Bo Mearns on her horse jumping on the course

Bo Mearns on her horse jumping on the course

Bo Mearns was the greatest equestrian rider ever to come out of Greater Victoria and was the Canadian equestrian queen of the 1970s. In her time, she was one of Canada s top-three equestrian riders and was a member of the Canadian national equestrian team a number of times. Through her top seasons, between 1973 and 1980, she set a seven-foot-two-inch Canadian jumping record and scored sixteen major event wins across Canada. The only disappointment during that decade of success was a near miss in making the Canadian team for the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics. The Oak Bay High graduate rebounded to make the national team in 1977 for its tour of Europe and was on six International Nations Cup Teams. Most of Bo s success came atop Flying Nun, an unlikely future championship horse she bought at the racetrack for a mere $400 in 1968. By the time of its death in 1981, Flying Nun had amassed career winnings of $110,000. Flying Nun, the horse Bo bought on an impulse, was one of the best show-jumping horses of its time and catapulted Mearns to international stardom in equestrian sport.

George Harknett Jr. on the right

The Harknett family is legendary in Victoria thoroughbred horse racing with their history going back to the Colwood track in 1928. By 1936 George Harknett Sr. bought his first racehorse, Rex Regent and he had his first winners in 1940 with Naperton at the Lansdowne track in Richmond and at the Willows track in Oak Bay. The Harknett name and later its associated Colwood Stable and Georgewin Farms colours, have been listed with at least 300 winners at tracks up and down the West Coast of Canada and the United States. George Harknett Jr. began in the business by walking his dad's racers at the Willows. Like father like son, George Jr. naturally followed in George Sr.'s boot prints. The original Harknett thoroughbred farm was located just across the highway from the old Colwood track and later moved to the Georgewin Farm at Elk Lake. Out of their stables came such great winners as Jenny Lass, Markendale, Chicks List, Colwood Girl, Prince Alfred, Princess Pam, Ana-Cha-Tay, Amazing Message and Harlion. George Jr. took over the business in the 1960's and continued the tradition of producing many fine champions. His all-time favourites were Devonshire Cream, the 1964 Sandown Derby winner, and Bold Avon, another stakes winner and voted the top two-year-old B.C. bred filly of 1986. In 1975, George Jr. was a leading figure in establishing the Capital City Turf Club that kept horse racing alive at Sandown for several years.

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Victoria enjoys a stellar sports history and we celebrate the many athletes, teams and builders who have contributed to that history.  Our displays are seen at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (1925 Blanshard St.)  through Gate Three.


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