The Argus newspaper, which is available on-line on the National Library of Australia website http://newspapers.nla.gov.au started in 1848 , so I thought it would be interesting to see when Koo-Wee-Rup had its first press mention. The earliest report was July 1, 1856 however in October 1868 I found the first mention of a racehorse called Koo-wee-rup, so I thought I would tell you about the horse. The horse’s name was usually spelt as Koo-wee-rup, so that’s the way we will spell it. The horse was owned by Mr L.O Patterson. I can’t find a connection with Alexander Patterson, who was the owner of St Germains at Clyde and one of the original members of the Cranbourne Road Board, but I wonder if there is a connection, given the name of the horse. Alexander Patterson mainly bred draught horses and his horse, Sprightly, won the silver medal for the ‘Colonial Bred Entire Draught Horse’ at the Port Philip Society’s Show in 1856. Alexander also had a few racehorses. Getting back to Koo-wee-rup, the horse was entered in the Maiden Plate on the first day of the Victoria Racing Club’s Spring Meeting which was held on Thursday to Saturday, November 5-7, 1868. The Maiden Plate was for three year olds, over a mile and a half. A report of the race described Koo-wee-rup, like the majority of Touchstone’s progeny, appeared small and weedy. In the end, Palmerston won the race with Koo-wee-rup, who threw his rider directly the flag fell, bringing up the rear.
In March 1869, Koo-wee-rup was entered the Helter Skelter Stakes of the Victorian Racing Club’s Autumn Meeting, which he won by half a dozen lengths in a canter. The horse was then sold to Mr Clarke for £41. Clark entered Koo-wee-rup in the Woodstock Races in May 1869 and he was the favourite to win the District Plate until it oozed out that a protest had been lodged against him on account of his owner not residing within a radius of fifteen miles of the district. The horse won and the stewards reserved their decision until a future day.
In November 1870, Koo-wee-rup was entered in the Footscray Plate on Derby Day. His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh (Queen Victoria’s son) was in attendance on the day. According to The Argus Koo-wee-rup was the first to show in front [and]…at the Abattoirs Koo-wee-rup again took the lead…coming into the Straight Koo-wee-rup was still leading, the others being close up, and the whips being plied freely in all directions. The Dane came to the front soon after passing the turn and won with comparative ease, Koo-wee-rup being second. Koo-wee-rup’s owner lodged a protest against The Dane for a cross coming up the Straight but the Stewards dismissed the protest.
In March 1871, at the Geelong Races the day’s sports wound up with a hack race, for which seven started. The first heat was won by Koo-wee-rup. In late November 1871 at the Ballarat Turf Club Spring meeting Koo-wee-rup was one of five starters in the Scurry Stakes and won with the most ridiculous ease, 20 lengths in front of Stafford. The horse was afterwards disqualified for being 4 pounds underweight. On December 15, of the same year, Koo-wee-rup won the Stewards Cup at the Talbot Races, beating six others and was later sold for £42 to Mr P. Glenister. The final mention I could find of Koo-wee-rup was at the Croxton Park Race meeting on Boxing Day, 1871. The horse was entered in the Selling race and later at the same meeting entered in the Flying Handicap, a one mile race. The betting was 5 to 2 against the horse and at the bottom of the hill Koo-wee-rup fell and broke his leg. Sadly, an unhappy ending for Koo-wee-rup.
About this blog
This blog is about the history of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp and neighbouring areas, such as Pakenham, Cranbourne and Garfield, and any other historical subjects I feel like writing about. It's my own original research and writing and if you live in the area you may have read some of the stories before in the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society newsletter or the Koo-Wee-Rup township newsletter, The Blackfish, or the Garfield township newsletter, The Spectator.