Historic Doncaster bid by Ethiopia

Ethiopia will span 100 years of Doncaster Hcp history if he can win the Group 1 Mile at Randwick this Saturday.

Ethiopia (Helenus) is a homebred for West Australian owner Trevor Delroy and bookmakers have kept him safe on the sixth line of Doncaster markets behind short-priced favourite Pierro.

He was bred at Delroy’s Wyadup Valley Farm in the Sunspeed State and left the west, via Pat Carey’s Mornington stables, to win the G1 Australian Derby at Randwick twelve months ago.

Exactly 100 years ago, another WA galloper named Jolly Beggar won the 1913 Doncaster Hcp for renowned horseman Paddy Connolly.  Perth’s leading owner-trainer for many years, he had won the 1905 Melbourne Cup with Blue Spec.

Jolly Beggar (Ayr Laddie – Lady Trenville by Trenton) cost Connolly 85 guineas as a yearling.  His sire Ayr Laddie (Ayrshire) stood at Widden Stud as did Lochiel (Prince Charlie), Grafton (Galopin), Maltster (Bill of Portland), Linacre (Wolf’s Crag) and Valais (Cicero).

Together, those six stallions won 21 Australian premierships for Widden between 1900 and 1929.

Jolly Beggar’s older half-sister Trenville’s Daughter (Grafton) also foaled two feature winners by Ayr Laddie – Ayrville (WATC Derby) and Lucky Beggar (Karrakatta Plate).

In a 40 start career Jolly Beggar won 12 races, the first of them on debut when he was promoted by Perth stewards after finishing second in a juvenile sprint to Baressa.  The placings were reversed when officials discovered the ‘winner’ was actually a three year-old!

Before heading east, he made history as the first horse to win the Karrakatta Plate, WATC Derby and Perth Cup.

Jolly Beggar was a rising seven year-old when he won the Doncaster in 1913.  The sturdy black stallion controlled the race from the outset and was untroubled to win by more than a length

Retired to Maddington Stud in what’s now a busy Perth suburb, Jolly Beggar was Champion West Australian sire on seven occasions.  His progeny included multiple winners of the Railway Stakes (4) and Karrakatta Plates (3).  He died aged 26 in November 1933.

Another Perth owned Doncaster Hcp winner was the Robert Holmes a Court gelding Lawman.  The big chestnut weaved between runners in the straight to swamp front-running mare Ducatoon in the 1981 Mile.

Lawman (Boucher – Quote by Wilkes) cost Holmes a Court $21,000 at the 1978 Inglis Easter yearling sale.  Six months after the Doncaster, he was runner-up in Kingston Town’s second Cox Plate.

Ethiopia has links with both Doncaster winners.  His sire Helenus, who died earlier this month, was also bred at Widden Stud.  And Holmes a Court’s youngest son Paul stood Helenus when he retired to Heytesbury Stud in 2004.

– Karl Patterson

Heytesbury Stud miler overhauls Ducatoon in the 1981 Doncaster Hcp