Everyone loved Roy Higgins. A warm and genuine character with a great sense of humour, the boy from the bush was kwn as 'The Professor' for his freakish ability to read the track and his easy eloquence. Higgins' racing record was extraordinary. He rode Bart Cummings' first Melbourne Cup winner, Light Fingers, in 1965, and was one of a handful of jockeys to win the grand slam of racing- the Golden Slipper, Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup. Over his 30-year career, Higgins clocked up 2312 wins, including 108 Group 1 races. All this, despite a never-ending battle with his weight. Roy Higgins died in March 2014, aged 75. His televised funeral took place in the mounting yard at Flemington, a fitting tribute to the humble man who had a profound effect on horseracing for more than five decades as jockey, commentator and teacher. This is a celebration of a great Australian, with racing royalty, friends and family sharing their stories and memories of Roy Higgins, the gentle trailblazer who touched their lives. 'Roy has been an inspiration, an icon and a legend. His legacy will live on forever.' Damien Oliver 'Roy wasn't just a great jockey and a fine ambassador for racing - that's only half the story. He was a great human being, and that might be the bigger story ...because it's harder to be a great human being.' Les Carlyon
Patrick Bartley is the chief racing writer at The Age. In 2013 he won his second Bert Wolfe Award, the Victoria Racing Media Association (VRMA) award for Media Excellence in Victoria. Leading up to that award, Patrick had won three consecutive VRMA awards for Best News Story. Patrick's investigative reports with John Silvester, into Tony Mokbel's racing interests in 2007, were recognised by many as highly influential pieces. Penguin published On the Punt, a collection of Patrick's columns, in 2010.