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BY Adrian Dunn - @AdrianDunn2
11 months ago Horse Owners

Len Marshall and Pat Hyland reminisce about Sundown racecourse opening

LEN Marshall and Pat Hyland had been quibbling for days about the 50th anniversary of the opening of Sandown racecourse. Marshall had been adamant he’d won a race on Betatip; Hyland said he was talking what he was shovelling at his Pyingerra Park stables in Clyde, about 60 kilometres south-east of Melbourne.
Stephanie Jones, who works in PR for the Melbourne Racing Club, resolved the discussion between the brothers-in-law (Marshall is the brother of Hyland’s wife Maree) when she produced a bound black book that housed the racebook from the opening meeting on June 19, 1965. Hyland was right, Betatip finished fifth in the Sandown Stakes won by Samson, who for a time held the record for the most wins at the track - seven.
But Marshall didn’t break stride at such news. He recalled with great satisfaction that Tobacco Leaf - another of his rides on the opening day, which drew 52,379, an attendance that has never been bettered at a horse racing meeting at the venue - had been a wonderful horse to him.
“Won 18 races on him, including the Eclipse Stakes (1964), where I beat Patrick Hyland and Roy Higgins,” Marshall said. “Jockeys weren’t allowed to bet back then either, but my Dad backed it and so did some others and they had a plastic bag filled with money. I bought a new EH Holden and decked out the house from front to back.”
Marshall’s son Simon won the 1990 Eclipse Stakes on Prince Gano, trained by Ross...


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