On Tuesday afternoon, at Royal Randwick Racecourse a modest number, all horse racing related folk and media, gathered to launch the life story of popular racehorse trainer Pat Webster.
The Randwick-based one, not the trainer of the same name who mentors a small team up at Dalby in Queensland.
This book celebrates the always smiling, hat-wearing Sydney Webster, who as many would know, is the one who puts the polish on the great HAPPY CLAPPER, winner of $7.2million in prizemoney and as great as that is, it would have topped $10million if there hadn’t been a wonder horse named Winx.
Webster’s life story has been beautifully written and presented by Alan J. Whiticker in a book called: Don’t Die Wondering: The Pat Webster Story.
It captures the trainers highs and lows, his lifelong struggles, from when a drover’s son earning pittance weekly, to making his way to Sydney and finding stalls at Headquarters.
It earmarks how he battled to get any sort of numbers as he faced the might of the huge stables, and then it takes a turn for the better when we get introduced to Happy Clapper. His rise until now, even as a 9YO still running astonishing times in winning Gr 1 races.
Old Happy Clapper is the horse we all dream about. So honest, so gifted, so versatile, so tenacious.
He could run faster than a speeding bullet, was more powerful than a locomotive, was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, winning along his merry way 12 races, placing 17 other times from his 44 starts.
He was/is a colossus of a racehorse who could do it all – except beat the queen, Winx.
Webster takes us through his frustration of training Happy, one of the best race horses ever, but a horse who had to bow at the hands of Winx 11 times in 11 starts. He was runner-up to her 5 times, all at Gr 1 level and was 3rd behind her at that top level too.
But overall, Don’t Die Wondering is a book of pure joy and overcoming adversity in a life well spent in the racing game.
It’s a tribute to a great bloke, who doubles as a mentor and helper to disadvantaged racing folk too.
It’s worth the read.