Arthur Ward is reputed to have ridden more champions of the turf than any other Australian jockey – Bernborough, Comic Court, Carbon Copy, Rising Fast, Tulloch, Redcraze, Hydrogen, Prince Cortauld – to name just some. His superb sense of balance, sensitive hands and fine judgment of pace made him a favourite of trainers and punters alike.
Apprenticed to Rosehill trainer Fred Adams, Ward was a 'battler'' during much of his early career. His first important success came on the outsider Precise in the 1942 Villiers, but he had to wait two years before winning another feature race, on Decorate in the Canterbury Guineas. In the late 1940s he won two Rawson Stakes on Columnist and Vagabond, and in the period 1949-52 marked up 14 wins on champion sprinter, San Domenico. His first Sydney jockeys' premiership came in 1950-51.
In 1954 Ward enjoyed two strokes of good fortune. In March of that year George Moore was disqualified over the running of a horse at Hawkesbury, and Tommy Smith offered the position of stable rider to Ward. In the two years Moore was absent, Ward rode over 100 winners in Sydney and a host of major races interstate, and won his second jockeys' premiership in 1954-55. A second slice of luck came in October 1954, when a bad race fall put jockeys Williamson and Sellwood out of action. Ward suddenly found himself replacing Williamson on Rising Fast, whom he rode to victory in the Caulfield Cup.
Before his final retirement from the saddle in 1962 Ward had won virtually every feature race on the Australian calendar (with the exception of the Melbourne Cup where his 1956 mount, Redcraze, was narrowly beaten). He also spent three years in Singapore where he won 250 races and was twice leading jockey. As a trainer in subsequent years, he won an Epsom Handicap and Sydney Cup. In 1977 Ward went to Hong Kong to train where he had nine successful seasons.
Ward was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
Image Source: Copyright: Michael McQuillan's Classic Photography. Photographer: Ern McQuillan