Mention Dufosee and it is one of those revered family names that evokes a sense of fondness mixed with feelings of nostalgia for an era long gone when horses were a focal part of the community.
Harry Dufosee was a horseman who intuitively understood the horses under his care. Held in the fondest regard by all who knew him he commanded the greatest respect from all fortunate enough to know him.
His ensuing success with horses was in no small part due to Lord Stalbridge. The pair met during the Great War. Lord Stalbridge was on patrol in France and had met a sergeant in the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry named Harry Dufosee. Their resulting friendship enabled Harry to train and buy some of Lord Stalbridge’s racehorses.
From the legendary Stalbridge Stud he bred many notable horses amongst them Stalbridge Colonist in 1959, successful over hurdles and fences, culminating in victory in the 1966 Hennessy Gold Cup, beating Arkle. Between 1947 and 1970 eighteen horses bred by Harry won 117 races between them, 38 of which were at Wincanton. Another horse of note was the mare Spring Corn who he bred, owned and trained to 18 victories, 25 place finishes in just 75 outings over hurdles.
Harry’s love of racing went far beyond his rapport with horses and after the Second World War he helped rescue Wincanton Racecourse. It was in a sorry state, and failed to meet its reserve when put up for sale.
Harry pulled together a syndicate of local sporting friends and within 48 hours was able to save the course. It took hard toil to get it back into serviceable order, but they worked unerringly and in October 1945, under the Chairmanship of Lord Stalbridge, they were successful in holding the first-post war race meeting. Within a year Wincanton had entered a new period of prosperity and has never looked back with Harry acting as racecourse chairman from 1949 until 1966.
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