State racing mourns true legend

TASMANIAN racing lost one of its great characters last week with the death of veteran Hobart trainer Tommy Young.

Young, 77, trained his first winner in 1956 and, although he never had a big stable, he was seldom without a good horse.

Perhaps the best was Nakagima, winner of the Hobart and Devonport cups in 1989.

In more recent years, Young enjoyed success with Tasmanian Guineas winner Brainpower, 3YO Cup winner Gold Walk and Tiger Won't Tell who was runner-up to the Lee Freedman-trained Ludka in the Hobart Guineas.

He scored one of his last feature-race wins with two-year-old Bachelor Babe in the Silver Ingot at Mowbray in January 2012.

In the days of low prizemoney _ when most full-time participants had to bet to survive _ there were few trainers more respected by the bookmakers than the man known by many as ``Truthful Tommy.''

It was an affectionate nickname _ everyone knew that if Tommy was planning a plunge, it was pointless asking him ``is that horse any good?'' or ``how is it going?''

You would not get the correct answer.

Rather than bemoan the end of the bookmaker era, Young actually embraced it.

A few years ago he said that he preferred betting with the tote since the pools had grown _ he could put his money on anonymously and nobody else would know his business.

Young also had the occasional brush with officialdom and made headlines during one of his ``enforced holidays'' when he turned up at Spreyton to watch one of his former horses race.

As a disqualified person, he wasn't allowed to enter the racetrack, so he watched from over the fence,  just outside the main gate.

Stewards charged him with a breach of the rules, arguing that he was still standing on race club property.

Young begged to differ and, from memory, won his case.

Such incidents just helped to grow the Tommy Young legend.

And, legend is probably a good way to describe him.

Many trainers have won many more races but few will be as well remembered.

Owner-trainer Tommy Young, centre, with his son  Paul and strapper Fiona Daly  after his horse Gold Walk  won the 3YO Cup  in 2007.

Owner-trainer Tommy Young, centre, with his son Paul and strapper Fiona Daly after his horse Gold Walk won the 3YO Cup in 2007.

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