Skeltons reminisce in Cobden

By Paul McBride

Errol and Max Skelton, members of the legendary ‘Skelton boys’ riding dynasty, were back on the West Coast this week tracing memories and catching up on old friends.
The Skelton name is legendary in thoroughbred racing and the Cobden-born brothers still regard the West Coast as home.
“Max and I came across to the Coast after the New Zealand Cup meeting and are taking a trip down memory lane,” Errol Skelton said.
“Times have changed, as when we were growing up there were four stores in Cobden — Nimmos, Watkins, Ramages and Belchers. Our family home was 15 Fox Street, all us kids were brought up there. We terrorised the town — Bill, Frank, Bob, Faye, myself, Betty, Beverly, Joyce and young Max.
Max Skelton quipped: “There were quite a few of us kids growing up in the old homestead — I reckon dad used to go to bed early.”
While in Greymouth the two brothers checked out the Greymouth Jockey Club’s Omoto track, the scene of many winners for the Skeltons.
“Once a jockey, always a jockey,” Max smiled. “I probably rode close to 500 winners in my time, 50 overseas, and Omoto has fond memories for me.”
“Me too,” Errol said, “but I had a weight problem and was the only one of us lot who rode over fences. I only had 300 rides but training horses, not riding them was my specialty. I trained Our Flight to win the NZ Derby and Rose Mellay to win the Auckland Cup.”