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Australian Racing Hall of Fame pays tribute to Jack Purtell
08 Mar 2017 | Racing Victoria 

Australian Racing Hall of Fame member and three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Jack Purtell has died on Wednesday aged 96.

Bob Charley AO, Chairman of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame Selection Panel, paid tribute to the 2004 inductee who won seven Melbourne jockey premierships in a post-war career spanning 29 years.

“The Australian racing community has today lost a truly great racing man in Jack Purtell,” Mr Charley said.

“Jack was a remarkable jockey whose inclusion into the Hall of Fame in 2004 cemented his status as one of Australia’s best jockeys. He later served the industry as a Stipendiary Steward.

“On behalf of the Hall of Fame, I wish to pass on our respects and sympathy to Jack’s family.”
Purtell's career began as a teenager when he rode his first race winner, Bonus, on 24 April, 1937 at Mentone.

He won a Caulfield Cup four years later at the age of 20, before claiming three Melbourne Cups aboard Hiraji (1947), Wodalla (1953) and Rising Fast (1954).

He would also go on to win four W.S Cox Pates between 1950 and 1956.
From 1957 he made a number of working visits to Europe where his greatest success came when he teamed up with Vincent O'Brien to win the Irish Oaks in 1964 and the English Oaks in 1965.

Purtell won seven Melbourne premierships between 1946 and 1962, before retiring with more than 1700 winners. He then served as a VRC Stipendiary Steward for a further 15 years.

He retired from the sport altogether in 1981 – 23 years prior to his induction into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

The VRC will acknowledge Purtell’s passing with on-course flags altered to half-mast for this weekend’s Super Saturday meeting. Jockeys will wear black armbands in Race 3 as a mark of respect.

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