Bobby Lewis Australian Jockey
Bobby Lewis Wins 4 Melbourne Cups In Total
Bobby Lewis: Many an Algebra teacher has implored a student to study with the admonitions that, “Someday, Algebra will save your life.”
It is less likely that those teachers sought enhanced effort by saying, “One day, Algebra will show you the quickest route around Flemington so that you can win the Melbourne Cup.”
Either one of those admonitions would have fallen upon deaf ears had they been directed at jockey Robert (Bobby) Lewis, even if Lewis had been present to hear them. He in fact had no formal education, but he did not let that prevent him from finding the fastest route round Flemington on four separate occasions, a feat that has never been surpassed, only equaled.
Bobby Lewis was the ninth child of a Welsh miner by the name of Thomas Lewis and a British lass named Martha Ann Miller. It was she who instilled a love of horses in her son.
She herself was a proficient horsewoman and Bobby’s father contributed to the cause by prohibiting young Lewis from using a saddle whilst riding. Bobby had an older brother who earned his living breaking horses.
It was he who provided instruction to Bobby, passing along his knowledge of breeding, along with the ability to assess a horse’s value.
These skills would prove to be more valuable to Bobby Lewis than the few years of formal education that he abandoned as a 10-year-old, having never even gained complete literacy.
Lewis won his first race at a country track in 1892 and within three years had won his first at a metropolitan venue. His talent was apparent to such a degree that his trainer took him to England in 1899, but Bobby missed the clean air and sunshine and returned to Australia in short order.
Bobby Lewis And Jim Scobie
Bobby Lewis spent the next 40 years with trainer Jim Scobie, an alliance that was to prove more than a little beneficial to both individuals. An additional link-up with Eric Connolly produced a team that influenced racing for the better part of one entire generation and part of another.
Unlike many jockeys past and present, Bobby Lewis had the good fortune to not have to battle to maintain his weight until the twilight of his career. It was not until his victory aboard Trivalve in the 1927 Melbourne Cup that he had to expend any effort to lose weight.
Only Harry White has equaled Lewis for Melbourne Cup victories, with both men able to claim four. Lewis’s record was unchallenged for nearly 50 years before White first raised the Cup.
Those four victories spanned 25 years, which is remarkable in and of itself. The first was in 1902 when he steered The Victory.
The next did not come until 13 years later, when Patrobas was victorious in 1915. Four years later it was Artilleryman in 1919 before Trivalve provided the fourth in 1927. Bobby Lewis also had to his credit no fewer than 8 victories in the Victoria Derby and the VRC St. Legers. There were also five Fisher Plates to add to that.
Best Rider Ever
Many racing experts, both professional and amateur, thought Lewis was the best rider they had ever seen.
He was known to ride with a soft touch and to ride long in order to gain for himself a clear view of his competitor’s tactics and strategies. Another hallmark of Lewis’s career was that he ran afoul of racing authorities only once, that for an incident at Royal Randwick in 1925 that resulted in a suspension but that many felt was the fault of the other rider involved.
Retired In 1938
Bobby Lewis retired in 1938 after devoting 46 years of his life to racing.
He rod more than 900 winners, and was sixty years of age when he last sat in a saddle. He had just nine years of life left to him, passing away in March of 1947. Those figures would have certainly made any teacher of Algebra say that he had done alright with his numbers.
Bobby Lewis was rightfully inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2002.