The member of a noteable racing family, Cecil Godby began his career as a jockey. Soon after winning the VRC Maribyrnong Plate on Ibex in 1900 he turned to training, and during the next 40 years he was consistently in the top ranks of his profession.

The highpoint of Godby’s career came in the early 1920s when he trained some 20 horses for owner-partners Jack Corteen and George Tye. The only horse not in the partnership was the champion, Heroic, which was owned solely by Corteen but trained by Godby. With Heroic Godby won a succession of races including the VRC Ascot Vale Stakes and Maribyrnong Stakes, the AJC Champagne and Chelmsford Stakes, the AJC Derby and the Caulfield Guineas. In 1921-22 Godby was the leading Victorian metropolitan trainer.

Godby run of success came to a temporary halt in 1924 when he, Corteen, Tye and jockey Cairns were disqualified by the stewards for 12 months over the running of their horse Purser in the Coongy Handicap. Following a poor run in the Coongy, Purser came out the following Saturday and won the Caulfield Cup after being backed from 50/1 to 14/1. Godby never ceased to assert that the stewards’ decision was wrong.

Despite this setback, Godby continued a successful training career for another 20 years. Among his many feature wins were two more Caulfield Cups, an Australian Cup, three Moonee Valley Cups, two Futurity Stakes, an Epsom Handicap, a Cantala Stakes, Oakleigh Plate and Toorak Handicap.

“Cecil Godby was not only a great trainer, he had a flair about him that could easily resemble Douglas Fairbanks (Jack Styring).

Cecil was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2016. 

Image Source: Australian Racing Museum Collection