As a young jockey J.J. Miller led a nomadic existence – riding in Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane and internationally in Mauritius and Singapore, where he won the 1963 Singapore Jockeys Premiership. In 1964 he settled in Adelaide, where he linked up with trainer Bart Cummings. In 1965-66 he won the Adelaide Jockeys Premiership, and the following year he rode the great stayer Galilee in a stunning series of victories, winning the Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup, C.B. Fisher Plate, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Autumn Stakes and Sydney Cup. In 1967 he also rode Tobin Bronze to win the Doncaster Handicap and the All-Aged Stakes.
In 1970 Miller re-settled in Perth, where he remained for the rest of his riding career, dominating the Western Australian calendar and triumphing in the Western Australian Turf Club Australian Derby six times. Occasional travel to the eastern states to compete in major carnivals brought further success with wins in the 1974 Victoria Racing Club Derby on Haymaker, 1979 Adelaide Cup on Panamint, and the 1979 Australian Cup on Dulcify.
Miller retired from riding in 1990 at the age of 57, and in 1997 took out a trainer’s licence.
Miller was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.
‘J.J. was famous for his strength and fitness and was one of the most effective ‘hands and heels’ riders Australia has ever seen.’ Greg Carpenter
‘…an unusual bloke, a good rider… They travelled well for him.’ Bart Cummings (from Les Carlyon, The Master: A Personal Portrait of Bart Cummings)
‘…a masterful jockey who could coax and kid horses to rise above themselves.’ (Les Carlyon, The Master: A Personal Portrait of Bart Cummings)
Image Source: Tony Feder, Fairfax Syndication