Vale Bert Wicks, a gentleman of the turf

Australia’s thoroughbred racing and breeding industries lost a true gentleman on Sunday, October 24 with the death of Bert Wicks.

Wicks, 87, was an influential figure in Tasmania as an author and administrator and for many years he was also on the board of the Australian Bloodhorse Breeders Association.

Bert stood the Melbourne Cup winner Wodalla (Helios) and bred the brother and sister Tasmanian Derby winners Hayworth (1966) and Champollion (1968) from his mare Nilo Star.

Bert also stood Lanesborough (Tamerlane) who sired 1970 Caulfield Cup winner Beer Street and 1972 Melbourne Cup winner Piping Lane.

Beer Street went on to become the sire of G1 winner and sire Watney who was also a descendant of Nilo Star.

Bert held a senior position in the Tasmanian Public Service and, in his spare time worked on radio and established the publishing company Libra Books.  He also devised a law cataloguing system that is still used today.  Bert also wrote Men of Influence, a History of the Tasmanian Racing Club.

Wicks was a friend and mentor to many in the thoroughbred industry and held just about every position on the committee of the Tasmanian TBA and was also a vice-chairman of the TRC.  Bert was always a sensible voice in any discussion and won wide respect for his knowledge and his generous spirit.

Bert was still breeding winners right up until his death and he got a great lift when Viva Delspec (Savoire Vivre) won the Donald Cup on October 11.

Bert’s wife Judy predeceased him earlier this year.  He is survived by his sons John and Phillip and their families.