Champion jockey Roy Higgins will be farewelled at the scene of some of his greatest triumphs, Flemington Racecourse, in a public funeral on Thursday.
The service will be held in the mounting yard before Higgins is taken on a final lap of Flemington where he won two Melbourne Cups for trainer Bart Cummings and a host of other feature races.
Higgins died on Saturday after a short illness aged 75.
His family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the National Jockeys Trust which provides assistance to the families of jockeys who have been injured or lost their lives.
Des O’Keeffe, chief executive of the Victorian Jockeys Association, said Higgins was a legendary Australian figure both on and off the track and one of his great contributions was to be the trailblazer for modern day rider relationships with all media.
The Australian flag was at half mast at the Moonee Valley race meeting on Monday with riders wearing black armbands in tribute to Higgins, an inaugural member of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame along with Cummings.
Trainer Leon Corstens, long-time foreman for Cummings, was among those at Moonee Valley who paid tribute to the late jockey.
“What can I say that hasn’t been said already?” Corstens said.
“I think I first met Roy in about 1960 and we’ve been friends ever since. Haven’t regretted one moment. He was a lovely bloke.
“He was a champion. An absolute champion.”
The Australian Turf Club will name one of Saturday’s features at Randwick after Higgins who won many major races in Sydney.
Among his 108 Group One victories were two Golden Slippers, two Sydney Cups and two Doncaster Handicaps.
“Roy won so many big races, all across the nation, and he was recognised as one of only a handful of interstate jockeys in his time to make a mark on the major Sydney carnivals,” ATC chairman Michael Crismale said.
The funeral service will begin at 1pm.
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