Robert “Bobby” Hall and his wife Ann have created a legacy in Aldergrove that has been recognized with their induction to the B.C. Thoroughbred Hall of Fame.
Bobby officially retired this year at the age of 81, but he and Ann are proudly watching as their children and grandchildren carry on the family tradition of horse breeding and training.
Bobby first came to B.C. from Sligo, Ireland in 1954, looking for work, using his knowledge of horses.
“We always had horses on our farm back home,” he recently told Randy Goulding of Horse Racing BC. “Mostly hunters. My dad didn;t like racing but at the end of the hunting season I usually rode in a point-to-point race, which was about three and a half miles.”
Bobby worked in stables and became the trainer for his future mother-in-law, Elizabeth Gormley. Her daughter Ann fell in love with Bobby and the couple were wed in 1959.
Bobby was making a name for himself with race horses and a horse called George Royal caught his attention. Together with Ernie Hammond, Bobby bought George Royal and the three-year-old won nine consecutive stake races at Exhibition Park in 1964. George Royal became internationally famous in 1965 with a win at the San Juan Capistrano, followed by another win there that made history.
George Royal also won the Canadian INternational Championship twice and at the time of his retirement he was the second leading Canadian-bred money-maker behind Northern Dancer. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1976.
This success was followed by Timber Music, the 1971 Horse of the Year in B.C., and Screaming Sue and Big Brac.
After the success of George Royal Bobby shifted to training the horses that he and Ann bred at Emerald Acres, their farm in south Aldergrove. They had bought the property in 1960 and according to Ann, “George built the house.”
Bobby and Ann raised six children at Emerald Acres and three of them continue to be key persons in B.C. horse racing. Their daughter, Sandra Loseth is a trainer, breeder and owner, and daughter Jennifer Johnson and Phil Hall are trainers and owners. Also grandchildren Christine Loseth is a trainer at Hastings Park and Justin Jensen is a jockey at Mountaineer.