Cup stopped a town

John Letts re­calls his 1980 win at the Mel­bourne Cup

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Marissa New­man marissa.new­man@cnbtimes.com.au

IT’S not ev­ery day that there is a Mel­bourne Cup-win­ning jockey in Mount Perry.

As part of the Mel­bourne Cup tour, John Letts spoke of his win on Bel­dale Ball while vis­it­ing the North Bur­nett.

“It was an in­ter­est­ing one be­cause I had never heard of Bel­dale Ball,” he said.

Bel­dale Ball was an Amer­i­can horse that was owned by Robert Sangstar, who didn’t quite live up to ex­pec­ta­tions in Aus­tralia.

“Some­times you feel that there is some­one up there look­ing af­ter you and I saw him run in the Moonee Val­ley Cup,” Mr Letts said.

Upon see­ing Bel­dale Ball race, Mr Letts asked Colin Hayes for the name of the horse.

“He said, ‘That’s Bel­dale Ball, he’s not much good’,” he said.

But Mr Letts saw his po­ten­tial and thought “I would ride him in the Mel­bourne Cup”.

He was told by Hayes there was a bet­ter horse that he could ride and he had un­til the next day to make up his mind.

“So I said that I would ride Bel­dale Ball and I won’t ride the other one and he said, ‘You picked the wrong one’.”

Mr Letts then rode Bel­dale Ball on the Satur­day and he rode sec­ond.

“When I came in, as you know, ev­ery­body goes to the win­ning stall and they all went to Bo­hemian Grove and I ran sec­ond, Robert came up to me af­ter that had died down a lit­tle bit and said, ‘What did you think of the Mel­bourne Cup on Tues­day’,” he said.

Mr Letts told Robert Sangstar that he would win the race.

“He replied with, ‘I think Bo­hemian Grove will’, and I said ‘No he won’t,’ I said he

❝ Some­times you feel that there is some­one up there look­ing af­ter you. — John Letts

will never beat this horse ever again in his life.”

Mr Letts be­lieved Bel­dale Ball would win the Mel­bourne Cup.

“I said that will be one of your big­gest wins.”

When Mr Letts won the Cup on the Tues­day he came in af­ter the race and said to Robert Sangstar, “What do you think now of the Mel­bourne Cup?”

“He said, ‘This is the great­est race in the world’.”

Robert Sangstar was the lead­ing owner in the world at that stage.

PHOTO: MARISSA NEW­MAN

CUP ROY­ALTY: John Letts re­calls win­ning a Mel­bourne Cup on Bel­dale Ball.

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