| Cairns Boy Reaches Milestone after Hard Climb To The Top|
By Kevin O'Reilly
Frank Reys is approaching a notable event in his riding career - he is about to ride his 1000th winner.
Reys, who is in his 37th year, is married with a family and was first indentured as on apprentice in June, 1949, to trainer Alfred Baker at Cairns in North Queensland.
Frank Reys, whose parents came to the north of Queensland more than 40 years ago from the Philippines Islands, is one of a large family.
He has seven brothers and six sisters; one of his brothers rode with success in amateur events in the north of Queensland.
Long before he ever became an apprentice jockey, Frank Reys was a capable horseman and was one of a party who used to organise unofficial pony races in the Cairns district.
He also rode in pony speed-tests, and was generally regarded as one of the top boy-riders in those events.
After Reys began riding as an apprentice, he rode at Cannon Park, the racecourse at Cairns, and other district meetings.
It was at the district meeting at Gordonvale where Reys won his first race, on Cruedon.
Reys had early wins on Baysure at meetings in the Cairns area and later, when Reys went to Brisbane in the autumn of 1950, Baysure gave him his first win in the Brisbane metropolitan area.
During his years as an apprentice, first with Alfred Baker and later with Gordon Shelley, he rode about 45 winners.
The fact is that since the end of his apprenticeship he has travelled widely, shown great determination and general ability to be now in reach of one of the most coveted of most Australian jockeys' ambitions - to join the select band who have ridden over 1000 winners.
In his early riding years Reys had to battle hard to establish himself without the assistance of anyone but his "boss", Mr. Shelley.
In 1955 Reys won a handicap at Rosehill on Gascar Lad.
He also won the Warwick Farm Autumn Handicap on Beaupa, beating Earldom and Talisman, and finished third on Beaupa in the 1955 Sydney Cup to Talisman and Finito.
Reys rode three winners in an afternoon at Kembla Grange, the provincial course near the South Coast city of Wollongong.
Other Sydney winners ridden by Frank Reys include Mareta, New Farm, Cleave, Trigon Wood, Overwise, Nyndello, Veil Charm and Brilliant Beau.
Frank Reys came to Melbourne about eight years ago and has since had considerable success in the metropolitan area and at the Victorian provincial meetings.
Reys' best day's riding in Victoria was at Moe, about 80 miles from Melbourne, in Gippsland, on November 25, 1961.
He rode five winners during the afternoon and they were all prepared by trainer Alfred Robert Sands.
At Moonee Valley on June 15, 1963, Reys rode four winners.
He won the Lyndhurst Handicap on Worthy Chief; the Hallan Handicap on Tasho; the Clyde Handicap on Rowston Hall and Dandenong Handicap on Suzel.
Tasho and Rowston Hall were prepared by trainer Ray Hutchins, for whom Reys has won many races.
Worthy Chief and Suzel were prepared by the Western Australian light-harness expert Frank Kersley, who was then training gallopers in Victoria and was located at Keilor, beyond Essendon.
Frank Reys also rode four winners at Caulfield on April 13, 1968, winning on Blazer, Animate (who won the featured Victorian Handicap), Beauty Rest and Crown Lad.
Since he has been in Victoria, Reys has had considerable success in provincial cup races.
In 1968 he won the important Bendigo and Ballarat Cups on Bobalex.
Reys also won the Budgeree Purse at Moonee Valley on September 28, 1968, on Muma, who defeated Kinsman and Gadshill.
Padtheway is another on which Frank Reys has had some good race wins.
They include the Harrisfield Welter at Caulfield on December 7, 1968, and the Sydenham Handicap at Moonee Valley on December 21, 1968.
Padtheway, a bay gelding by Saranover from a Dhotrium mare, is raced by Messrs T. M. R. O'Brien and W. E. Maher and trained at Caulfield by J. Smith.
Smith also has the gelding's full-brother, Essla Way, who is a three-year-old.
Reys won the Elsternwick Stakes at Caulfield on August 4, 1962, on Santa Liza, who was trained by Alfred Robert Sands, who prepared his team at Mordialloc and is now training in Queensland.
Reys won the Byerley Handicap at Flemington on July 20, 1963, on Piping Hot, who is a brown mare by Pipe Of Peace from No Risk.
He also rode Kildarlin when she .carried 9.6 and beat The Dane and Concetto in the Hollymount Handicap at Moonee Valley on March 23, 1963.
Kildarlin was one of the best of the many good two-year-olds ridden by Reys.
A good performance put up by Frank Reys before he came from Queensland was to ride four winners in an afternoon at Cannamulla.
The winners were Wise Profit, Colonel Winter, Wisewood and Sir Horace.
Reys also has other pleasant memories of Cunnamulla, as he won the Cunnamulla Cup on no less than three occasions.
Cunnamulla, which is out west in Queensland, gave its name to the 1882 Sydney Cup winner, Cunnamulla, who was ridden by the crack lightweight Sammy Cracknell and carried only 6.0.
Cracknell was then in his mid thirties and he had to add about 7lbs in lead to make up 6.0).
Frank Reys won the Lawn Handicap at Flemington on July 1, 1962, on Man Of Ceylon, defeating Chestillion and Yangery.
Reys won the First Members' Handicap at Flemington on August 25, 1962, on Proud Sultan, and also the Montrose Handicap on Tasho.
Reys also won the First Lawn Handicap at Flemington on July 6, 1968, on La Paz.
In 1962 Reys won the Oaks Stakes at Flemington on Arctic Star; she was in Ray Hutchins' stable, for whom Reys is the stable rider.
Reys was on the unlucky Vanishing, who was beaten a neck by Always There in the Victoria Derby on November 2, 1968.
One of Reys' best remembered early winners in Victoria was True Mist, on which he won the Gainsborough Stakes at Flemington on April 3, 1961.
True Mist carried the green and white diagonal stripes, green sleeves and gold cap of Mr, E, Halley, and those colours are now carried by Big Scope and Palatial.
Palatial won the VRC Handicap at Flemington on November 9, 1968, ridden by Reys and beating Fans and Swift General.
Frank Reys rode four winners at Ballarat on November 22, 1968 Wiglet, Affreux Lad, Bobalex and Green Dace.
Reys has been riding with considerable success at the Victorian mid-week provincial meetings and looks like giving the premiership honours in that group a big shake at the end of the season in July.
This article was published in the Turf Monthly July 1998
Reproduced text & photos with the courtesy of Australasian Turf Monthly
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