Racing Victoria recently released the 2024 Victorian Jumps Racing Program and within it have announced the introduction of the Adam Lindsay Gordon Series.
The new series is an initiative by the AJRA to promote the rich history of jumps racing in the Western Districts and the contribution made by Adam Lindsay Gordon in Victoria and South Australia from 1853 to 1870.
A champion horseman and internationally recognised poet, Gordon was a rider, trainer and owner who was well respected as a keen competitor dedicated to the development of horse racing but particularly jumps events.
Older racing enthusiasts are generally aware of Australian poets Henry Lawson and Andrew “ Banjo “ Paterson but both were only youngsters when Gordon was writing stirring poems such as the race-themed “‘Fields of Coleraine” or quoting the lines which frequently appeared when autograph books were popular.
Born in England in 1833, Gordon developed a love of horses and literature before arriving in South Australia. He became a member of the South Australian Mounted Police initially based in Penola. Subsequently Gordon served for two years in the South Australian Parliament before concentrating on jumps riding, training and poetry writing.
Records show Gordon had wide ranging participation and success in jumps events at racecourses across the large area between Adelaide and Flemington. Tall and gaunt, Gordon weighed only 61.6 kg yet was 190.5 cm tall. Defective eyesight meant that not far beyond a horse’s head was a blur! His favourite event was the Great Western Steeple at Coleraine.
Towards the end of his life, Gordon suffered severe injuries from a fall while returning from training his horse at Dowling Forest to the stables at Craig’s Hotel in Ballarat where he was in charge.
Adam Lindsay Gordon died in 1870 and is buried along with his daughter in the Brighton General Cemetery in Melbourne. In recognition of his ability as a poet a bust is included in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey amongst some of England’s finest writers. He is included in the Australian Jumping Racing Association’s ‘’Gallery of Champions”.
Today there are many reminders of Gordon’s life at Dingley Dell cottage at Port Macdonnell S.A, a bust at Penola; a monument to a daring ride beside the Blue Lake in Mt Gambier; a former cottage moved to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens; a road side monument near Coleraine Racing Club; a hitching post in Brighton and a statue near Treasury Place in Melbourne.
The Adam Lindsay Gordon Trophy series has been introduced with agreement between Racing Victoria, Country Racing Victoria, the Australian Jumping Racing Association; racing clubs at Ballarat, Casterton, Coleraine and Hamilton and the Adam Lindsay Gordon Commemorative Committee (ALGCC ). A jumps event will be held at four tracks throughout the season with points awarded to the winning trainees and place-getters based on finishing position (5 points for first, 3 points for second and 1 point for third).
The series will take place at the following locations:
- Hamilton, Thursday 30 May
- Casterton, Sunday 30 June
- Coleraine, Sunday 11 August
- Ballarat, Sunday 25 August
A trophy provided by the AJRA will be awarded to the series winning trainer.
The Victorian Jumps Racing Season will commence on Tuesday, 12 March 2024 at Warrnambool and will again conclude at Ballarat on Sunday, 25 August with the Grand National Steeplechase.