Morrie Molloy and Nina Hope after an Addington victory by Monbet. Photo: Race Images.
Harness racing is mourning the loss of one of its colourful characters this week with the passing of owner Morrie Molloy.
Molloy, best known as the part-owner of champion trotter Monbet, had been battling serious health issues for a number of weeks and passed away in hospital on Monday morning.
Molloy’s impact on the industry as an owner stretches back a lot further than the superstar trotter and he’s been a part of the lives of trainers Greg and Nina Hope for decades.
“Morrie was with us pretty much from the beginning,” Greg Hope said.
“It started with a horse called Cranford, who was trained by Merv Walker on the beach and I drove him – he won about five I think.”
Following that, came the two handy pacers That’s That and That’s True, which Molloy owned, and since then he’s been a steady part of the furniture at the Hope barn.
“He was a great owner; very loyal and never questioned anything – he just loved having horses at the races.
“We decided to give him a share in Monbet to say thanks for being so loyal to us and it turned out to be a great decision because he had such a wonderful ride.”
Monbet took Molloy on an incredible journey and there weren’t many occasions, if any, when the square-gaiter lined up that Molloy wasn’t in attendance and his confidence in the horse was unwavering.
“I think he’s the only owner I know who would order the video and the photo before the race and have the speech written in his back pocket too.”
Molloy will be fondly remembered for his outstanding speeches after a victory or at awards ceremonies where he held back no punches in stating his thoughts and declaring his admiration for his horse, the Hopes and driver Ricky May.
“There was always a smile, especially with Monbet – he loved that ride.”
Molloy ended up as the winner of more than 100 races as an owner in his career – a remarkable feat considering there were never big numbers, but always one or two running around.
Details for the funeral to celebrate Morrie’s life are yet to be released.