14th December 2009
The passing of Jack Denham has touched everyone here at Logans. Jack trained some of our great Australian thoroughbreds owned by our clients including Marscay and Might and Power. It is hard to not think that his passing is the end of an era for racing. We send out our condolences to his wife Joyce and family.
The following was printed in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning.
Silent man of the track departs, aged 85, after stellar training career
CRAIG YOUNG – SMH
Generous . . . Denham. Photo: Jenny Evans
JACK DENHAM’S legacy went well beyond the racetrack. The Hall of Fame trainer, who had no interest in entertaining the media, passed away yesterday, aged 85, with racing’s version of the ”grand slam” on his mantelpiece.
”[He was] a very private person who would help people but didn’t want anyone to know,” Sydney Turf Club chairman Bill Picken said yesterday. ”I remember one day at Gosford racetrack, he wanted to see me. I walked over, he put [some cash] in my pocket and said, ‘See that bloke over there – go and give it to him’. I don’t know how much it was, I didn’t count it, I went over and gave it to the bloke … He [Denham] helped a lot of people and charities, you wouldn’t know how many.”
Denham, along with Picken, was born and bred in Canterbury and it was there that an illustrious training career started.
”He knew when a horse was ready,” said STC racetrack manager Lindsay Murphy, who has been with the STC for 33 years and as one of his first jobs had the task of collecting Denham’s nominations when ”The Silent One” was the private trainer for Stan Fox at Rosehill.
”A lot of trainers can get a horse right, get them ready. But Jack knew exactly when they were right, when they weren’t. That’s why early in the piece he pulled off so many plunges.”
For long-time owners Geoff and Beryl White it was never about the punt. The Whites were ”devastated” on hearing Denham had passed away.
”We were with Jack for 35 years, he was par excellence, 19 group 1 winners for us,” Geoff White said yesterday. ”I know he was taciturn with outside people but in all those years we never had hard words with him, he kept us informed. We weren’t [punters] and he loved us for that. He had experience with gamblers before, I think we were a relief.”
And White saw the generous side of Denham. ”Very often,” he said, ”if someone was needy, down on their luck, Jack was there and no one knew it. We had nothing but the fondest respect for the man and his family.”
Denham started off as a jockey but training was where the one-time Canterbury Bulldogs director made an impact. Horses such as Ricochet, Summer Fair and Purple Patch, which his son and former champion apprentice Allan Denham rode, were betting-ring raiders.
There were the Whites’ horses, such as the Golden Slipper winner Marscay, which went on to be a champion sire, and its daughter, Triscay, which won several group 1s including the AJC Australian Oaks.
Then there was the freakish Might And Power. In 1997 Might And Power stunned the racing world when leading throughout to win the Caulfield and Melbourne cups. The Nick Moraitis-owned stayer returned a year later to win the Cox Plate.
Denham took out a trainer’s licence in 1948 and went on to train more than 3000 winners. He won the Sydney trainers’ premiership in 1990-91 and again in 1992-93. Murphy reckoned Denham could be ”gruff and rough”, while Picken was of the belief that ”no one ever really got close to him”.
”He could look at a horse and set it for a race,” Picken said. ”And he wasn’t scared to put unfashionable jockeys on either, he was from the old school.”
Denham is survived by wife Joyce, son Allan, daughters Joy and Sandra and a mob of grandchildren.