Racing identity Tom “Spider” Barker dies

Tom Barker, the long-time foreman for the late TJ Smith, Tom Barker has died aged 82.

Known to most as “Spider”, Barker worked for Smith for more than 40 years and cared for the great Kingston Town during his time at Travel Boy Lodge in Kensington.

Barker was the father of the late jockey Noel Barker, the champion rider in Hong Kong in 1991.

Noel Barker died in a barrier trial accident at Randwick in 1992 believed to be caused when a seagull flew into his horse.

Crownbet

In an interview with Fairfax Media last year, Tom Barker reminisced about his time with Kingston Town, one of the first horses inducted to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

“As an early four-year-old Kingston Town developed problems with the suspensory ligaments in his forelegs,” he said.

“My job each day was to fill two 25-litre buckets with iced water and make Kingston Town stand in them for 45 minutes.

“You could do anything with him. When we walked past the big Catholic Church on Kensington Road every morning on the way to the track, and then when we walked him in the afternoon, he always stopped and looked at the church. Never missed.”