Owner and breeder Sheila Gwynne remarked to her daughter Sally that Raconteur was her champion racehorse on the day he was born.
How true were those words for Raconteur rose to be a champion three-year-old winning the 1952 WA Guineas, WATC Derby and the 1953 Perth Cup.
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It took another 20 years for VRC Derby winner Dayana, trained by the legendary Bart Cummings, to repeat the effort in the WATC Derby and Perth Cup in 1972-73.
Raconteur also won the Belgravia Stakes, Winterbottom Stakes and Strickland Stakes - winning 10 races straight including the Perth Cup.
Raconteur was the result of Gwynne’s meticulous mating of her mare Jolly Imp (Olympian-Jolly Girl, by Jolly Beggar) with the stallion Remarc (Marconigram-Revere, by Heroic).
Warmly known by his stable name as “Joe” Raconteur possessed a gentle nature, which is not the norm for a colt-cum-stallion.
So gentle was Raconteur that the studmaster’s children were often found playing with with the stallion in his paddock.
He was trained by the great Eddie Spencer and ridden by the champion jockey Eric Treffone, who was the older brother of leading trainer Reg Treffone, who prepared Aquanita another great WA racehorse.
Raconteur won in both Sydney and Melbourne.
He won the 1953 Villiers Stakes at Randwick, ridden by turf legend Neville Sellwood and won the 1955 VRC CM Lloyd Stakes at Flemington.
When he won the Villiers, he was trained by Phil Allotta.
Remarkably, Raconteur returned from a tendon injury to win at the elite level in Melbourne.
He even returned from a season at stud to race again!
By the time Gwynne retired Raconteur she had her nursery called Fairfield Stud at Armidale.
Breeders were reluctant to send their broodmares to a “home-bred” stallion and Gwynne struggled in those early seasons to get the sufficient numbers of mares to put enough foals on the ground.
Then came his first feature winner Thompson’s Bay in the 1961 Belmont Park Cup followed Activity in the 1962 WA Oaks.
The trickle was to become a flood of Stakes winners through Dinna Tell in the 1963 Champion Fillies Stakes; Sweet Saga in the 1964 WA Oaks and Railway Stakes; Baccare in the 1965 WATC Derby, WA Guineas and Belgravia Stakes; Muette in the 1965 Champion Fillies Stakes; 1966 WA Oaks and WA St Leger; Nanna Tale in the 1964 Karrakatta Plate and 1965 WA Sires Produce and Norval Boy in the 1963 WA Guineas, 1965 Lee-Steere Stakes and two WATC Plates (1963-64).
Raconteur was to die at 23 years of age in 1972 from a colic attack.
Raconteur was such a magnificent specimen that he won the Champion Thoroughbred stallion award, twice (at two entries) at the Perth Royal Show.
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