For 30 years Neville Begg was at the forefront of Australian, trainers. His education in the profession began in 1945 at the early age if 14, when he was employed as a stableboy by leading Sydney trainer, Maurice McCarten. He remained with McCarten for 22 years, the last 10 as stable foreman.
In 1967 Begg started his own training operation at Randwick. Winners were not long in coming and in 1968 he won his first feature race with Divide and Rule in the AJC Derby. For nearly two decades he was always in the top five of Sydney trainers, and nine times he was second on the list behind the mighty Tommy Smith. His best year came in 1978-79 when he had 88 winners. In total he is reckoned to have trained the winners of 139 feature races, including 39 at Group 1 level.
Over the period Begg trained a myriad of fine horses. His own favourite was the brilliant grey Emancipation, with whom he won the Canterbury, Chelmsford, Hill, Chipping Norton and All-Aged Stakes, successive George Ryder Stakes, and the Doncaster Handicap. In particular, Begg was renowned as a trainer of fillies, notably for the classic races. His horses won two AJC, two VRC, two WATC, and four Queensland Oaks, as well as four Wakeful Stakes. He also won the 1980 Golden Slipper with the filly Dark Eclipse.
The origin of Begg’s success lay in his attention to detail. He personally inspected every horse in work, supervised their trackwork, mixed their feed, and kept in close contact with his clients. In simple terms, he was the complete professional.
“Begg is the most dedicated and hardest-working trainer that I know in Australia” (Bert Lillye)
Begg was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2016.
Image Source: Bradley Photographers