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Inductee 2017: Frosty Nelson

Hall of Fame
Frosty Nelson

Champion Stallion of the 1950’s

Foaled in 1949 in the South West of WA near the hamlet of Bridgetown, Frosty Nelson made his debut on 19 November 1952, in a maiden event at Harvey and finished a close second to the seasoned Bedouin Prince. There was a massive 80 yard margin to the third horse Daisy Oro.

Winning his first race at Bunbury on 26 November 1952, he won nine of his next twelve starts including the 1953 South West Derby. A winner in his first start in Perth in the Country Derby he was transferred to the city stables of trainer/driver Fred Hough and won a further race at Gloucester Park as a three year old.

Frosty Nelson, under Hough’s tutelage, earned a reputation as a brilliant horse from the tapes and he quickly worked his way through the classes as a four year old.

“He was so quick at the start that one night in a race over 14 furlongs and 156 yards he had overcome his 60 yard handicap and reached the front before we got to the 14 furlong point”, Hough recounts.

Such was his ability to work his way through a field, with just ten horses lined up for the 1995 WA Pacing Cup, Frosty Nelson was backed into 7/4 favouritism despite the 24 yard handicap and justified the support when he led from the last half of the two mile race and held off a gallant Rhoda’s Gift.

Two weeks after his win in WA’s biggest race, Frosty Nelson was loaded aboard the Westralia for what was to prove to be a rough eleven day boat trip to Sydney for the 1956 Inter Dominion, followed by less than ideal stabling conditions that led to a disappointing lead up to the series. Trainer Hough was known to have said that “The poor horse was in a dreadful state”.

After being delayed on a several occasions due to poor weather, Frosty Nelson disappointed on the opening night of the Inter Dominion series when he faded from third place, with a lap to travel, to finish eighth behind Blue Gamble, Van Hall and Dainty Rose.

A change of stables and a further rain-delay to the second round of heats saw a dramatic change in the horse who flew home when he eventually got clear to finish third just behind the eventual Grand Final placegetters Mineral Spring and Caduceus. He stayed on in Sydney to compete in the Lord Mayors Cup, starting from 24 yards behind and finishing second to Caduceus, before heading home to Perth.

Hough’s plan to win a second WA Pacing Cup in 1957 with the champion stallion was thwarted when he was given a 48-yard handicap for the race. The records show that Frosty Nelson finished tenth in the 1957 WA Pacing Cup but remarkably less than two lengths separated the first eight runners in the most sensational Cup finish ever seen at Gloucester Park.

After finishing second from 48 yards in the 1957 Easter Cup to Magic Flute (12yards), Frosty Nelson’s last official start that season came in the inaugural State Sprint Championship. He bettered his own state mile record, and neared the national record, when he clocked 2:04.3 for the standing start mile in defeating Village Chief and Beau Don.

Retiring with 52 wins in a career of 104 starts, Frosty Nelson’s triumphs were achieved in an era when there were few mobile starts and free-for-alls and even fewer penalty free races.

PRINCIPAL RACE WINS

  • 1953 South West Derby
  • 1953 3yo Country Derby (G3)
  • 1955 WA Pacing Cup (G1)
  • 1956 Royal Show Cup
  • 1957 500 Pound Interstate Hcp
  • 1957 State Sprint Championship (G2)
  • 1958 Invitation FFA
  • • 1958 Gloucester Park 500


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