Episode 270: Leon Fox


Manage episode 282640798 series 2379704
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Great to catch up with 78 year old Leon Fox now in retirement in his hometown of Inverell. Leon trained horses for 20 years following a stellar riding career which saw him dubbed the “George Moore of the bush”.

Leon begins by paying tribute to his father Les Fox to whom he was apprenticed. He talks of his ordinary effort on the occasion of his first race ride, and the thrill of his first win in a little border town called Texas.

He talks of a very successful apprenticeship and the approaches he got from Sydney trainers who were keen to use his allowance.

Leon was overawed to rub shoulders with legends like Ted McMenamin, Darby Munro and Jim Pike.

The former ace jockey reflects on the day he shared in a precious piece of racing history. Two wins on the same day on the same horse at a Warwick Farm Saturday meeting.

Leon remembers the contract he was offered when Hong Kong racing went professional in the early 70’s. He stayed for 8 years.

He has some wonderful tales to tell about his Hong Kong experience, including a bomb scare at Happy Valley.

Leon talks of his association with some legendary jockeys including the man who rode to fame and fortune on the back of Secretariat.

Fox talks of his return to Australia and the life of a bush jockey. He reflects on the many highlights of his years on Northern NSW tracks, including the horrific fall in the 1988 Inverell Cup. He stayed on his feet to win that Cup.

Leon says he was one of the lucky ones when it comes to injury. He did however miss 27 months at one stage with a complicated leg break.

He pays tribute to the two bush jockeys for whom he had special admiration.

Leon looks back on one extraordinary sequence of wins he achieved on North Western tracks.

Switching to his years as a trainer, he talks affectionately of his favourite horse Tree Lopper.

The accomplished horseman makes special mention of sons Alan and Tim, and his devoted wife Jenny.

Leon was a bit of a fashion plate during his racing days. It was common to see him turn up at a bush meeting dressed to the nines. He doesn’t deny it!

For veteran racing men and for younger fans curious about Australian racing in the 50’s through to the 80’s, this is a must listen podcast.

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