Harry White Australian Jockey
Harry White Inducted In Australian Racing Hall of Fame In 2003
Like athletes in all sports, the career arc for jockeys is subject to many possible variations.
Some appear seemingly out of nowhere, amass significant wins, and then inexplicably fade from sight.
Others seem to labor in obscurity with little recognition for long periods of time until a singular spectacular moment defines them.
Harry White Melbourne Cup Specialist
Still others enjoy long and productive careers that seem to gain momentum and spur further achievement.
The unique angle on these different career arcs, when applied to racing, is that owners and trainers have a significant investment of time and money in obtaining and preparing thoroughbreds, and therefore need to identify riders who can optimize their return on the investments.
Jockeys, for one reason or another, often are categorised as being proficient in one area, but deficient in another. Some have reputations for high performance on heavy tracks; others seem to have an above average grasp on optimum racing tactics, and a few are known for getting decent results from horses of less than stellar capabilities.
One area where this observation is keenly seen is in regard to distance. Some jockeys are perceived to be at their best aboard stayers and some seem to perform better in middle distance or sprint events.
A jockey by the name of Harry White can be used to supply a case in point.
Harry White, for some reason, was seen as superior in staying races, but he also quietly compiled an enviable record in sprints.
35 Years In The Business Of Riding Winners
He enjoyed career longevity, 35 years to be more precise. He also experienced monumental success, being, along with Bobby Lewis, the only man to record four Melbourne Cup victories.
That alone would probably account for the perception that White was a stayer specialist. Add to those four wins two Caulfield Cups and a Cox Plate and it is perfectly reasonable to see why this is so.
Harry White, however, did do quite adequately at shorter distances. He won thrice in the Newmarket Handicap, the Oakleigh Plate and the Futurity Stakes.
Objectively approached, it would have to be said that White was versatile beyond doubt.
Most certainly amongst his chief accomplishments would be the fact that he not only won four Melbourne Cups, but that two of them included the seldom equaled feat of a double in 1974 and 1975, courtesy of Think Big.
1978 And 1979 Wins
His second two were also consecutive, in 1978 and 1979, but these times required the services of two different thoroughbreds, respectively Arwon and Hyperno.
For his 1972 and 1977 Caulfield Cup wins, White utilised the services of Sobar for the first and Ming Dynasty for the second. Ten years after, in 1987, Rubiton was the deliverer of White’s Cox Plate win, completing his accumulation of Australia’s Triple Crown.
Way back in 1964 was White’s first major win, the Duke of Norfolk Stakes. He would add four more victories in that same race to his total. He also won five Australian Cups.
Harry White retired from racing in 1995. He had won nearly 200 feature races during his stint aboard some of the finest champions of the turf, including 60 at Group 1 level of the equivalent, since some of his victories occurred prior to the deployment of the current classification system. He accumulated four Melbourne jockeys’ premierships along the way.
Harry White Cool Customer
White’s peers in the jockeys’ room, when recollecting competing alongside him, offered the observation that White never seemed to experience pre-race jitters, no matter the significance of the race and was often seen to be sleeping just prior to the start. A few, somewhat tongue in cheek, say he was taking a nap during the ride aboard Think Big in the Cup victories, after the start and before the finish.
This was more a commentary on White’s ability to preserve his mount so as to have plenty in reserve for the final stretch.
Upon his 1995 retirement, White took up cattle ranching at a station near Gisbane. He certainly does deserve to be remembered for his stupendous record in significant long distance events, but on balance it is fair to mention that he was competent at all distances. He also deserves credit for the boost he supplied to the reputations of Bart Cummings and George Hanlon.
Harry White was enshrined alongside the other great jockeys of Australia in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.