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Bishop Len Boyle, long time friend of the Anderton family

(Bishop Len Boyle (third from left) with Tony Dennis, George Cleland, Brian Anderton and Ray Dennis at Brian’s induction to the Racing Hall of Fame in 2012 (photo: courtesy Trish Dunell))

Len Boyle, the Emeritus Bishop of Dunedin, who died on 1/6/2016 at the age of 85 was a long time friend of the Anderton family and a keen follower of the fortunes of White Robe Lodge. Bishop Boyle served as Bishop of Dunedin for the Catholic community from 1985 until his retirement in 2004.

"I got to know Len when he went through the seminary (Holy Cross at Mosgiel). He was a great fellow,'' said Brian. Bishop Len entered the seminary in 1954, aged 23, when Brian was 17 and a jockey working for his trainer father, Hector. The seminarians were made welcome by Hector and Alice and family at their nearby home in Wingatui Rd. The visits (not approved by the seminary authorities) were appreciated during the seven years of study before Len was ordained a priest in 1961.

"He was a prayerful, humble man who served his people,'' said Colin Campbell, the Bishop of Dunedin in his address at the Requiem Mass for Bishop Len.

Bishop Len enjoyed attending thoroughbred race meetings in New Zealand and Australia. He had a part to play in owner Brian Avery securing the 1989 Melbourne Cup winner Tawrrific.  Bishop Boyle was attending the National yearling sale at Trentham in 1986 with Brian Anderton when Tawrrific (by Tawfiq from the fine race mare Joyarty) was among the WRL draft.

"Tawrrific was passed in and Brian Avery was there looking for a good staying horse. Bishop Boyle told him I had one I thought could be a Cups horse and Brian bought him for $50,000,'' recalled Brian. Tawrrific won a highweight at Te Awamutu as a 3yr-old when trained by Chris Wood at Cambridge. Tawrrfic was then transferred to Lee Freedman in Australia and won the St Leger at Morphettville later that season and the Melbourne Cup as a 5yr-old when ridden by Shane Dye. Bishop Boyle at one time celebrated the Mass which was a tradition on the Sunday before the Melbourne Cup. Bishop Boyle was among those on hand to support Brian when he was inducted to the Hall Of Fame of Racing in 2012 in Auckland. His namesake, The Bishop, owned, trained and bred by the Dennis brother of Woodlands (Southland) and by WRL sire, Yamanin Vital, has won 10 races including the 2015 Spring Classic at Riccarton and Invercargill Cup. Winboy was also named after Bishop Boyle, a combination of his name and Father Bryan Winders. Winboy (Personal Escort - All Style) won a race at Wyndham in 2003. Bishop Boyle was born at Nightcaps and worked as a shearer, farm labourer, in a freezing works and helped his parents, Frank and Catherine in hotels at Nightcaps and Winton before he entered the seminary. His family was steeped in racing with his brother, Jack, Racing Editor of The Press (Christchurch) and uncle, Pat a successful Southland trainer. Tony, Pat (Ripper) and Tom, sons of Pat, were jockeys. Tony won the 1947 New Zealand Grand National Hurdles on Boolamskee and the Great Western Steeplechase at Riverton five years in a row from 1939.