My dearest brother, the second eldest in my family was a horseman from the day he was born. He was on the horses before he could walk, and then spent the majority of his life working with horses. Sadly he is no longer dancing on this earth. He was taken from us in February 2008 after a long battle with his kidneys.
But we are here to celebrate his life, and his short dance, and his role in the theatre of life, it was his stage and he was the star.
Brian started his Jockey Apprenticeship at Olly Cox stables in Wodonga, Vic. He was up at 4.00am or earlier, and rode his horse about a mile up the road to the Cox stables. It seemed like only weeks later he was riding in the many Race Meetings around the area.
He had a massive accident at a Wodonga Race meeting. I forget the detail of the accident, all I knew was Brian was in hospital and not expected to live. He had crashed head first into the running rails, on a horse in full flight. When I was finally allowed to see him in hospital, I was horrified. His head was triple its normal size. I thought to myself, there is no way he will survive. We prayed day and night, we pleaded with God to save our brother. And then, like a miracle Brian came out of the coma. He recovered, and was back riding as if nothing happened. There appeared to be no change to him after his recovery, as if nothing had happened. Brian was focused on what he wanted in his life, and that was riding the race horses, and competing.
When he completed his apprenticeship, he continued riding at the Cox stables. Later he went on to ride George Habacht’s horses at Chiltern. He rode for many stables, as Jockeys do, and racked up a huge number of wins. In the meantime he bought the horse Example. Example had won so many races, so that on race day, when they took the horses out onto the track, prior to the start of the race, Example just wanted to go to the crowd, and allow them to fuss over him.
The horse was a celebrity, he knew it, he was accustomed to winning, and have the crowd scramble to make a fuss of him.
Brian then moved from the country to the city. He set up his Racing stables at Werribee, just out from Melbourne. He combined riding and training the racehorses. His career as a trainer took off, and he raced his horses very successfully, and made his mark at all the big race tracks around Melbourne.
His horse King Bend broke the 1200 metre record at Sandown Race track, and held that record for many years. Benji as he was affectionately known. was blind in one eye. He was an amazing horse, not an easy horse to handle, but then exceptional horses never are. Like exceptional people, they have exceptional abilities. They are not expected to be perfect in every way, just perfect in their chosen field.
Brian eventually moved his stables to Queensland, and continued on his winning ways in Townsville and Cairns, in far north Queensland. He hooked up with his older brother Richard, and later his sister Judith who both resided in the sunshine state.
Brian defied death three times in his life, all from horrific accidents, each time he was not expected to live. He obviously had enormous will power to overcome his injuries, and fought to stay alive. He later battled Kidney disease for many years. I believe he was exposed to a deadly hospital infection,that finally claimed his young life.
He was in a reasonably good state of health when he entered hospital for a Heart Valve operation. Soon after entering hospital, he suffered a massive infection and with it, horrific pain. He often pleaded with me to ask the Doctors to give him more pain relief.
I was living in Melbourne, and spoke to him everyday. That fateful day, I was so concerned about Brian, I had booked a flight to Brisbane to go the following day. I spoke to Brian at 11.00am and said I would see him tomorrow. At 2.30pm I received the call to say Brian had passed away. He was just 62 years old.