Vale Joe Petricevich

Astute trainer Joe Petricevich, a leading light in harness racing in Western Australia in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, died last Friday night at the age of 97.

Phil Petricevich, the youngest of his ten children, said it was quite moving that his father died just moments before the 12 runners got under way for the $450,000 WA Pacing Cup at Gloucester Park.

It was on January 1, 1962 that Joe Petricevich achieved his most important success as an owner and trainer when Beau Travis, driven by Fred Kersley jnr and six days before his 23rd birthday, finished brilliantly and won by almost three lengths from the pacemaker Peppercorn in the 2450 pound ($4900) WA Trotting Cup over two miles, witnessed by an enthusiastic crowd of 16,000.

A great conditioner of pacers and an excellent judge of a young horse, Joe Petricevich purchased Beau Travis as a yearling for 36 pounds ($72) and the gelding earned more than $20,000 in a wonderful career, which included a victory over Gay Society and Copper Chief in the 1958 WA Derby.

Petricevich also won the 1964 WA Derby with the brilliant Rising Scott beating Good Grattan and Tugman.

The distinctive Petricevich livery of red and gold horseshoes was also carried to victory by top-flight pacers Beau Corse (purchased for 80 pounds), Shagrim and Coneeda.

Beau Corse notched his 16th win when Kersley drove him to victory over Defiance and Leuros in the 1961 Winter Cup; Kersley was also in the sulky when Shagrim won the 1967 Navy Cup and when Coneeda won the 1967 Fremantle Cup shortly after starting at 33/1 and finishing second to Binshaw in the 1967 Inter Dominion championship final.

Petricevich also enjoyed considerable success in the 1990s with Picture Son (16 wins) and Theresa Franco (seven wins).