Len “Mick” Dittman
|Region:||South East Queensland|
Mick Dittman was born and raised in central Queensland but was apprenticed to Bill Kraft on the Gold Coast in the mid-1960s. An outstanding apprentice he rode his first feature winner on Red Shah in the 1968 Gold Coast Newmarket (now the Goldmarket).
His first Group win came the next year in the Ipswich Cup aboard Makata. Dittman finished his apprenticeship with Pat Duff in Brisbane and rode the first of his 88 Group 1 winners in the 1972 Doomben Cup on Knee High. He dominated Brisbane racing in the 1970s winning five premierships and setting a record for most wins in a season at 97 and a half.
Mick also rode a record six winners and one second on a seven event program at Eagle Farm on Melbourne Cup day, November 1 1977. He would have taken out the entire card if not for apprentice Dan McLeod winning that seventh race by a head on No Hassle at 11-2 over Dittman on Strong James at 1-3.
A regular at the big southern carnivals in the 1970s and early 1980s, Dittman moved to Sydney in the mid-1980s where he became number one rider for the Tommy Smith stable. He won the Sydney premiership three times. Dittman was renowned for his powerful style and was nicknamed "The Enforcer". Many a win in a race was credited to Mick's never say die attitude and his power in the saddle – he could physically lift them over the line.
There is no doubt had Mick been as adventurous as some of his predecessors and travelled overseas he would have an even more impressive record. He loved his native Queensland and would only entertain mounts interstate during the big carnivals. One essay south early in his career was to link as an apprentice to Sydney trainer Bede Horan. He didn't like the lifestyle and soon returned to his beloved Queensland. One can only imagine what his record would have been had he linked with T.J. Smith earlier in his career. Dittman rode with success through the 1990s before retiring to become a bloodstock agent in Singapore. He later returned to live on the Gold Coast. He best wins included:
MELBOURNE CUP: Gurner's Lane
CAULFIELD CUP: Sydeston
COX PLATE: Red Anchor, Strawberry Road
GOLDEN SLIPPER: Full on Aces, Bounding Away, Bint Marscay
VRC DERBY: Grosvenor, Red Anchor
CHAMPAGNE STAKES: Bounding Away, Triscay
AJC DERBY: Strawberry Road, Research
AJC OAKS: Bounding Away, Research, Mahaya
AJC SIRES': Comely Girl, Full on Aces
ROSEHILL GUINEAS: Deck The Halls, Strawberry Road, Alibhai
BMW STAKES: Kaaptive Edition, Sydeston, Alibhai, Our Cavalier
DOOMBEN CUP: Knee High, Cheyne Walk
DOOMBEN 10,000: Craigola, Sovereign Red, Lord Ballina, Chief de Beers
BRISBANE CUP: Igloo
MARLBORO CLASSIC (T.J. SMITH): Scomeld, Just A Printer, Mossman
VRC OAKS: Scomeld, Research
BLUE DIAMOND STAKES: Aare, Bounding Away
VRC SIRES: Full on Aces
VRC NEWMARKET: Eulonda Bay, Primacy
QTC DERBY: Cheyne Walk, Strawberry Road, Turridu
QTC OAKS: A Little Kiss
QTC SIRES': Definate
WATC AUSTRALIAN DERBY: All Ashore, Key Dancer, Wonder Dancer
AJC METROPOLITAN: Natski, Te Akau Nick
VRC LIGHTNING: Mahogany
AUSTRALIAN CUP: Veandercross
SYDNEY CUP: Azzam
BTC CUP: Chief de Beers
COOLMORE CLASSIC: Skating
ORR STAKES: Primacy
FUTURITY STAKES: Primacy
Mick Dittman's non-Group 1 feature wins in Queensland include: Healy Stakes (Amberdue), O'Shea Stakes (Prince Majestic), QTC St Leger (Platonic), QTC Lightning (Amberdue), Barnes Plate (Amby's Love, Analie), Exhibition Handicap (Amby's Love, Vale Boy, Eshowee, Dashalong), Bernborough Stakes (Chief de Beers), Defence Force Cup (Desert Chill), Ahern Stakes (Definate, Maryvale Boy), Albion Park Cup (Bois Boulang), Doomben Newmarket (Chateauroux, Bengalla Lad), Eye Liner Stakes (Havaspot, Don't Rush), Goldmarket (Red Shah, Justincase, All Ashore, Christole, Roulette), Ipswich Cup (Makata, Skyperion, He'll Do), Meynink Stakes (Noted Prince, True to Label, Vains Best), McDougall Stakes (Smokey's Style, Scotian Belle), Ascot Handicap (Vif, Paravane), QTC Cup (Winters Dance), City Handicap (Ascot Bridge, Just James), Frazer Handicap (Setaria), QTC Toorak (Court Rush), Hart Stakes (Groucho), Eagle Farm Stakes (Ricochet Rosie), Queensland Cup (Insecure), Grand Prix (Conair, Stargazer), Courier Mail Classic (Mr Innocent), Lord Mayors' Cup (Comrade), Sandgate Handicap (Dashalong).