NSW country domination, metropolitan demand, overseas adventures, a Melbourne Cup ride and even meeting the Queen. It was all part of an extraordinary career belonging to Adamstown jockey Merv Maynard, who died on Sunday aged 85.
Now the National Aboriginal and Islander Sports Hall of Fame inductee has been remembered as a successful and trail blazing rider through one of Australian racing’s golden eras.
“I remember watching him go around when I was a kid and he rode to a fair age,” Newcastle Herald racing expert Gary Harley said. “A great record and a good bloke – nature’s gentleman.”
Maynard twice claimed the Newcastle Jockey Club premiership and saluted every year he rode between 1948 and 1994, including 18 NSW country cup victories. He recorded more than 1500 winners in total, including group and listed races across four countries – Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia.
His heyday came in the 1950s, sought out by the likes of renowned trainer Tommy Smith and a Melbourne Cup appearance in 1952. In 1992 he met Queen Elizabeth, upon personal request, four decades after winning the inaugural Queen’s Cup at Randwick.
Maynard is survived by wife Judy, also a trainer, son John and five grandchildren.