Emotions were clearly running high across two families back in mid-July.
At Albion Park on July 11, rookie pacer Whata Legacy broke maiden ranks when proving triumphant in the Burwood Stud Pace defeating Sheer Artistry and Convinced in a time of 1:56.6.
Some four days later, Whata Roller scored in the $31,160 J.C McMullen, one of the co-features on Sunshine Sprint race night at Albion Park.
Both winners were prepared by John McMullen, and his daughters Dannielle (Whata Legacy) and Taleah (Whata Roller) took the winning drives.
Both winners were bred and raced by the late Norm McCloy and his wife, Margaret.
Earlier this year, Norm passed away aged 70, following a battle with cancer but his legacy lives on with many of his horses still racing and winning throughout the country.
McCloy was a giant of the industry. Based in Victoria, he bred and raced so many horses spanning close to four decades.
Many carried the ‘Whata’ prefix – including Whata Avenue, Whata Roller, Whata Journey, Whata Challenge, What Special, What Bluff, Whata Escape, Whata Shaw Thing and Whata Punt among others – with most being either raced or leased.
At one stage, 120 of his stock were racing.
The horses were spread amongst many trainers over the years, including John McMullen, Trevor Hillson, Mattie Craven and John McDermott. Even former Sydney race caller/conditioner John Tapp was involved at one point.
A keen breeder, Norm also had shares in outstanding stallions Art Major, Rock N Roll Heaven, Roll With Joe and Sportswriter among others.
His first horse was Truscott Boy and while he enjoyed solid success with several handy types over the journey including South Australia Oaks winner Please Don’t Tease, his best pacer was Bonamax, a star performer with close links to the Sunshine State.
McCloy bought into Bonamax as a two-year-old from Auckland trainer Gary Hillier following three wins from five starts.
Hillier is best known as the trainer/driver of The Bru Czar (13 wins, $436,000), a star of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Placed under the care of South Australian trainer Neil and Paul Cavallaro, the Whata Baron colt chased Derby glory back in 1992.