Goldfields, Gold Cups and a Heart of Gold
The Goldfields were a strong influence through the remarkable riding career of Eric Treffone. Born and raised in Kalgoorlie in a family of 9 children, Eric was apprenticed to his father, owner/trainer Nicholas Treffone. At the age of 14, he began a tough apprenticeship on the country racing circuit, catching trains late at night to country towns and sleeping on haystacks.
By the age of 22, Eric Treffone was one of the best country jockeys in Western Australia, with a sound knowledge of the tracks between Geraldton and Albany. In 1932, Australia was in financial depression and many country tracks were closing down. At this time Treffone seized an opportunity to travel to the Eastern States where he rode five winners and studied the styles of many leading jockeys. However, his first real break was back in his home territory, the Goldfields, when he won the 1936 Boulder Cup.
1938 was a stand-out year for Eric Treffone. He rode winners in 7 of Western Australia's most important races which included 2 Perth Cups (one in January, the other in December) as well as the Sires Produce Stakes, WATC Derby, Railway Stakes, the Kalgoorlie and Boulder Cups. Not surprisingly he won the Jockeys' Premiership, and did so with 61 winners, 46 seconds and 26 thirds.
In 1940-41, during World War II, Eric rode in India and was described as having no peer. He rode 19 winners during his short 4 month stay. Among them were India's two most important races, the Viceroy's and King Emperor's Cups.
In 1942, during wartime, it was decided to hold three of the big races on the same day; the WA Derby, Railway Stakes and the Imperial Stakes. Eric Treffone won all three.
Eric Treffone won 9 Jockeys' Premierships and his race record is one of the best in Western Australian racing history.
Eric's greatest moments were on Raconteur. He loved the horse like no other and would go anywhere in Australia to ride him.
Eric Treffone was much loved by a pensioner who wrote to him telling him that on race days she always backed the horses he rode and would always go home with 'something extra'. Accompanying the note was a wooden plaque and written on the back, “May all your horses come home.” Eric kept the plaque with him wherever he travelled.