Champion Mare of the 1920s
In August 1915 a four year old chestnut mare was registered with the Western Australian Trotting Association. Her name was Kola Girl and she was owned by Richard Hesford. Kola Girl won her first race for Hesford at Midland Junction in October 1915, followed by a win at the WACA Ground track on 27 December that same year. Unfortunately Hesford was forced away to war and he was obliged to sell his interest in Kola Girl.
Tom Foy was more fortunate, having the opportunity to purchase Kola Girl in 1917. He both raced and trained the mare, winning the Easter Handicap of 130 sovereigns in April 1917. She won by 15 lengths proving to Foy that she was capable of ‘richer purses’. In 1918 Kola Girl entered the WA Pacing Cup Final (worth 600 sovereigns) in an era when pacers and trotters were either ‘ridden’ or ‘driven’. An outstanding horseman by the name of ‘Doc’ Clayton ‘rode’ the mare. She started an odds on favourite, eclipsing the race record by a remarkable 11 secs and winning by a margin of 25 yards.
Like so many champions of her era, Kola Girl found herself massively handicapped, but even in the fastest of classes she still managed to win a great many races. As a 12 year old she shattered the State Pacer’s Record at the 1923 Perth Royal Show and her time of 2:07.8s stood as the Australian Mile record until 1941.
Kola Girl remains the only mare to hold the Australian Pacer’s Mile Record. By 1925, as a 14 year old, this fast mare held WA records over one mile, nine furlongs, 10 furlongs, 11 furlongs and two miles. Kola Girl won 19 races in Perth and was undoubtedly the best horse of her era.
At the age of 16 Kola Girl was sold to JP Stratton, also a Hall of Fame inductee, who was establishing a stud farm. She produced a champion in the form of Kolect, who went on to win the 1937 WA Pacing Cup from a handicap of 108 yards behind.