Cup win from a simpler time
SOME time in the late 1940s, Rex Arthur Smith and his horse Diamond won the Byron Bay Cup.
But racing was much different back then.
A dairy farmer at Talofa, just east of Bangalow, Mr Smith could make up his own mind if and when he would take a horse to the races.
He wasn’t a horse trainer per se so he didn’t have quotas to meet or owners to answer too.
But he must have been some horseman.
Family members estimate that Mr Smith stood at least six-feet tall and weighed around 75 kilograms – enough to cripple a modern galloper.
But like humans, horses were tougher back then.
Diamond was a seven-year-old crossbreed – a farm horse with no particular breeding.
It is unknown what prompted Mr Smith to tackle the Byron Bay Cup over 40 furlongs – more than twice the distance of the Melbourne Cup – but his grandson, Peter Smith, tells the story best.
“As he did every morning, my grandfather got up and milked the cows,” he said.
“Then he saddled Diamond up, rode him to Byron Bay and won the race, then turned around and rode him home, cup in hand, to milk the cows again.”
Simple as that.