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Paleface Adios

File:Paleface adios memorial temora05.jpg
Paleface Adios Memorial in Temora, NSW
File:Paleface adios memorial temora04.jpg
Front of the Memorial Statue

Paleface Adios (1969 - 1989) was an Australian harness racing horse which competed as a pacer throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. He raced from 1972 to 1981, (from a 2YO until he was retired as an 11YO) at a time when there was top competition from the likes of the "Bathurst Bulldog" (Hondo Grattan, "Robbers" (Robalan) and "Steelo" (Pure Steel).

Paleface Adios was foaled on 1 November 1969, at Temora, NSW and was by Deep Adios out of Rayjen. He was trained and driven throughout his career by Colin Pike, and was owned by Colin's wife, Shirley Pike.

He was a Standardbred racehorse of a chestnut colour with a white blaze and feet, and a golden mane. He was nicknamed The Temora Tornado, in honour of the town where he was bred and trained. He raced with a 'daisy cutting' action which gave the impression that his feet were not touching the ground with each stride that he took. Paleface had brilliant early speed and when drawn from the front row of the mobile or in a standing start was rarely headed at the start of his races. He did however win many races coming from back in the field with a paralysing sprint in the last lap.

Paleface Adios had 240 starts, for 108 wins, 43 seconds and 25 thirds over his career[1] for more than $500,000 in prizemoney. He however made an inauspicious debut at Sydney's Harold Park as a 2 year old when he fell, as a short priced favourite. He started in an incredible seven consecutive Miracle Mile's at Harold Park (one of Australia's Grand Circuit races which is invitation only) winning once in 1976 in a time of 1.58.4. The 1974 Miracle Mile will live in the memories of those that saw it as Paleface Adios and Hondo Grattan fought out a soul-stirring battle over the last lap with victory going to Hondo over his arch-rival to the screams of the huge crowd. He never won Australasia's biggest race, the Inter-Dominion but did win eight heats of the event including 2 heats in 1980 at Harold Park at the ripe old age of 10! He had the distinction of competing in the Sydney series with his full brother Jacraig Adios, a rare feat.

At one time he held the world record for 1000m following a time trial at Hawkesbury, New South Wales. He became known as the 'Nellie Melba' of trotting as he was retired to stud on several occasions only to be brought back to racing agaim successfully at the top level. He raced throughout Australia - from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane and across to Adelaide and Perth! He won many feature races other than the Mircale Mile such as the Sir Clive Uhr Championship at Albion Park in Brisbane and a host of Cup races at Harold Park. He was voted Harness Horse of the Year.

During the 1970s, Paleface Adios became a household name in Australia, especially in Melbourne. Harness racing was featured weekly on Saturday night TV as part of the popular live variety show The Penthouse Club. His clashes with Hondo Grattan (the Bathurst Bulldog) were legendary. In early 1990s Paleface Adios was included in a satirical song honouring Australian sporting legends presented by Graham and The Colonel on ABC TV's The Late Show.

Paleface Adios died at Temora, NSW, on 11 December 1989. It is believed that this was a result of a snake bite but this was never confirmed. He is commemorated by a life-sized monument in Hoskins Street, the main street of Temora.

See also


  1. Agnew, Max, "Silks & Sulkies – The Complete Book of Australian and New Zealand Harness Racing", Doubleday, Sydney, 1986, ISBN: 0 86824 245 4

Further reading

  • Graham Goffin (1982). Paleface Adios, the living legend. ISBN 0959347704. 


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