether they were put on over here," he said.
The sulky is one of a dozen historical race sulkies housed at Lord's Raceway, but is not currently on display.
Anyone with information should contact the Bendigo Harness Racing Club on 5449 3205.
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