Noel McGrowdie, son of successful jockey, Charlie McGrowdie, was born, and commenced his riding career, in Brisbane. Having won the apprentice premiership in Brisbane, and with the curtailment of racing there during the war, he moved to Sydney in 1943.

McGrowdie’s first feature race winner was the Maurice McCarten trained Kiaree in the 1943 Epsom Handicap (also McCarten’s first major win as a trainer). A natural lightweight and a superb distance rider, McGrowdie quickly established a reputation as a ‘big race’ rider. The first of three Metropolitan victories came with Nightbeam in 1944, a second with Murray Stream in the following year, and a third with Straight Draw in 1957. His imposing list of wins also included a Melbourne Cup with Straight Draw, three Sydney Cups, two Brisbane Cups, the Australian Cup, Moonee Valley Cup, Newmarket Handicap, Doncaster Handicap, AJC Derby, Doomben Cup and three Doomben 10,000s.

In 1960 McGrowdie left Australia to take up a riding contract in Malaysia. In his first season he won the Singapore Gold Cup and led the jockeys’ premiership with 59 winners. In September, 1961, he was again a clear leader on the premiership table when he was tragically killed in a car accident.

“Digger Mc Growdie was one of Australia’s finest ‘big-race’ jockeys” (Warwick Hobson)

Image Source: Fairfax Syndication