Noted with some interest that Mel Schumacher is to be inducted into the Queensland Sports Hall of Fame next week.
Mel was one of the best hoops of his day – which is no mean feat given that he rode against the likes of Moore, Sellwood, Purtell, Podmore, Higgins, Johnson, Williamson, McGrowdie and co.
When he retired from the saddle, Mel had kicked home over 2,000 winners, highlighted by his 1958 Melbourne Cup victory on Baystone and 1961 Golden Slipper with Magic Night.
Still, in true Aussie tradition, Mel Schumacher will best be remembered for his life ban (subsequently reduced to 10 years and then 5½) for pulling Tommy Hill’s leg in the 1961 AJC Derby.
Riding Blue Era, ‘The Shoe’ reached out and grabbed Hill’s leg who was on board the fast finishing Summer Fair, thus impeding his rival’s momentum. Blue Era got up by a whisker.
Unfortunately for Schumacher they had only, literally, commenced using head on footage and, indeed, the cameraman had only got it set up as they turned for home in the Derby.
Talk about dumb luck! As you can imagine they got a bit of a surprise in the stewards room …
“I couldn’t believe it. I couldn't believe they had one (head on camera). It was just one of those things. You see bike riders do it, you see runners do it and this time it just happened to be on film and we got caught. What can’t speak can’t lie.” – Mel Schumacher.