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Bill Whittaker Book Prize Past Winners

The Bill Whittaker Book Prize is awarded every two years to the author of what is adjudged to be the best book about horse racing published in the preceding two years.

Previous winners:

2014 Shared between Jessica Owers for her book "Shannon" and John Adams for his book "Over The Hurdles"

2012 Jessica Owers for her work "Peter Pan: The Forgotten Story Of Phar Lap's Successor"

2010 Keith Patterson "The Master's Touch"

Which is all very well but who was Bill Whittaker?

Bill Whittaker was born in 1929 in Malanda in Queensland and spent 40 years (from 1959) as a reporter / writer for the Sydney Morning Herald focussing on racing and harness racing though until 2004 and was honoured with an Order Of Australia for his contributions as a racing journalist.

He was Australian Sportswriter Of The Year in 1984 and in 1987 was Racing Writer Of The Year.

He was honoured as a "Living Legend" by Harness racing New South Wales and in 2007 he received a special "Chairman's Medal" for his contributions to the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame.

When interviewed in 2008 by Bluebloods magazine, he recalled as a young lad having lost the two pounds he had saved up by backing Ajax in the St George Stakes in 1940 when it was beaten by High Caste. "When I confessed to my mother Marie that I had lost the money she grimaced but recovered to predict that it wasn't all bad because it would cure me from betting. Well, mothers are usually right but not this time."

Bill rated the three best horses he ever saw as Bernborough, Tulloch and Kingston Town.

Bill passed away in 2009 but the Bill Whittaker Book Prize commemorates his contribution to the industry.