From a Great Harness Racing Dynasty
As a teenager Fred Kersley was often left in charge of the family stables in Adelaide while his father, Fred J Kersley (‘Pop') was away campaigning horses interstate. On hearing of the near completion of Brennan Park (later renamed Gloucester Park) ‘Pop' made the momentous decision to start afresh and move the family to Western Australia.
Later Fred Kersley recalled the tough trek across the Nullarbor in a Dodge. “There were seven of us... we carried all our own food and water and followed the telegraph line west, sleeping under the stars at night. It took a week on this old sand track to reach Midland Junction where the car refused to start again after we had parked it. To this day I don't know how we made it.”
Once settled in the west, he never looked back. At Brennan Park on the 31st of October 1931, the young Fred Kersley enjoyed the first of almost 600 winners in Western Australia.
As a trainer and driver of young horses, Fred Kersley had no peer with his record of six WA Derbies and two Sires Produce Stakes between 1938 and 1964. One of the biggest races on the Western Australian calendar during that period was the Easter Cup which Fred won five times with a succession of great horses including Aflame, Magic Flute and his all time favourite, Mercedes.
While comparisons with Fred and his equally successful older brother Frank cannot be avoided, Fred Kersley Snr was an outstanding horseman in his own right with a record matched by few. He topped the Perth Trainers' Premiership on four occasions and the Perth Drivers' Premiership four times. He was runner-up on the Perth Drivers' Premiership on seven occasions (with five of them being behind Frank).
Winning the Queen Elizabeth Stakes
In 1954 Fred Kersley was introduced to a youthful Queen Elizabeth when he won the 1954 Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Happy Mint at Gloucester Park before a crowd in excess of 35,000.
Kersley vs Kersley
Father and Son
The Final Showdown
Kersley had all but retired when his son, Fred R Kersley, coaxed him out of retirement to drive in the 1972 WA Pacing Cup. His son had qualified two runners in the race: James Eden and the 2/1 favourite, Local Product. Keeping the favourite for himself, Fred R Kersley put his father behind James Eden, but in a typically immaculate drive, Fred Kersley Snr passed his son to win the Cup. There was no way that Fred Kersley Snr would be tempted back into the cart after such a perfect end to his career.