Tasmania Mourns Passing Of Bert Wicks
Tasmanian racing is mourning the death of breeding industry leader Bert Wicks who passed away on Sunday at the age of 87.
Wicks was regarded as one of the most influential figures in Tasmanian racing and one of the trailblazers of the state's breeding industry.
He was responsible for importing many top line stallions to Tasmania including Lanesborough who produced 1972 Melbourne Cup winner Piping Lane and 1970 Group 1 Caulfield Cup winner Beer Street.
His knowledge of thoroughbred breeding was second to none and his reputation earned him a place in the inaugural intake of the Tasmanian Racing Hall of Fame in 2005.
His administrative prowess was showcased during his time as a committeeman with the Tasmanian Racing Club and as a board member of the Australian Bloodhorse Breeders Association.
Born in Hobart in 1923, Wicks served in the RAAF during World War II and upon his return from service he established a stud farm near Hobart where he stood Melbourne Cup winner Wodalla.
One of his most cherished achievements was breeding two Tasmanian Derby winners of the 1960s in brother and sister Hayworth and Champollion from one of his foundation mares Nilo Star.
Wicks was educated in Hobart and while he had a legal background his later years in the workforce were in a senior position with the Tasmanian Public Service as an advisor to the government.
He also established a publishing company Libra Books where he produced many popular titles including An Introduction to Thoroughbred Breeding, which was hailed by many leading industry figures as the best book of its type on the subject.
His publishing works were diversified and included Self Editing for Novice Writers and Understanding the Constitution – The Plain Words.
Wicks, who held most positions on the committee of the TRC including vice-chairman, published Men of Influence a history of the Tasmanian Racing Club that was lauded as a masterpiece.
His passion for breeding thoroughbreds remained constant with this month's Donald Cup in Victoria won by Viva Delspec (Savoire Vivre-Alirhap) a horse he bred.
Wicks wife Judy died earlier this year. He is survived by his sons John and Phillip and their families.
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