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22 May 2014

Vale Guy Walter

I feel genuinely sad.  I have just learned that Guy Walter died this morning from a heart attack.  He was 59 years old. 

Guy was a quiet, unassuming man.  He was good with horses.  I think he genuinely loved his horses.  He wasn't one for grandstanding, or any of that nonsense.  I think he appreciated beautiful things.  Guy was in fact so unassuming that he wasn't a spotlight or limelight hog and because I tend to concentrate on the horse so much I sometimes miss people like him.  Going back through my images now, particularly now that there is NO chance of ever taking another photograph of him (a bit like when you push something beyond repair and there's no going back because it's broken) reminds that I should get better at remembering to photograph the people as well as the horses...

Saying something poignant, like 'live for the moment', or 'don't put things off because you automatically assume the same opportunity will be there tomorrow' crosses my mind, but the overwhelming feeling I have is of sadness, and genuine regret that this lovely person won't EVER be there on track anymore.  I will never read the racebook again and wonder, when I come across his name next to a young horse, what Guy Walter might be producing for us all to enjoy.

Guy ran his stables and his team with his wife Wendy as very much his right hand person.  I love seeing examples of where two people can maintain a strong relationship and work together.  I often think this dynamic it must create such a very special bond.

Good bye Guy..  I liked you very much.   I will absolutely miss you on track.  I regret not taking as many images of you as I should have.  I like to think Guy would have told me it should be about the horses.  But I still, I regret it.

I have to say that by the end of today I feel thoroughly restless and rattled. There's been so much bad news. I want good news. I'm so over all of this.. 

This industry can be all consuming. It's impossible for some of us to back away from. Keith Dryden, a trainer from my home town Canberra, said he saw Guy last week. He said he'd looked very tired. 

I wish trainers and jockeys didn't need to keep such silly hours. Stupid O'Clock I call it. Everywhere else they work their horses at civilized times. When it is light. The highest profile colt in the world at this moment in time is a bright coppery chestnut colt called California Chrome. He's on the road to The Triple Crown. He's won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and arrived yesterday in New York for the Belmont Stakes.  He arrived on track at 6.45am. It's light then. It's sensible.  Why don't we do this?  I wonder what differences it would make to the people who are the life blood of out industry if they weren't forced to keep such stupid hours. It's too much. 

So from me, this is a little snapshot of the life and times of Guy Walter.  And the horses that were so important in his life. I will miss him. 
Tie the Knot (Raymond Shane Dye) winning the Sydney Cup

Tie the Knot.  His second BMW.  He emulated Octagonal winning the race in successive years.

Tie The Knot defeats Intergaze, another champion, in his first BMW.

Tie The Knot.  Guy trained this beautiful horse to win 4 successive Chipping Norton Stakes.  This is him winning the Ranvet Stakes with Patrick Payne on board in 2001.

A more recent star.  He didn't quite measure up to Group 1 company.  This is Toydini.

Toydini winning the Crystal Mile on Cox Plate Day.  That's Sacred Falls behind him.

Guy's recently retired multiple Group 1 winner Appearance.  She was prone to 'tying up'.  He managed her sensitively and beautifully.

Streama..  This bonny little mare he trained to win an AJC Oaks and a George Main Stakes.  She had also just won, only last Saturday, the G1 Doomben Cup for Guy.  It's such a loss.....

Vale Guy Walter. He would never agree that he was a giant killer, but his horses knocked off the best running around.  It was folly for a photographer to underestimate a horse trained by Guy.  Here Lonhro feels the pressure, running 2nd to Defier in the 2002 Warwick Stakes.

Defier claims another scalp.  This time my pinup girl, and my love my darling, the mighty champion Sunline, in the 2002 George Main Stakes.

Guy Walter, typically, is in the background.

Republic Lass overwhelmed the champion Northerly, AKA "The Fighting Tiger" in the 2003 G1 Ranvet Stakes.

Spinning Hill.  I swear he trained them to go 'woosh' and run to the lead in the blink of an eye....

Do you ever feel your life is going in slow motion?  I didn't take this final image.  A friend did.  I hope he doesn't mind me putting it up here. We were working together on the day.  It was Caulfield Cup Day 2012.  This is Streama winning the Tristarc.  I think it's a great shot, that after today takes on a far greater poignancy than I could ever have imagined.

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