FAMILY AFFAIR: Wade, Jason, Shane, Colleen and Malcolm Raabe with Picnic in the Park.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Wade, Jason, Shane, Colleen and Malcolm Raabe with Picnic in the Park. Contributed

Record-breaking horse creates more history

RACING: Winning 21 races in a calendar year has earned Murgon-owned horse, Picnic in the Park, the honour of the Queensland Country Racing Hall of Fame Award.

He achieved this feat with three months remaining in the season which included 15 wins in 13 weeks.

He was also the last horse to win two races in one day.

Owned and trained by the late Malcolm Raabe of Murgon, 'Picnic' won his maiden race in Nanango on August 18, 1984.

He then went on to re-write racing history on Queensland's country tacks.

For Colleen and Wade Raabe, the honour is bittersweet.

"It has been quite a few years now, so it is good that he is getting some more recognition," Wade said.

"There are a lot of good memories, but sad in the fact we know he could have won a lot more. He was never able to show his full potential.

"Dad would have been pretty ecstatic about this."

Wade and Colleen were unable to attend the Queensland Country Racing Awards in Emerald, where Malcolm was nominated for the Trainer Hall of Fame Award.

During his career, Picnic was named Queensland Horse of the Month and was one point short of being named horse of the year.

Picnic made Australian history in Townsville on February 23, 1985, winning his 20th race in style by five lengths.

Odds were on the gelding to win 80 to one and the news reported if a Sydney punter wanted to win back their airfare they would need to bet $77,000.

"When we took him to the races he knew he was there to race. He would play up to the crowd and show off," Colleen said.

"They didn't beat him out of the barriers. He was always first out of the barriers, except for this day, but he led for go to whoa."

 

Wade and Colleen are proud of Picnic in the Park's induction into country racing's hall of fame.
RACING LEGACY: Wade and Colleen are proud of Picnic in the Park's induction into country racing's hall of fame. Claudia Williams

Picnic's 20th win was a great 21st birthday present for jockey Chris Smith.

He wasn't the only jockey to celebrate a birthday with a win on Picnic - Nanango jockey Pat Smith won on his 18th birthday.

He was rewarded by Macolm with the prizemoney for his ride.

A broken leg on March 30, 1985, cut Picnic's racing career short.

He broke down a week before he was due to be sold in Sydney to try his luck racing down south.

Wade, who was eight years old at the height of Picnic's career looks back on the time fondly, remembering how the family travelled across Queensland every weekend to see the horse win.

"I would get home from school on Friday afternoon and Mum would drive to Mackay to race," he said.