Richard Laurence “Darby” McCarthy OAM

(1944 - 2020) | Inducted in 2021

Darby McCarthy

Image: Mike McQuillan's Classic Photographs/Erin McQuillan


Richard Laurence McCarthy OAM, universally known as “Darby”, was a champion jockey and Australia’s most celebrated Indigenous rider. In a career spanning three decades, he won hundreds of races including three Stradbroke Cups, the Brisbane Cup, the Doomben 10,000 and – on the one day - the 1969 Australian Jockey Club Derby and Epsom Handicap double.

Born in Cunnamulla, Queensland, McCarthy rode at outback meetings from an early age before competing at the highest level in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and internationally. Racegoers admired his horsemanship, courage and flair. He stood up for what he believed in, and his 1976 campaign against a harsh riding suspension led to the Victorian government’s creation of the Racing Appeals Tribunal. A mentor for Indigenous athletes, in 2004 McCarthy was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to racing. 

Major wins

  • Summer Cup; 1962; Royal Randwick 
  • Stradbroke Handicap; 1963; Eagle Farm 
  • Stradbroke Handicap; 1964; Eagle Farm 
  • Stradbroke Handicap; 1966; Eagle Farm 
  • Brisbane Cup; 1966; Eagle Farm 
  • Railway Quality Handicap; 1966; Rosehill Gardens
  • Doomben 10,000; 1968; Doomben Racecourse
  • AJC Derby; 1969; Royal Randwick 
  • Epsom Handicap; 1969; Royal Randwick 
  • Chirnside Stakes; 1973; Caulfield 
  • Linlithgow Stakes; 1973; Flemington 
  • Memsie Stakes; 1977; Caulfield 
  • H E Tancred Stakes; 1979; Rosehill Gardens
  • T.S. Carlyon Cup; 1978; Caulfield 
  • C F Orr Stakes; 1978; Sandown