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August 11, 2021

The Australian Turf Club is happy to announce the ‘Australian Turf Club Owner of the Month’ is Mervyn Wood.

Mervyn Wood has enjoyed many winners over the last month, including Perigord, Steely, Frosty Rocks and Night of Power. Wood has also been a loyal ATC Member for 45 years. The ATC congratulates Mervyn Wood on his successes over the last month.

The newly introduced Owner of the Month allows us to share Owners’ experiences and memories like Mervyn Wood’s with our fellow Owners.

What was your first memory of horse racing?

After being transferred from Brisbane to Sydney in my job, I was taken to the races for my first visit by a work colleague. His horse won, and the excitement, the joyfulness and the thrill won me.

What made you get into horse ownership?

It was then I decided this was for me, so I spoke to my colleague’s trainer and formulated a plan to buy a horse.

Best moment you ever experienced on the racetrack as an Owner?

Have had some fantastic experiences but right up there is the win of Peltzer in the Bondi Stakes after winning it the year before with Kubrick.

What horse do you have the fondest memories of and why?

My fondest memory is the first horse I ever purchased as Lot 6 in the Inglis Premier Sale in 1972. I chose her myself with my criteria. I wanted a grey filly by the same sire as my colleague’s horse, born on my birthday (yes, I know but I was a beginner). The filly (tick) was by Minor Portion (tick) from Ra Ora born on my birthday 22 October (tick) but was a bay.

Sensibly I thought that was close enough.

She won the Flight Stakes, the Furious Stakes, the Waterloo Handicap, and the AJC Stakes. When I retired her, Nelson Bunker Hunt purchased her. I then set up my new business that kept me amused for the next 39 years.

What is the best horse you have ever owned and why were they so special?

This is Peltzer but the most special is Steely. Bought at the Inglis Ready to Run Sale he did not present well but both Gerald Ryan and myself thought he looked special so we bought him. He turned out to be the horse that won more races (equal) than any other horse in NSW in the season just completed. With more city winners than his two other equal winners and looks like kicking on after a short break.

What current horse that you are in ownership of are most looking forward to seeing progress over the upcoming months?

‘Blue Sky’ keeps racing interesting and my “Blue sky” for this new season is Ellsberg. My home bred Dijon runs a close second.

Favourite part of the race day experience as an Owner?

The camaraderie of the racing fraternity is absent now, but when we get out of this mess, the run up to the race, talking to fellow owners and friends, the exultation of winning, the temporary down of defeat, and the endless analysing of the race all contribute to an overall great experience.

What is the best raceday experience you have ever had?

Swiss Cotton was entered in the 1993 Belle of the Turf at Gosford but was 28/1. I thought she could win and told doubting relatives. She won and the brewery rep who presented the trophies also backed her so the after drinks in a small room under the grand stand became noisy. The mare went to found a dynasty for me and some of her descendants are still racing for me today.

What is the best post raceday celebration you have had as an owner?

Kind Lady (yes I got brownie points for that) won at Canterbury Park the day before I got married, and won next at Royal Randwick the day we arrived back from our honeymoon. This really made an impression on my new bride and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and the odd glass or 7. I am not into large gatherings so this was momentous.

What piece of advice would you give people looking to get into horse ownership?

The best entry is to find a trainer who buys yearlings at sales and on-sells them at near his cost to small owners. Get the feel of costs, ups and downs, and how you are treated before venturing any further. The social side should be brilliant.

What horse would you have most liked to own and why?

Quite happy with my horses. I have stopped feeling upset about horses I could have had a share in that have become good winners.

What is your favourite story of one of your retired horses and their life after racing?

I recently retired Belves, my last mare (I was in that town in France when she was born). She was a great producer for me but when I decided I want my pleasures now and not in three years I retired her. I gave her to Newcastle Equine Clinic for them to use to improve knowledge of reproduction. Having been a client of the clinic for a very long time I am convinced that she will be cared for as well as I cared for her.

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