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Jack of All Trades

Jack of All Trades

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Published by Anthony Read
A profile of the long-time groundskeeper of Flemington Racecourse, Jack Franklin.
A profile of the long-time groundskeeper of Flemington Racecourse, Jack Franklin.

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Published by: Anthony Read on Apr 03, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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This idea came from the fact I know Jack Franklin’s grandson. It seemed likea good way to combine a soft angle with the sport round.FlemingtonAnthony Read14/5/09
CAPTION: Jack Franklin stands with his father, jockey Les Franklin. Photo byAnthony Read.
Jack Franklin is an imposing figure. Surrounded by tattered photos of jockeys andhorses long gone, he sits with an almost regal air. This is no mere mortal. This manhas seen the ups and downs of the racing industry, and has played a major part in itsdevelopment.Jack is the track supervisor at Flemington Racecourse, and has been in the same jobfor 59 years. To put this into context, Bart Cummings is only two months older thanhim. As a result of this time spent by the track, he has a fairly solid idea of how to wina Melbourne Cup.“To start off with, you must have the horse,” Jack said.“They have to be trained to run the full distance. They also must be robust, and beable to withstand a lot of pressure.”“The crowds are fantastic, but there is a lot of noise and things going on. They mustbe able to deal with this pressure.”One of the most impressive racehorses that Jack has seen was Makybe Diva, winner of the Melbourne Cup three years in a row.“He was a true racehorse. He could space his runs well, and didn’t do a lot of racingin between Melbourne Cups,” Jack said.“He was also brought along at the right time by two separate trainers. Timing has a lotto do with making a winning horse.”Jack also pointed out the second most important aspect to a winning Melbourne Cupteam was the trainer.“I’ve seen three really impressive trainers in my time: Colin Hayes, Tommy Smithand Bart Cummings,” Mr Franklin said.“They all had the same ideas. Once they set a horse for a race, they rarely ever missedthe mark.”

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