Race day holds special place in Henry 'Boyd' Gageler's heart

Aberdeen Cup stirs up memories for veteran horseman

THE Aberdeen Cup has a special place in Henry “Boyd” Gageler’s heart.

And, the Muswellbrook Race Club Life Member made no secret of that fact at Skellatar Park on Sunday.

The 95-year-old bred, owned and trained horses for more than four decades, winning the 1960 Aberdeen Cup at Aberdeen – before it closed down after big floods in 1971 – with his mare Flower Vale.

Gageler also triumphed on the same track with Gendilla on Cup day in 1963, with teenage apprentice Scone’s Tommy Ollerton, now 70, in the saddle.

“Yes, I won a few races at Aberdeen,” he admitted.

“But, I remember that [Cup] victory like it was yesterday.

“There are a lot of great memories [from back then].

“Even though there’s no racetrack at Aberdeen anymore, it’s good to see the Cup still being raced at neighbouring Muswellbrook.

“I love getting out to the meetings whenever I can – and catching up with the likes of Tommy.”

Gendila was one of many rides Ollerton had at Aberdeen in his career.

He went on to train successfully but, now, only has a couple of horses in work.

His Newcastle-based son Rodney is also highly-regarded within the industry.

Gendila later bred winners for Gageler and his wife Francis, including Stars and Stripes.

He was a Red Gauntlet colt who, sold at Sydney yearling sales, won 11 races, including seven in Sydney, and later three in America.

Gageler, born at Denman and raised on the family’s dairy at Sandy Hollow (that later became Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm stud), also recalled the impressive feats of two of his gallopers, Silver Cape and Sovereign Miss.

“We got into breeding in the late 1950s with two sisters, Silver Cape and Race Tip, a Cessnock maiden winner,” he said.

“Silver Cape won 25 races for us including the annual Corinthian Handicap for amateur riders at Randwick and the Cessnock, Grenfell and Merriwa Cups.

“They presented the first foals out of these mares at yearling sales in 1961, but we took one of them, a filly got by Genetout from Silver Cape, home.

“Sovereign Miss won 16 races for me, including one at Randwick.

“Ironically, we had another horse called Silver Cape – many years later – who enjoyed success at Muswellbrook.”

One of the biggest thrills the Gagelers received in more than half a century of breeding and racing was when Iga Ninja, a horse they bred and sold at the Sydney yearling sales, led in the straight before finishing a close seventh in the 1988 Golden Slipper.

Owned and trained by Howard Rodger, Iga Ninja contested 13 juvenile races for three Randwick victories including the Canonbury Stakes, a third in the Skyline Stakes and fourths in the Breeder’s Plate and Todman Slipper Trial.

Later the sire of winners from very restricted use, Iga Ninja was bred by the Gagelers on Rosehill, a small farm they ran on the fringe of Muswellbrook.

Iga Ninja was by their resident Biscay stallion Sylvester from Royal Lassie, a mare by the prolific Queensland sire Pandour.

The Gagelers bred 10 winners from Royal Lassie and seven from Iga Ninja’s sister Union Girl, herself a winner of five races.