Episode 276: Sandy Tait

Great to catch up with one of Australian racing’s most respected figures. Sandy speaks to us from Gunnong- Jugrawah, the family property near Gundagai where all of the Tait champions first saw the light of day. Please note this interview was recorded on Sunday Feb 7th prior to Cherry Tortoni racing in the C.S.Hayes at Flemington in which he finished fourth.

Sandy begins by summarising the career thus far of the promising Cherry Tortoni, the most recent metropolitan winner to carry the famous red and white silks.

He takes us back to a sprinter called Stirrup Cup who wasn’t an elite performer but a genuine little sprinter whose flashy markings made him a crowd favourite in the 1950’s.

Sandy shares his memories of Fil Allotta, the talented Randwick trainer who prepared horses owned by his parents for almost four decades.

The popular owner talks of Dark Jewel’s lacklustre racing career. Nobody in the family expected her to reach such dizzy heights as a broodmare.

Sandy acknowledges all of Dark Jewel’s winning foals with special emphasis on elite performers Cabochon and Baguette.

Daisy Tait who died in the early 90’s became very well known for her imaginative naming of family horses. Sandy remembers her efforts in  the pre Google era.

He pays tribute to Neville Begg who became the family trainer when Fil Allotta retired in the early 80’s.


Sandy talks of one of his favourites, the brilliant mare Spinning Hill- yet another descendant of Dark Jewel.


We leave racehorses briefly to talk of Sandy’s achievements on the polo field.


He speaks with great warmth of the horse who gave him and sister Jill the ride of a lifetime. He still can’t believe Tie The Knot won 21 races for $6.2 million in prize money. Those wins included thirteen at Gr 1 level. 

Sandy pays the most heartfelt of tributes to Tie the Knot’s trainer Guy Walter.

The dedicated racing man talks of his sister Jill and sons Ollie and James. Ollie and his wife Amber run the beautifully appointed Twin Hills Stud near Cootamundra. They are emerging as very serious commercial breeders. James runs the property for his father, and doubles as Sky Racing’s Southern Districts race caller.

Sandy and jill enjoy racing a few horses in the Riverina. Sandy acknowledges the efforts of his local trainer Tim Donnelly.

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