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Inductee 2017: Harold Richter

Hall of Fame
Harold Ritcher

One of the foremost reinsmen in the Country

Harold Richter was born at Reeves Plains in South Australia in 1888 and at the age of 14 he drove The Professor to victory at Port Pirie for his father Martin who was a farmer who treated trotting as a profitable sideline. Martin Richter ran a stud farm and bred and reared the likes of Some Wood, Idol Poko, Idol bits, Idol Chimes, Silver Princess, Maori Chimes and Idol Bess from his stallions Patchen Chimes and Idolwood, and in 1915 moved to Perth permanently, leaving his son in South Australia.

Harold Richter had by this time begun to enhance his reputation as a superb judge of pace and the bulk of the horses that he was racing at this time were stock both bred and educated himself.

Harold Richter had married on 18th October 1913 and he and his wife Muriel ran the family farm with trotting only becoming a focus after the crops had been harvested.

After the younger Richter had developed the horses, those with better ability were sent to his father in Perth to continue their careers. Harold Richter had won races in Perth on his infrequent trips west, bringing horses for his father to train but father and son decided, like the Kersley family at around the same time, that the lack of a totalisator in South Australia and the greater racing opportunities, better prize-money and the soon to be opened Brennan Park track in Perth made the permanent move for Harold Richter worthwhile.

The move west was completed late in 1930 and Harold Richter‘s first winner in Perth after the move was Findon Derby at Brennan Park in May 1931. He settled on a farm at Grass Valley near Northam and later developed a stable in East Perth for his horses that were racing in the city. His first local champion was the superbly bred Kolect which WATA President JP Stratton had bred from the champion mare Kola Girl (WA Racing Hall of Fame Inductee 2014). Stratton leased Kolect to Richter and the 23 races the stallion won included 20 in Perth and the 1938 WA Pacing Cup. It was to be the first of four WA Pacing Cup wins for Richter and others followed in 1941 with Kolrock, 1947 with Dark David and 1955 with David’s Reward.

Kolect died in September 1949 at Richter’s Grass Valley property.

On retirement Kolect was the tightest assessed WA Bred horse in Perth, being on a 2:05 mark with only the 1940 Inter Dominion winner Grand Mogul being tighter assessed on a 2:04 mark.

Richter’s love of Kolect was legendary and an exchange in a Perth court reinforced this view.

Richter was being quizzed by counsel representing his wife in a matter involving separation and maintenance when the lawyer made the remark “Isn’t Kolrock the horse you told the Lieutenant Governor you loved more than your wife?” Richter’s response was to the point. “No – that was Kolect”. The 1941 WA Pacing Cup winner Kolrock was bred by Richter being a son of Kolect from Miss Rock and in winning the Cup Richter became the first person to breed, own, train and drive the winner of the Cup.

Richter also trained the 1951 WA Derby winner Telluride which won the WA Sires Produce Stakes just five days after his Derby triumph prompting the local press to claim “Few other trainers produce their horses as fit as Harold Richter”. 

His ability to produce a horse capable of winning first-up was renowned and invariably they were heavily supported and normally got the money. On 15th April 1949 Harold Richter became the first driver to wear clear plastic jacket and trousers over his driving silks in a race in Perth. His record on retirement saw him train and drive more than 100 winners in South Australia and Victoria and 200 winners in Western Australia with 179 of them coming in Perth.

After a winning treble at Thebarton on 24th May 1924 The News had waxed lyrical about Harold Richter, the most skilful pilot in South Australia.“Trotting men regard Richter as one of the foremost reinsmen in Australia. He has a seat that is almost perfect, remarkably good hands, and sound judgement where pace is concerned. This combination enables him to exert a powerful influence over horses and produce them at top form”.

He trained 227 Western Australia winners with 211 of them in Perth. Richter was twice placed in a Perth Driver’s Premiership and Perth Trainer’s Premiership, major wins including the four WA Pacing Cup winners in Kolect, Kolrock, Dark David and David’s Reward as trainer/driver. For many years he held the record for the most successful trainer in WA Pacing Cup history.

PRINCIPAL RACE WINS

  • 1938 WA Pacing Cup
  • 1941 WA Pacing Cup
  • 1947 WA Pacing Cup
  • 1951 WA Derby
  • 1951 WA Sires Produce Stakes
  • • 1955 WA Pacing Cup


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