When it came to piloting thoroughbreds, Arthur Ward was a force to reckon with in the history of Australian horse racing.
His many exploits and achievements on the racecourse earned him a spot at the 2007 Australian Racing Hall of Fame. Ward’s success on the racecourse earned him a great reputation which elevated him to a whole new level that ensured he rode some of the very best thoroughbreds at the time.
Arthur Ward rode winners like Rising Fast, Bernborough, Rising Fast, Tulloch, Redcraze, and Hydrogen among others. Ward’s time with Tulloch was a short one, but he won six races with Tulloch and the pair was runners up three times.
Arthur Ward had a rare ability to study and understand what was at stake and know which exact tactics to apply in the races he participated in, with regards to the form of the horse he was riding. This amazing characteristic made him an all-rounder in horse racing and won him a lot of praise from punters and horse owners.
At the height of his successful career, Arthur Ward’s reputation earned him favour with T.J Smith, who contracted him as a replacement for the suspended George Moore, who was another great jockey at the time. Ward’s great results in Moore’s absence prompted Smith to retain him even after Moore came back from suspension.
This therefore meant that he had more time to ride Redcraze. He however left Redcraze for Moore in the 1957 W.S Cox Plate, but then nearly defeated Redcraze while piloting Prince Darius. As a matter of fact, only the likes of Sellwood, Munro and Breasley are among the list of less than 10 jockeys to have ridden more winners than Arthur Ward.
Arthur Ward’s first win was in the year 1942, but afterwards it seemed like his best days were gone when he had to endure a long period of two years on the racecourse without a single win. His second win was at the Canterbury Guineas where he won while piloting Decorate.
That was the beginning of years of success as a jockey for him, culminating in two Sydney jockey’s Premiership titles under his name. Arthur Ward’s most successful time on the racecourse was during the time that he was riding Redcraze, who originated from New Zealand, where he had won 17 races. He won lots of major races with Redcraze, including the Caulfield Cup of 1956. In total, he rode Redcraze 24 times and won 14 of the races, came second 5 times and they were unplaced only in 3 races.
Among the great races that Arthur Ward won while riding Redcraze were Melbourne Cup, The Metropolitan and Brisbane Cup. His victory at the Brisbane Cup was on a weight of 59 kilograms, he was on 61 Kg at the Metropolitan and he won the Caulfield Stakes while carrying 63 kg. Redcraze followed up these wins with wins at the Hill Stakes, Caulfield Stakes and Colin Stephen Stakes before taking part in the prestigious Melbourne Cup.
Following Redcraze’s dominant display at the 1956 Caulfield Cup, Arthur Ward was given a heavier weight of 65 kilos in the Melbourne Cup competition held the same year.Even though Evening Teal won the race, Redcraze was a worthy competitor, having finished second while carrying 14kg more than Evening Teal.
Following a successful season that included winning Brisbane Cup and the O’Shea Stakes, Redcraze’s trainer, Tommy Smith handed him over to strapper John Robinson to take care of him during winter in Brisbane. While still riding Redcraze, Arthur Ward was victorious at the Hill Stakes in a park that included Empire Link, Somerset Fair and Todman who was being ridden by Neville Sellwood.
His last race with Redcraze was held 10 days after his win at the 1957 Cox Plate. It was not a rosy affair at the last race because Redcraze could only manage an eighth place finish in the Melbourne Cup.
Arthur Ward’s exposure to reputable names such as T.J. Smith and Redcraze set precedence for him; as he went on to win a total of 100 races, including those in the prestigious New South Wales and Victoria. The 1954-1955 was a period of great success for Arthur Ward, as he won both the Caulfield Cup (for the second time) and the premiership.
His second Caulfield Cup win came relatively easy for him because Neville Sellwood and Bill Williamson both fell, thereby leaving him with an upper hand in the race. After retiring as a jockey in 1962, Arthur Ward became a trainer and a writer. His wins included the Sydney Cup and the Epsom Handicap, which are some of the most prestigious races in Australia.
His greatness as a jockey took him beyond the borders of Australia, into Singapore where he won a total of 250 races besides being the leading jockey twice. Arthur Ward also had nine successful seasons in Hong Kong after having gone there in the year 1977.