Farewell Mary Sadler
In the September 2015 edition of Insideracing, Helen Sadler wrote about her amazing mother, Mary, who aged 107 was still going to the races. Mary Sadler, who had continued going to meetings for a couple more years, passed away at Balwyn Manor nursing home
Afamily tribute said that Mary Sadler and her late husband, Lindsay, “enjoyed 63 years of marriage. Their children, Margaret, George, Elizabeth, Nonie, Frank (dec.), Helen and John will miss her greatly. “She loved and stayed interested in her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren until her final days. “Thanks for the wonderful memories, Mum,” said Helen. Mary’s son John Sadler, a successful trainer based at Caulfield, told
racing.com his mother died peacefully. “She turned 110 on the January 12th and she’d had really good health up until then, but a few months ago she had a bad fall and had been struggling ever since. It’s a happy release and we can celebrate the great life she had,” he said. John’s jockey son Tom Sadler tweeted: “On behalf of the family we’d like to thank everyone for the fanfare of Nana Sadler and all the nice messages. She had a pretty amazing life.” Helen wrote in her 2015 article that Mary “first went to the Melbourne Cup in 1928, won by Statesman. The following year she was one of 89,078 at
Flemington to see Phar Lap when the even money favourite finished third to Nightmarch, but in 1930 she had to be content to listen on the wireless to the legend Phar Lap, an even hotter favourite at 11/8 on, win the Cup. Helen continued, “Some 80 years later, Mum was at Moonee Valley for three of the modern-day champion Black Caviar’s wins in an unbeaten streak of 25 from 2009-2013, and she believes that she saw two of Australia’s greatest racehorses. “Her love of racing continued, and she and I enjoyed being at the races whenever we could, especially if my brother John had horses running on the day.
“Mum continued to listen in, she had two radios, one permanently set on the ABC’S 774 and the other on RSN 927 so she could listen to a race at a moment’s notice.” Helen wrote that her mother was born in Terang in 1908 and went to school there. She learned to play the piano and passed her first exam in 1915, “meaning she has been playing the piano for more than 100 years. “She continued to play at Balwyn Manor for the enjoyment of fellow residents and on a holiday in Mildura in June 2015 we had dinner at Stefano’s grand restaurant, and she finished off the night by playing a few tunes for the locals. “Mum lived in Terang with her family (parents Annie and Abedi Bourke) until her marriage to Lindsay Sadler in 1930, after which they took up residence on Lindsay’s father’s dairy farm at Glenormiston, about eight miles (about 13km) from Terang. “Mum’s interest in Thoroughbred racing was first generated by her father and they attended meetings in Terang together. Later, Mum and Dad became involved with the Terang Racing Club for several decades. One of their greatest thrills in racing was when their horse, Luisillo, trained by son John, won the Terang Cup in 1980. “On New Year’s Day in 2008 the Terang Racing Club honoured Mum by naming a race after her to celebrate her 100th birthday. “Terang racecourse is known as the Flemington of the Bush. In 2015 the Club invited Mum to return to Terang for their Cup meeting in April. She was thrilled to be asked to present the trophy to the connections of the winner, Tall Ship. “One name from the past that comes to mind is Fred Drever. Fred and wife Nellie were invited to be resident trainer and caretaker at the Terang Racing Club and continued in that role for 55 years. Mum and Dad knew the Drevers very well and counted them among their friends, and when John was still a teenager, he worked in Fred’s stables. “Fred had countless winners throughout Victoria and interstate; but it was Grey Sapphire who brought great excitement to the Terang racing community when he won the Standish Handicap at Flemington on New Year’s Day in 1981.” Helen wrote that among great racing names, especially from Western Victoria, her mother knew well the Moloneys: trainer Jerry who won the Grand Annual Steeplechase at Warrnambool and the Grand National Hurdle at Flemington in the 1930s; Jerry’s son Jim, an Australian Racing Hall of Famer, who trained the great sprinter of the 1960s, Vain; Jim’s sons John and Gerard, who train at Caulfield; and Gerard’s son Patrick, champion apprentice in 2014-15 and now a successful senior jockey. “My mother had a role on one eventful day in Jim’s life; she played the organ at Pauline and his wedding,” Helen wrote. “Now Patrick has ridden several horses from the Sadler camp; but the ride I enjoyed most was when he guided Marli Magic home for my brother John at Moonee Valley in January 2015 and Mum and I joined other syndicate members in a memorable celebration. There’s nothing like the thrill of a winner!” Clearly, Tom’s tweet that his Nana lived a amazing life is valid for much more than her longevity.
racing moments - left: Mary Sadler, with daughter Helen at Moonee Valley in 2007 right: with son John at Terang in 2008, the year she turned 100.