Monday 16 January 2017

Trainer of Champions.

Thomas Payten, or Tom as he was known, was a highly skilful horse trainer, especially of two year olds. Born at Menangle to Irish parents Martin Payten and Mary Connors on April 5th 1855, he was the second of twelve children. He was brought up on his fathers farm, and at the age of 19, he joined Michael Fennelly, trainer for James White of Kirkham Stud, Camden. James White built the lavish Newmarket Stables at Randwick, and by 1881 Tom Payten was foreman there. In 1881, Tom also married Jean Renwick.
When Michael Fennelly died in 1887, James White appointed Tom as his trainer. The Town and Country Journal described Tom as "most trustworthy and a very capable man with a horse".
In 1877, James White had purchased the brown colt "Chester" who, the following year in 1878, would win the AJC Champagne Stakes, AJC Sires Produce Stakes, VRC Mares Produce Stakes, VRC Derby and the VRC Melbourne Cup. "Chester" would sire many Stakes winners for White, including "Dreadnought" and "Abercorn", for Tom Payten to train.

Abercorn, trained by Tom Payten. (Photo -

In 1890, James White sold most of his racehorses, and Tom Payten formed a syndicate to purchase the Kirkham yearlings. He also purchased the Newmarket stables. Tom would go on to become the first Australian to train winners of 200 feature races. Despite his success the venture folded in about 1896. Tom purchased a property at Canowindra for bloodstock breeding, and would continue to breed and race successfully. He sold Newmarket to William Inglis and Son in 1918, and built new stables in Botany Road, Randwick.
On November 5th 1920, Tom died at his home in Randwick, and his third son Bayly William Renwick Payten inherited the Botany Road stables. Bayly continued in his father's footsteps as a horse trainer, and was leading Sydney trainer for most of the 1940s.

Tom Payten  (Photo - Racing Victoria)
Tom Payten was described as having a neat dark beard, with a tall, slightly stooped figure that hardly changed over the years. He was a devout Catholic and a generous subscriber to church charities. Tom was also "brimful of a dry humour" and a great practical joker. He was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2006.

Written by Claire Lynch

Australian Dictionary of Biography
Australian Stud Book (
Racing Victoria (

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