Finalists – Dedication to Racing Award
17 May, 2021
There may never be two more worthy nominees for the Dedication to Racing award than Gary Fennessy and John Brady.
Between them, Gary and John have given more than 120 years to the racing game.
And they have done so with extraordinary loyalty and devotion, having each remained at one stable since the day they started work.
Gary’s commitment began when he went to work for Colin (CS) Hayes in Melbourne in the mid-1960s, and it continues today with the third generation of the same family.
“I met CS when I was 16 and he gave me a job at the Melbourne stables which at that time consisted of eight boxes and four yards,” Fennessy said.
“He was the greatest mentor anyone could’ve had. He listened to every word you said, and he respected what you had to say.
After 18 months in Melbourne, Fennessy, who is known to all in racing as “Bim”, transferred to the original Hayes stables at Semaphore in Adelaide, but as his boss increased his focus on Victorian racing, he returned to Melbourne to become foreman of the stable that was to become one of the most powerful in Australia.
Horses like the Cox Plate winners Dulcify and So Called benefitted from Fennessy’s care, as did the Melbourne Cup winner Jeune “an unbelievable galloper” and one of his earliest favourites, the 1974 Victoria Derby winner Haymaker.
He also accompanied Better Loosen Up on his illustrious Japan Cup mission.
“We thought he could win, it was a fabulous trip, a fabulous result,” he said.
On Colin Hayes’ retirement, “Bim” continued with his sons Peter and David and with Tony McEvoy who took over from the latter when he went to Hong Kong in the 1990s.
With David Hayes’ return to Hong Kong in 2020, Fennessy was “inherited” by the third generation of the Hayes family and is now an assistant trainer on the Ben Hayes-Tom Dabernig team.
Fennessy’s 54 years with the Hayes family is an outstanding innings, one only rivalled by fellow finalist John Brady.
The man known to all at Randwick as “Crewie” started work with the legendary Tommy Smith in 1953 – and is still on the job at Tulloch Lodge 68 years later.
At the age of 84, Crewie is the first to turn up at the stable every morning, beating even his boss Gai Waterhouse through the gate.
Crewie experienced the rise to the top of a racing stable that was the most dominant in Australia and is a rare link to the champions of several eras – and to the horse he is admant, was the best of them all.
“There hasn’t been another one like Tulloch, he was a wonderful horse. To do what he did after he got very sick was something I’ll never forget.”
The memory of his old boss is also clear to Crewie who recalls Smith as a hard man with a great eye.
“TJ was always ahead of the others, he thought differently,” he said.
Smith’s daughter and Crewie’s current boss at Tulloch Lodge, Gai Waterhouse, praised her longest-serving member of staff as a man with a knowledge of horses that is “second to none”.
“Crewie arrived at my father’s yard as a small boy with a crew cut and he’s been working in these stables for nearly 70 years,” she said.
“He has strapped and ridden some of the best horses to race in Australia and the knowledge he has of horse care and animal welfare is second to none.
“Adrian (Bott) and I feel very proud to be working with such a man who is loved by everyone at Tulloch Lodge.”
Crewie was nominated for the Dedication To Racing award by colleague Camille Dennis who says he commands the greatest respect from all at the stable.
“His younger colleagues know that it pays to listen when he has some advice or a story,” she said.
“He’s a fantastic role model for everyone working here.”
As for being a finalist in the Stud and Stable Staff Awards, Crewie is “overwhelmed”.
“It’s one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me.”