Harry White's death at 78 leaves horse racing community devastated

Harry White smiles during a photoshoot at the Atrium at Flemington racecourse in 2013. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Harry White smiles during a photoshoot at the Atrium at Flemington racecourse in 2013. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

The Australian sporting community is mourning the tragic death of champion jockey Harry White.

One of Australia's most gifted jockeys who rode four Melbourne Cup winners, White has died at the age of 78.

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A member of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, White teamed up with Bart Cummings for three of his four Melbourne Cup triumphs.

He rode Think Big (1974 and 75) and Hyperno (1979) to victory for the legendary trainer.

White also rode Arwon, trained by George Hanlon, to victory in Australia's great race at Flemington in 1978.

Alongside Bobby Lewis, White shares the record for riding the most winners in Australia's greatest thoroughbred race.

The Victoria Racing Club paid tribute to White, who was admired as a master tactician in staying races during a golden era of racing.

"White is revered as one of Australia's greatest jockeys," a VRC statement said.

VRC Chairman Neil Wilson described White as one of the best jockeys Australia has ever seen.

“Harry had an intuitive touch with a horse and a remarkable ability to get them to settle and perform at their best," Wilson said.

Harry White, pictured here with Peter 'Crackers' Keenan at Roy Higgins' public funeral service in 2014.
Harry White with Peter 'Crackers' Keenan at Roy Higgins' public funeral service in 2014. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

“He rode in a golden era of jockeys and emerged as not only one of the most successful, but one of the most well-liked to ever compete at Flemington.

“He enjoyed a competitive rivalry with Roy Higgins throughout the late 1960s and 1970s which included one of the great finishes in the Melbourne Cup in 1979 with Harry on Hyperno narrowly beating Roy on Salamander.

“He had a strong association with the legendary trainers Bart Cummings, George Hanlon and Angus Armanasco – all fellow members of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame – and was loved by everyone in racing.

“His popularity accompanied him into retirement which saw Harry gift his entire trophy collection to the VRC and set up the Harry White Trust to assist people in the racing industry in need.

“The VRC extends its condolences to Harry’s children Dean, Brent and Karen."

Harry White, pictured here riding Think Big at the Melbourne Cup in 1975.
Harry White rides Think Big at the Melbourne Cup in 1975. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Racing world reacts to news about Harry White

In a riding career that spanned 35 years, White rode more than 2000 winners and was crowned Melbourne's champion jockey on four occasions.

His resume also included Caulfield Cup wins on Sobar and Ming Dynasty.

He also rode Rubiton to victory in the 1987 Cox Plate.

White retired from riding in 1995 and was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.

"Terribly sad news," tweeted racing pundit Shane Anderson.

"A lovely man who was a master in the saddle. Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductee, 2,112 career wins including 69 Gr1s.

"Four-time Melbourne Cup winner, great partnership with Bart Cummings and others. Icon."

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with AAP

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