The Black Stallion
Nicopolis was a beautiful black stallion, known for his good temperament and as much loved in the stables as he was on the racetrack. He was described as “a real gentleman horse” by jockey Keith Mifflin, who was apprenticed to Nicopolis’ trainer Harold Campbell. The horse’s manners were not his only virtue. He was a versatile racer. As a two year old he won the WA Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400m and as a three year old he won the WA Derby over 2400m. In fact he won every race he entered as a three year old.
Nicopolis’ was surrounded by a circle of well known and successful people. He was owned by wealthy Perth businessman Furza Brady and ridden regularly by champion jockeys Frank ‘Tiger’ Moore and Frank Flannery. Harold Campbell was a leading trainer. He and his wife Jess took care of many young stablehands and apprentices, the most notable being a young man from Clontarf named Willy Gould. Gould had come looking for work with horses, Campbell took him on as a strapper and Nicopolis was cared for by this young man who became widely known in racing circles as having a ‘golden touch’ with horses.
In 1963, Nicopolis won the nine furlong Strickland Stakes and ‘Sports Novels’ magazine reported, “He clipped ¾ second off a 13-year-old State record by clocking 1.50¼ and spread eagling a top-notch field.”
As a late three year old Nicopolis travelled to Victoria where he was ridden to victory by Tiger Moore in the first division of the Manfred Stakes. He went on to win five stakes races at Caulfield including the JJ Liston Stakes and consecutive Toorak Handicaps in 1963 and 1964. He won the Invitation Stakes in 1965 and finished his career with a total of eleven black-type wins.
Nicopolis (Greek, city of victory) was an ancient city of Epirus, founded in 31 BC by Octavian in memory of his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at Actium.
Jockey Frank Tiger Moore named his family boat, ‘Nicopolis’.