Ring-in racehorse Fine Cotton dies aged 31

February 21, 2009

The horse at the centre of one of Australia's biggest racing scandals has died at the age of 31 in Queensland.

Bold Personality, an open-class performer, was made up to look like Fine Cotton, a novice, and duly won a race in Brisbane in 1984. Substituting the horses was no easy task, considering the horses were different colours. Fine Cotton was at the time aged eight, and was brown with white markings on his hind legs. Bold Personality was aged seven and was bay with no white markings. Reportedly Clairol hair colouring was applied to Bold Personality. But on race day, someone forgot to bleach his legs to match Fine Cotton, so white paint was applied.

The scandal rocked the racing scene in the mid 1980s, leading to charges for trainer Hayden Haitana and a 14-year ban for bookmakers Bill and Robbie Waterhouse.

A year after the scandal Fine Cotton was sold to movie producer John Stainton, who also bought the rights to the story. But for legal reasons the film was never made.

Fine Cotton was used as a riding horse but was retired 12 years ago. He died on Friday morning at Stainton's property in Brookfield, west of Brisbane.


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