Former jockey Maurice Stafford dies

Mark Oberhardt

Former jockey and trainer Maurice Stafford, who was associated with one of Queensland's most famous two-year-olds, has died aged 70.

Stafford rode hundreds of winners in Queensland and NSW in the 1960 and 70s but was mainly based in Rockhampton.

He was the rider of Ascot Bridge who is generally regarded as the best two-year-old to come out of country Queensland.

Stafford rode Ascot Bridge at his first start in 1968 when he won a juvenile race at Ipswich by 18 lengths but he often claimed the margin was closer to "a furlong" (200m).

He also rode Ascot Bridge when he beat Brisbane's top juvenile Kaoru Star, who later sired Golden Slipper winner Luskin Star, at Doomben.

Stafford took up training in the 1980s and was based in Brisbane in the 1990s where he trained a small but successful team.

After returning to Rockhampton he trained a few horses before ill health forced him to retire about five years ago.

Stafford was a close friend of the late race caller Wayne Wilson and his family.

"Dad and Maurice were like brothers and Maurice could always put a smile on Dad's face. Maurice was one of a kind,' Wilson's son Jamie said.

Stafford's funeral will be held in Rockhampton late next week.