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Cath’s Village

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Shawy38 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 14 Jun 2018 at 3:37pm
By Brad Bishop

It will be with mixed emotions that Kellie Curtain heads to Moonee Valley this Saturday.

The enthusiastic owner is excited about seeing Cath's Village, a special filly whom she races with a large group of friends, make her city debut in the $120,000 Embassy Print Solutions Sprint (1000m).

But the visit will be tinged with sadness, given it marks the first time Curtain has returned to the venue of her father's death.

Kevin Curtain, a former trainer, died suddenly while saddling up his runner in the last race at the corresponding Valley meeting in 1991, the day after his 57th birthday.

"I wasn't there the day that he died and I haven't been back there since," Curtain said.

"I've recently returned from living overseas, but I haven't really wanted to go back to the Valley since Dad died.

"We'll be there this week, though. At home I've got the number of the stall that he died in, and I know it's probably changed a bit since then, but I'm tempted to go back there and have a look around."



Cath's Village's city debut coincidentally falls almost exactly 27 years since Kevin's death and the team that race the Darren Weir-trained filly - which includes another of Kevin's children, Stephen - are marking the occasion in a special way.

The three-year-old's jockey Chris Parnham will sport the colours Kevin's horses carried to victory on hundreds of occasions.

It will be the first time since the day of his death that they have been carried in a race by a horse connected with the Curtains.

Cath's Village's nine starts to date have been in Spicer Thoroughbreds colours, including Geelong wins at her past two starts, and once Kellie heard she was heading to town she started a campaign to get her in the family colours for the day.

All was going well until late last week.

"I put in a call to Racing Victoria to try and organise it and they said we no longer had the colours, they weren't registered to us," Curtain said on Thursday morning.

"Last Friday got a call to say someone else had registered the colours, but we couldn't find the person who had.

"Dad trained a lot of horses for Lloyd Williams in the early years so I sent him an SOS asking if he could help us out and he sent me message saying it doesn't matter, as long as the other person doesn't have a runner in your race in those colours, you can run them.

"It turns out that we could, so I rang Mitty's and they're doing an express version, which I'm picking up this afternoon."

The Curtain colours of navy with a white V and armbands and cap are similar to Williams' famed colours and the Hall of Fame owner fondly recalled his friendship with the trainer who was known to most as 'Tosca'.

They struck up an association in the early 1970s, which Williams said, in hindsight, was not a great surprise.

"I was a punting owner and he was a punting trainer," Williams said. "Punters tend to find each other.

"I didn't have all my horses with him, but he was a very good friend."

Their most prolific winner together was Nearest, who Williams said 'would have won 19 or 20 races in town', including eight at Sandown, which at the time was a record.

They also shared a special victory on the biggest day on the Australian calendar.

"In 1981 I won the Melbourne Cup with Just A Dash and Kevin won the second leg of the (daily) double, which held a lot of money in those days, with That's The Time," he said.

"He was very happy that day. We both were."




Seeing her father's colours back in action aboard Cath's Village will only add to the occasion for Curtain, who is part of the group of friends who race the filly named in honour of Cath Baker, who suffers from MND.

Curtain and Baker will be joined by around 35 other owners, or close friends, at The Valley to celebrate Saturday's occasion.

"There's a group of us who have got a room there for the day and Cath will be there, which is great, because things are getting a little more difficult for her mobility-wise," Curtain said.

"It's nice to have Dad's colours on, but it's really about Cath. It's a real celebration of 'the hood', this filly, so everyone will be cheering her home.

"I don't know how much of a chance she's got, it's a step up, but maybe we can rewrite the fairytale, because the horse that Dad was saddling up when he died, it still ran but finished second-last."
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Carioca View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carioca Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2018 at 4:56pm
Good story with a poignant twist I hope the filly performs up to their expectations, forgot all about K Curtain but remember Nearest quite well, think he was by Good Brandy, liver chestnut who loved the slow ( don't think he was by Nullarbor) just popped in lol, maybe when he passed on he went to Ray Hutchins but not sure, as the story said loved Sandown along with Stainvita and Sampson.
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pnclick View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pnclick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2018 at 6:12pm
Great story. I remember that Moonee Valley day with Kiven passed away, geez time flies, feels like about 10 years ago.
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Xavier View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xavier Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jun 2018 at 4:09pm
I'll have $15 ew
Karl and Susan Kennedy are my heroes
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Prince of Penzance View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Penzance Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jun 2018 at 4:22pm
Good luck.
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