Day At The Track

Some wins mean more than others

06:27 PM 26 Oct 2019 NZDT
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Vampiro holds off stablemate Ana Malak,Harness racing
Scott Hamilton Photo

The win of Vampiro in this year’s edition of the Listed Classic the Howard Porter Memorial was especially significant for reinsman Colin Brown.

He had been trying to win the Porter Memorial for more than 30 years since the time he was private trainer for Howard Porter’s sons Ron and Lyall and manager of their Milson Lodge Stud at Armadale.

Brown had been trying to establish himself as a trainer when the Porter family gave him that opportunity in 1984 and in the ensuing five years he trained 37 winners for the Porters.

Vampiro also gave trainers Greg and Skye Bond their first success in the Porter Memorial and the Bond/Brown combination has had enormous success over the years and last night’s success was the 673rd for the pair.

Vampiro was the second leg of a winning treble in successive races for the Bond stable after wins in the Group Three Preux Chevalier with Ana Afreet and with El Jacko. Both Ana Afreet and El Jacko were driven by Dylan Egerton-Green substituing for the suspended Ryan Warwick.

It was an emotional catch-up post-race between Brown and Fran Porter the 92yo widow of Lyall Porter who attended last night’s meeting.

Lyall Porter was in the national spotlight in the late seventies and early eighties as the owner/breeder of Inter Dominion winner San Simeon.

Among the 37 winners that Brown trained for the Porters was a heat and final of the 1989 Christmas Gift with Simeon Bay.

Brown has now trained 848 winners and sits in 11th place on the all-time list of Western Australia’s leading trainers while the 2947 winners he has driven places him second only to Chris Lewis in terms of drivers.

Milson John Howard Porter succeeded J P Stratton as President of the WA Trotting Association in 1966 and remained as President until 1969.

Howard Porter was a foundation member of the Fremantle Trotting Club and served that club for more than 30 years as a committeeman including eight years as President.

He was a highly successful trainer whose 119 winners included a WA Pacing Cup, WA Derby and three Fremantle Cups.

He served in the 9th Light Horse, 26th Reinforcement in the first World War and upon his return he worked in his father’s coach building business.

Howard Porter still operates today building a range of truck bodies although the Porter family sold their interest in the company in the early nineties.

In the thirties Howard Porter built the first six horse and nine horse trucks in Western Australia.

Their drivers did the rounds picking up horses and returning them after the races when it was virtually a monopoly business at the time.

The Porter company built a wide variety of vehicles including a mobile film unit for the dairy branch of the Department of Agriculture and ambulances for the Northern Territory medical services.

Howard Porter shares with James Brennan, J P Stratton and Sir Frank Ledger the honour of having a front straight grandstand at Gloucester Park named in his honour.

Alan Parker

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