“To his great credit, and part of his enviable reputation, was his placement of the welfare and best interests of his horses above all other factors” (Alan McLean).
Born in the Western District of Victoria in 1924, Jim Moloney belongs to a racing dynasty which continues to the present day.
Moloney’s father, Jerry, was a prominent Warrnambool trainer who specialised in the training of jumpers. Jim Moloney was associated with horses from his earliest years, and at age 17 left school and began working in his father’s stable. In 1946 he took out his own trainer’s licence. Although he had only a small string of horses, he soon found success with his jumper, Llandrillo, winning the 1950 Australian Steeplechase and the 1951 Grand National Steeplechase. His first major win on the flat was Swynphilos in the 1955 Newmarket Handicap.
In 1956 Moloney began a new chapter in his career when he moved his stable to Mordialloc in Melbourne. His crowning success came in 1968-70 when his marvellous sprinter, Vain, won 12 of his 14 starts, including the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes, STC Golden Slipper, AJC Champagne Stakes, VATC Caulfield Guineas, VRC Craven A Stakes, Linlithgow Stakes and George Adams Handicap. Throughout Vain’s career Moloney had to ‘nurse’ the horse’s injury prone legs, which brought about his early retirement in 1970.
Although he never boasted a large stable, Moloney was a consistent winner of Australia’s feature races during the next 20 years. After Vain broke down, he won the 1970 Sydney Cup with Arctic Symbol and the VRC St Leger with Epidaurus. Then came Plush (Ascot Vale Stakes, Moonee Valley Stakes,Toorak Handicap), Sou’wester (Caulfield Guineas), Warri Symbol (Easter Cup, Ballarat Cup), Mr Independent (Herbert Power Handicap, Carlyon Cup), Rom’s Stiletto (1,000 Guineas, VRC Oaks), Affinity (Caulfield Cup), Ravenaux (Victoria Derby). His proudest moment came when he won the 1985 Centenary Goodwood Handicap with Mighty Avenger, ridden by Pat Hyland who overcame severe injury to return and take the mount. His last major win came with Zabuan in the 1999 Duke of Norfolk Stakes.
For many years Moloney was active on behalf of the Australian Trainers’ Association. He was also renowned as a mentor of young jockeys.
Image Source: Collin Bull