RUSSELL (RUSS) MADDOCK
11 March 1918 – 8 June 2014
LEADING JOCKEY 9 TIMES
Russ was born a 1st generation Australian to English
parents Harold Russell Maddock and Maud Lillian Ensor. His grandfather was
a well respected journalist with “The Guardian”
and was also their sports writer as well as their theatre critic and also
the author of plays. Both his father
and his maternal grandfather served in the Australian Army in WWI. Russ
himself served in WWII but being a little undersized had to wear a mixed
uniform made out of officer’s material and wore an officers cap with
packing inside to fit his head with the rising sun badge on the front. He
told me American soldiers were instructed that if they did not recognise a
uniform salute it just in case. He got saluted a lot. He learnt to drive 16
gear army trucks around the hills of Spring Hill in Brisbane. He ended up a
cook in the Officer’s mess and was trained by a top hotel chef from Sydney.
The family ate fairly well with what he brought home at the end of the day.
Russ Maddock had begun riding in Toowoomba Queensland Australia in
his early teens in the early 30s and his first winner in 1936. By the time
WWII began he was established and beginning to make his mark in Brisbane.
Many American and Australian servicemen increased their leave pay by
following Russ Maddock around the 'the Creek' during the war years.
His second premiership which he won in 1946 was an outstanding feat
considering he only rode from August (the start of the season) to mid-December.
He broke his leg badly in a race fall and was out for the rest of the
season. He was so far ahead of the opposition that he still had a one win lead
at the end of the season the following July. That included The Queensland
Guineas, The Hopeful Stakes, Ascot H'cap and the
Queensland Cup. When you think that those 32 winners were over only 17
meetings with a possible 52 meetings in a full year, a hundred winners in a
full year was not an impossibility with that
strike rate. Up until this time jockeys were not awarded trophies in
Queensland for winning the premiership, however because this feat was so
outstanding the Queensland Turf Club awarded a magnificent trophy which was
the first ever presented to the winning Queensland Premiership Jockey. Even
to this day I do not know of a comparative achievement in Australian
During the thirties through to the early sixties Queensland was
blessed with some the best Jockeys in Australia. Some of these ended up
riding in Britain after trying their luck in the south. As early as
the late thirties Russ was tempted by major offers to ride in the south. A
very large financial reward was offered from a well known
Victorian. He refused the offer so that he could stay in Queensland. I am
very grateful for that decision as otherwise I would have been born a
Victorian. While he did accept rides in certain events in the south he
always based himself in Queensland. In the early fifties he refused offers
to ride in Ireland and Britain as at the time it would have meant leaving
his family behind. The family always came first and consequently he was not
a party type which probably cut back on some opportunities to pick up rides
on good horses. He earned his rides on his ability rather than a "hail
fellow well met" attitude.
In August 1955 he won the Exhibition treble (Ascot Handicap 13
August, Exhibition Handicap 17 August and Metropolitan Handicap 20 August)
on Proletaire. Each race was won in record time.
No other jockey/horse combination has ever been successful in this group of
Russ went on to win nine premierships and was usually runner up in the
others in Queensland along with most of the major races in Queensland and
gems like The Epsom (on Timor) and the Wirrabee
Cup (also Timor). In 1959 he was honoured as Jockey of the Century along
with Merv Wrigley as Apprentice Jockey of the
Century. After a final successful premiership with back to back Doomben
Cups on the great Earlwood (both races in record times and a little known
fact was that Earlwood nearly died after the first Doomben Cup from snake
bite. The second cup was Earlwood's first race back after the previous
cup). Russ left for a short stint in Malaysia on his way to the United
Kingdom to achieve every jockey's dream. To ride on the famous turf of the
British racing world. In his time in Europe he rode for many of the
nobility and had the honour of riding for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
He rode 800 odd winners both there and on the continent until another bad
fall ended his career late in 1969.
Russ returned to Queensland with his wife Brenda and one daughter Desi in 1981after an absence of
20 years and settled down at Southport. He spent his time assisting young
apprentices in their race skills and advising on various aspects of racing
along with clocking for the Courier Mail. Desi
passed away in 2007 after a career in UK on stage and TV and some years
here assisting and advising young hopefuls in the entertainment industry.
Brenda passed on in 2008. He was cared for in his last years by his
remaining daughter who had eventually come back from UK with her husband.
At his passing Russ had two grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. He was
buried in Brisbane General Cemetery commonly known as Toowong Cemetery (www.fotc.org.au) .
Many of early Queensland Racing notables rest in Toowong so he is in good