As dynamic duos go, Alfred Uptin and his hoofed mate Stanton topped the list at Mogo.
The pair’s special bond is expected to live on even after their passings, only 10 weeks apart.
Mr Uptin, 89, died peacefully in April, while thoroughbred Stanton capped off a long life in June, after ailing health and old age got the better of him.
Both were icons in the community – Mr Uptin for his well-tended rose garden at Mogo’s entrance and Stanton for his successful career on the track and milestone age of almost 38 years.
Mr Uptin’s widow, Carol Osling, said it was a shock to lose the pair such a short time apart.
“We lost Stanton only 10 weeks after Alf … it could have been of a broken heart,” Ms Osling said.
“On the day of Alf’s funeral, we had a barbecue at home and Stanton went around to every person; I’m sure he was looking for Alf.
“He put his head on Alf’s son’s shoulder as he must have thought he was the closest thing to him.”
Ms Osling said it was a coincidence the former racehorse came to them 23 years ago.
“Alf used to ride when he was very young, but I was always terrified of horses,” she said.
We lost Stanton only 10 weeks after Alf … it could have been of a broken heart.- Carol Uptin
A note left by Eurobodalla trainer Colin ‘Chicka’ Pearson, who saw the property as a suitable spot for Stanton to spend his retirement, sparked the beginning of the lifelong friendship.
“We were just at the right place at the right time,” Ms Osling said.
Mr Pearson, who owned Stanton from 1985 to his retirement in 1994, said the thoroughbred lived a wonderful life at the hands of his owners.
“I don’t think a thoroughbred could get a better home,” he said.
“He was always on the Christmas cards; he’d get a new rung every year and he was always well fed.
Mr Pearson had fond memories of his mate, Mr Uptin.
“He was a wonderful man, a tough old bugger,” he said.
“We always joked Stanton would outlive Alf.”
Ms Osling plans to keep the garden legacy alive, with Stanton laid to rest on the property.
Stanton a standout ‘gentleman’: Chicka Pearson
Thoroughbred Stanton enjoyed a successful career on the track before he came to call Mogo’s famous rose garden home.
Eurobodalla trainer Colin ‘Chicka’ Pearson acquired Stanton in 1985, bringing him down to the saltwater of Batemans Bay.
Stanton claimed 19 wins during his career, including the Goulburn Cup, the Fisher’s Ghost Cup at Campbelltown and the Nowra Cup.
He was retired in 1994, going out on a win at Moruya Racecourse and living until the age of 37 – a rarity in the breed.
“I can’t think of any horse who’s lived that long,” Mr Pearson said.
“He was so honest in his races and he was never a day's trouble. Thoroughbreds can be very frisky, but he was a gentleman.”