Grass Valley farmer makes Hall of Fame

Grass Valley farmer Harold Richter has been inducted into the West Australian Racing Industry Hall Of Fame.

Kolect being loaded on to a ship in Christ Church in 1938.

Kolect being loaded on to a ship in Christ Church in 1938.

His grandson Clinton Richter accepted the award at a gala dinner held at Crown Towers on March 2. 

Richter was born in South Australia in 1888 and in an era where trotters were both ridden and driven, rode his first winner at the age of 14 when he won with The Professor at Port Pirie.

His father Martin Richter moved to Western Australia in 1914 while Harold remained in South Australia to manage the family farm.

He sent trotters to WA for his father to train and drive but in 1929 Harold Richter, like the Kersley family at around the same time, decided that the lack of a totalisator in South Australia and the greater racing opportunities, better prizemoney and the soon to be opened Brennan Park track was too good an opportunity to miss.

In 1930 Richter settled on a farm at Grass Valley and later developed a stable in East Perth for when his horses were racing in the city.

Harold Richter trained 233 winners in Western Australia including three in races at the East Northam Oval with Kolect.

Kolect was bred by former WATA President and Hall of Fame inductee J P Stratton from WA Pacing Cup winner Kola Girl and leased to Richter.

Kolect won 23 races for Harold Richter and in 1938 he became the first of Richter’s four WA Pacing Cup winners and at the same time became the first Western Australian bred winner of the State’s premier harness race.

Harold Richter and horse Kolect, who won 23 races for the trainer.

Harold Richter and horse Kolect, who won 23 races for the trainer.

Kolect was also the first Western Australian horse to compete in an Inter Dominion in New Zealand when Harold Richter took him by ship to the 1938 Championships in Christchurch.

Richter won his second WA Pacing Cup in 1941 with Kolrock which he had bred himself when he stood Kolect at stud between racing campaigns.

Harold Richter became the first person to breed, own, train and drive the winner of the WA Pacing Cup.

Further WA Cup success came with Dark David in 1947 and David’s Reward in 1955 and Richter’s four training successes in the WA Pacing Cup has only ever been bettered by Phil Coulson and Gary Hall Snr who are also Hall of Fame inductees.

He trained and drove Dark David to win the 1946 WA Derby and Sires Produce Stakes double and won the 1944 Sires Produce Stakes with Kolector.

Richter also trained and drove the 1951 WA Derby winner Telluride which won the WA Sires Produce Stakes just five days after his Derby triumph prompting the local press to claim: “Few other trainers produce their horses as fit as Harold Richter”.

His ability to produce a horse capable of winning first-up was renowned and invariably they were heavily supported and normally got the money.