2021 SA Racing Hall of Fame Inductees
Happy Trails – Horse
Happy Trails may not have had the bloodlines of many of his Group 1 opponents, but that did not stop the tough gelding having a big impact on Australian racing from 2010 through to 2016.
Purchased at the 2009 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale by trainer Paul Beshara for just $11,000 from Mill Park Stud, the striking chestnut amassed more than $3 million in prize money across his successful career.
Trained by Beshara out of Morphettville for owners Peter and Erica Dickmann and family, the son of Good Journey made an immediate impact upon his debut at Murray Bridge and only continued to improve.
He made his first appearance amongst Group 1 company in the 2012 edition of the Doncaster Mile to place sixth. The popular horse then returned in spring of the same year to win the G3 Spring Stakes at Morphettville, G2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley and the G1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington.
Among his most significant career wins were the 2013 G1 Turnbull Stakes and the 2014 G1 Mackinnon Stakes, both at Flemington. He also ran second in the 2013 Cox Plate, a race he contested three times.
The nine-year-old was retired from racing following the 2016 Spring Carnival with an outstanding record of seven wins and 17 minors from 65 career starts.
Eleanor ‘Frances’ Nelson – Associate
Eleanor ‘Frances’ Nelson has dedicated the vast majority of her life to the thoroughbred racing industry. She is a pioneer for women in racing, having been a trackwork rider, amateur jockey, owner, trainer and senior administrator at club, state, national and international level.
Nelson’s passion for racing began in the 1960s when she rode trackwork to fund herself through a Bachelor of Laws at Adelaide University.
As a trainer Nelson had success in Country, Provincial and Metropolitan areas, including winning feature races at Flemington, Coleraine, Cheltenham, Morphettville and Victoria Park.
She was the first woman elected to the committee of a Metropolitan Racing Club in Australia when she joined the committee of Oakbank Racing in 1988. She went on to hold numerous leading administration positions in the industry including Chair and Deputy Chair roles with TRSA, Jumps Racing SA, the Racing Australia Board, the Australian Pattern & Development Committee, the Jockey & Industry Participants Committee and the Jockeys Insurance Committee.
On an international level, Nelson has championed Australian thoroughbred racing via her ties to Europe, America and Hong Kong as well as serving as Vice-Chair of the Asian Racing Federation and on the IFHA Governance Review Committee.
Auraria – Horse
Foaled in 1892 by Trenton, a well-known sire of his era, Auraria was one of the most successful fillies of her time and the first South Australian horse to win the Melbourne Cup.
Owned by former Kapunda Mayor David James and trained by South Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductee John Henry Hill, Auraria amassed 10 wins across her career including some of the most prestigious races in Australia.
Impressively, four of her biggest career wins all occurred in the same week during the Spring Carnival of 1895 at Flemington, with the three-year-old claiming the Victoria Derby, the Melbourne Cup, the VRC Oaks and the Fisher Plate.
In the same year she claimed the SA Derby, the Elder Stakes, Fisher Stakes and Parkside Stakes, all run in Adelaide.
The Auraria Stakes, inaugurated in 1944 by the Port Adelaide Racing Club, was named in Auraria’s honour and continues to be run today at Morphettville as a Group 3 race for three-year-old fillies over 1800m under set weights with penalties and conditions.
J H (John Henry) Hill - Trainer
John Henry Hill was one of the best trainers of his time, training multiple Adelaide Cup winners in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
His wins included First Water in 1880, Totalizator in 1881, Sojourner in 1903 and Spinaway in 1907.
Based at St Leonards, Hill also trained the first four runners over the line in the 1881 edition of the Adelaide Cup which was won by Totalizator.
Arguably his best horse was Auraria, another South Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductee, who won the 1895 Melbourne Cup, the SA Derby, the VRC Oaks and Fisher Plate.
Hill also trained two Australian Cup winners in 1881 and 1894.
Robert Kingsford Cook - Jockey
Robert ‘Bob’ Kingsford Cook is one of Australia’s all-time best jumps jockeys. He is the first jumps jockey to be inducted into the South Australian Racing Hall of Fame.
In a career spanning from 1960 to 1971, Cook had 839 rides and more than 200 winners.
Across his career he won all of the major jumps races in Adelaide and Melbourne. At age 19, he was the first apprentice to win the VRC Grand National in 1962. As an apprentice he also won the Great Eastern Steeple and Harry D Young on Blue Gum.
In the 1963/64 season, Cook set the record for 21 wins in the Metro area and nine in the Provincial/Country. During that season he had 62 rides for 30 wins, 12 seconds and 13 third placings, a record that still stands today.
Other career highlights include winning the 1963 Grand National Steeple at Victoria Park on Typique as well as the 1966 Grand National Steeple and Great Eastern on Koorashali