THE feats of unlikely Black Saturday hero Fabish, a former thoroughbred racehorse and clerk of the course, will be celebrated by the Healesville Amateur Racing Club at their picnic race meeting this Sunday, 7 February.

The equine hero will make a special appearance on the anniversary of the devastating bushfires to lead out the race named in his honour, the Fabish Open Trophy, at 2:40pm.

A year ago this Sunday fire roared through the township of Narbethong, approximately 21 kilometres from Healesville, and across Tarnpirr Farm, a 500 acre horse property owned by trainer Cliff Brown and his father Don.

Amazingly, none of the valuable racing stock on the property was lost, nor injured, thanks to the bravery of trainer and farm manager Alan Evett and the instincts of Fabish.

The 14-year-old grey gelding, who was prepared by premier trainer Mick Price during his racing career, sprung into action to save seven yearlings he was ‘mentoring’ in an outer farm paddock.

Evett expected a grim discovery when he went looking for the yearlings after the firestorm had passed, only to see old Fabish appear from the shadows leading the seven to safety in Indian file.

Fabish and Evett will be introduced to the crowd prior to Race 3 and will participate in a minute’s silence before leading out the field.

In addition, the top-weighted jockeys in each race at Healesville will wear a set of specially designed “We support the Yellow Ribbon cause” colours to commemorate those affected by the bushfires.

At a further five race meetings held across Victoria this weekend - Caulfield, Bendigo and Buchan on Saturday and Colac and Sale on Sunday – the crowd will pause to reflect on the horrific events of Black Saturday and the Clubs will fly their flags at half mast.

RVL Chief Executive Rob Hines said, “Black Saturday will go down as one of the most catastrophic days in Victoria’s history, which is why it is important to reflect on the amazing stories of survival and the heroics of people like Alan Evett and our own equine hero Fabish.

“The racing industry stands united with all Victorians this weekend in remembering those lost in these tragic bushfires and acknowledging the wonderful efforts of the emergency services and volunteers who came to the support of so many.”


THE Melbourne Racing Club will acknowledge the one year anniversary of Black Saturday on C. F. Orr Stakes Day at Caulfield this weekend.

In consultation with the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority (VBRRA), the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and State Emergency Services (SES), the Melbourne Racing Club will show its respects to those people deeply affected by the tragic events of Black Saturday on 7 February last year.

C. F. Orr Stakes Day is the Melbourne Racing Club’s official family day of the Caulfield Festival of Racing, and will feature a host of family entertainment.

In recognition of the anniversary of Black Saturday, he Club has offered complimentary racecourse admission to all those people and families who were affected by the bushfires directly, either through the loss of loved ones or the damage and loss of homes, and also to the tireless and courageous volunteers and workers from the CFA and SES.

In addition, the Club will fly all flags around the course at half mast as a mark of respect to those people who lost their lives in the tragedy, some of whom were involved in the racing industry.

The Melbourne Racing Club was scheduled to run CF Orr Stakes Day on 7 February last year. However, with conditions predicted to be oppressive and with forecast temperatures of around 44 degrees, a decision was made to transfer the meeting from Saturday to Sunday in the interests of all concerned.

As the horses, jockeys and trainers enter the Mounting Yard enclosure prior to the running of the C. F. Orr Stakes this Saturday, a short on-course announcement will be made inviting on-course patrons to take a moment to reflect and honour all bushfire affected people and their families and friends.



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