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06 December 2010

Over the Years Part II: Remembering Jack

Jack Denham died last year, on 14 December 2009.  From memory I first photographed him when Filante was running.  As I mentioned in the piece on Bart Cummings when talking about Dato Tan, 1996 doesn't seem all that long ago, and while Jack was no longer a young man, during these days he looked pretty good to me.  And now, just on 14 years later, he's gone.

Jack in his latter years was not one to mix with the media.  He frequently showed displeasure at having his photograph taken, and shunned interviews.  And so it is with real affection that I look on the image below, that I took of Jack after Metal Bender had won the G1 Randwick Guineas, on 9 March 2009.  And this is because Jack's eyes told me that not only did he know I was taking his picture, but that he was ok with that.  There is almost a smile in his eyes, the eyes, after all, being the eye to the soul, and that was enough for me.  

Here's a look back at Jack, and his horses.  Thank you for all the many timeless moments your great horses gave us.  We miss you Jack.

Jack Denham discusses race tactics with Mick Dittman before Filante's win in the 1996 Warwick Stakes.  There was a bit of delight when I came across this shot during a hunt for images in the old negative collection.
Filante.  1996 Warwick Stakes.

The presentation for the Warwick Stakes

Filante defeats Saintly again in the 1996 Chelmsford Stakes.

Filante (inside rail - Mick Dittman) goes down in a photo finish to Saintly (Darren Beadman) in the 1996 Cox Plate.

Filante wins the 1997 Warwick Stakes.  Only very good horses win a race like the Warwick in successive years. 
Filante and Jimmy Cassidy winning the 1997 Caulfield Stakes.  It was a powerful performance over the 2000m, and we all thought a fortnight later that the Cox Plate would surely be Jack's this year.

Clues to the Cox Plate?  In 1997, a Horse Called Mighty (Might and Power) steamed away with the Caulfield Cup, leaving us all standing and staring, asking 'what just happened there?'.
Back to that elusive Cox Plate.  In 1997, when we thought Jack would win with Filante, Bart Cummings had other ideas.  His $40/1 shot Dane Ripper  (Damien Oliver) burst along the rails to relegate Filante to second for the second successive year.
1997 Melbourne Cup - Might and Power and Doriemus do battle down the long Flemington straight.
Might and Power claims the Caulfield-Melbourne Cups double in 1997, with a bold front running display.
The great trainer greets his great horse.  Jack usually shunned the presentation, and shots of him with the horse were hard to come by.


The 1998 BMW Stakes.  He could win at G1 WFA.

Jack with owner Nick Moraitis after Might and Power's victory in the 1998 BMW.  Les Carylon wrote this about Jack, in an essay called "Jack Denham.  The Quiet Man".  He wrote "He always looks the same, slightly hunched and wearing a little grey hat with a yellow feather".  And while I'd never noticed the hat and feather (attention to such details is sometimes not my greatest strength), there it is, in all it's glory.

Might and Power bounces back from defeat in the George Main Stakes to win the Caulfield Stakes.  The Cox Plate was back on track.

Pre-race huddle.  Tactics!

Might and Power leads all the way to take the 1998 Cox Plate

Jack after Might and Power won the Cox Plate

The great horse's last victory, in the 1998 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.  He was due to travel to Japan for the Japan Cup, but bowed a tendon.  He made a comeback, but was never the same horse, and was retired after only a handful of starts.

Fairway.  1999 AJC Derby

Jack Denham is delighted following Eremein's victory in the 2006 Ranvet Stakes.

Jack Denham after Calidan's win at Rosehill Gardens.  17 March 2007.
Metal Bender.  G1 Randwick Guineas.  14 March 2009
Jack shares a laugh with a friend after Metal Bender's victory in the G1 Randwick Guineas on 14 March 2009.
Jack after the Randwick Guineas.  There is gentle acceptance that I'm photographing him in this image  It's probably the photograph I like best of him.

At Rosehill Gardens on Golden Rose Day.  29 August 2009.

Jack Denham at Rosehill Gardens on 18 September 2009.  This was the last occasion I photographed Jack. 
This is my then 4 year old son Heath with Might and Power.  I'd have loved to have shown these to Jack.  I regret now that I didn't ever take a big deep breath and show them to him, or at least write to him and send him copies.  Heath has these images, published in the paper, on his door.  We treasure them.

Jack's great champion Might and Power, with 'all his flags flying', in 2009 at Living Legends.

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