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Cover The Draw

by Daisy Pricilla (2019-02-04)

Born in Adelaide in 1943, John Letts got an early start to his Cover The Draw Review racing career at age 13 exercising horses on the track and on the beach before school for trainer Jack Canavan. At age 14 he indentured to Canavan and rode his first winner at age 15. His first feature win came in 1961 - aboard Mikadis - in the Goodwood Handicap. He produced results sufficient to win the Adelaide Apprentice's Premiership in 1962. He continued to rack up victories all throughout the 60s, becoming a highly proficient and successful senior jockey on his home state tracks, including perhaps his most significant win up till then in the 1968 Adelaide Cup, where he steered Rain Lover to victory. That year also produced a second Goodwood Handicap, this time partnered with Tango Miss. His relative anonymity among interstate racing circles came to an end shortly thereafter. 1972 marked the year of Letts's first Melbourne Cup win. Riding George Hanlon trained Piping Lane, he bested R.B. Marsh steered Mystique as well as the formidable combination of Professor Higgins and Gunsynd. Quite impressive given the level of competition and the fact that it was Letts first ride at Flemington.