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The ‘stipe’ who once banned the ‘Cups King’

Saturday, 24th June, 2017

George Burrowes at the Silver City Cup in 2014. He so liked this photograph from the Barrier Daily Truth that he had a copy framed and hung on the wall of his home in Adelaide. George’s wife Gwen said it would be placed on his coffin at his funeral next week. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel George Burrowes at the Silver City Cup in 2014. He so liked this photograph from the Barrier Daily Truth that he had a copy framed and hung on the wall of his home in Adelaide. George’s wife Gwen said it would be placed on his coffin at his funeral next week. PICTURE: Darrin Manuel

By Craig Brealey

A distinguished and frequent visitor to the Silver City Cup race meeting has died in Adelaide at the age of 92.

George Burrowes was a stipendiary steward for the South Australian Jockey Club and, in retirement, enjoyed nothing more than a day at the races in the bush.

Mr Burrowes served for many years on a panel of six stewards at race meetings in Adelaide under three successive chief stipendiary stewards.

He once had to sit in judgement of a certain young Adelaide trainer called Bart Cummings, Mr Burrowes’ friend, Broken Hill trainer Ross Brealey, told the BDT.

“Bart had a horse called Cilldara that raced poorly at a meeting in Gawler but then he landed a plunge with it a week later in Adelaide,” Mr Brealey said.

“George sat on the case and suspended Bart for a year for pulling Cilldara up in Gawler,” he said. 

According to Mr Brealey, George thought this might have taught the young fellow a lesson. Bart Cummings went on to train 12 Melbourne Cup winners. 

Mr Brealey said he first met George Burrowes at a race meeting in Mildura in 1990.

“My horse, Soft Cover, had won the Challenge Cup and George came up to me and said he’d backed it. We got talking and he said he loved country meetings. He went to all the bush meetings in South Australia and Victoria, so I said he should come up to Broken Hill for ours.”

It was many years before George accepted the invitation but when he did he liked what he saw very much indeed, Mr Brealey said.

“He couldn’t believe that we had three grandstands. He said we had a beautiful track, all the amenities, plenty of bookmakers and the race meetings were well run.

“And he said it was a waste that we only ran two meetings a year.”

After that first visit, George and his wife Gwen rarely missed a Silver City Cup. 

He could always be found at the mounting enclosure, watching the races through his binoculars, like the old “stipe” that he was. Gwen, meanwhile, was also observing the scene, a pencil and sketchbook in hand, making studies for her paintings.

“George and Gwen were at every cup meeting for 10 years or more,” said Mr Brealey. “They only missed last year’s because George had taken crook. 

“He loved the cup and he loved the country races.”

George is survived by Gwen, their two daughters and a son.

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