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Former champion jockey Jack Purtell dies

Three-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Jack Purtell has died at the age of 95.

The Victoria Racing Club will acknowledge the passing of Purtell, who died on Wednesday, at its Group One meeting Flemington this weekend with the on-course flags to be flown at half-mast and jockeys to wear black armbands in the third race.

Purtell began his riding career in 1936 and won around 1700 races including Melbourne Cups aboard Hiraji (1947), Wodalla (1953) and Rising Fast (1954).

He also won the Cox Plate four times during the 1950s, a Caulfield Cup in 1941, and achieved international success in Europe including the 1964 Irish Oaks and 1965 English Oaks.

Purtell claimed the first of seven Melbourne jockeys’ premierships in 1946/47 while his seventh title came in 1961/62.

He won 19 races on Comic Court and was involved in the famous triple dead-heat when he rode Fighting Force in the 1956 Hotham Handicap at Flemington.

After retiring from the saddle in 1966 he joined the VRC stewards panel for 15 years.

He was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2004.

“Jack Purtell’s achievements are quite extraordinary,” VRC chief executive Simon Love said.

“He raced in an era which included such great riders as Darby Munro, Bill Williamson, Ron Hutchinson, Scobie Breasley, Roy Higgins, George Moore, Neville Sellwood and Harold Badger, to name a few.

” From all reports he was unlucky not have ridden two more (Melbourne) Cup winners.

“During the late 1940s and 1950s he really had few peers.”


* 1700 winners

* Australian Racing Hall of Fame Inductee (2004)

* Melbourne Cup – 1947, 1953 and 1954

* Caulfield Cup – 1941

* Cox Plate – 1950, 1951, 1954 and 1956

* 1964 Irish Oaks and 1965 English Oaks

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