The Banjo Paterson Series commences on Andrew Ramsden Stakes Day, and is named after revered author and poet Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson. (Australian Racing Museum)
BY ANDREW LEMON
Paterson had a lifelong love affair with horses. Polo matches, picnic races and riding his own pony were all part of his early life in country NSW. After moving to Sydney and qualifying as a solicitor, he began submitting poetry to The Bulletin under the pseudonym “The Banjo”, the name of a racehorse his father had owned.
His various careers included jockey, horse trainer in the Middle East during WWI and racing journal editor, but it’s his wonderful bush ballads and poems – such as The Man From Snowy River – that truly reflect his equine passion. In 1886 he published A Dream of the Melbourne Cup; the first of many racing ballads, including Old Pardon, the Son of Reprieve, The Open Steeplechase, Rio Grande’s Last Race and The Wargilah Handicap.
Long-time racing administrator, Bob Charley, AO, is a staunch advocate of Banjo Patterson. Bob has been inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame as an Associate this year.
Charley’s industry involvement has also included trainer, owner, breeder, punter, commentator, magazine publisher and historian. He was also chairman of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame from 2011-2018.