Boy’s win goes down a treat

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

The length of time be­tween drinks made it taste that much sweeter when Toby Autridge and Danny Deegan raised a glass af­ter the first race at Eller­slie on Satur­day.

The cause for celebration was the win by Boy, a horse with a plain name and looks to match.

It wasn’t ex­actly a first for the Autridge-Deegan com­bi­na­tion and didn’t carry the pres­tige of their best re­sult together, but like the glass of Stella Ar­tois in their hands, it still went down well.

Back in De­cem­ber 1998, former Mata­mata cou­ple Danny and Mered­ith Deegan won the Avon­dale Gold Cup with their fine stayer Yes In­deed, who was rid­den by Toby.

In early 1996 Yes In­deed had won the Welling­ton Cup, the same race he had fin­ished sec­ond in two years be­fore­hand, while he had also been good enough for his own­ers to have their own Mel­bourne Cup ex­pe­ri­ence in 1995.

Leg prob­lems had in­ter­rupted var­i­ous stages of Yes In­deed’s ca­reer and when he won the Avon­dale Cup it was to be his last race.

As a pint-sized teenager in the late 1970s, Toby had gone within inches of win­ning the Mel­bourne Cup on Dan­daleith.

His frame quickly out­grew his jockey am­bi­tions, how­ever, forc­ing him to hand his li­cence in and join his fa­ther Bob in a train­ing part­ner­ship in the early 1980s.

Ma­jor wins with Al Dwain and Olga’s Pal were the high­lights of a pro­duc­tive decade. Al Dwain rose through the grades to the point that he was sent to the 1983 Mel­bourne spring car­ni­val, where he won the Bendigo and Sandown Cups. On a re­turn visit the fol­low­ing year he won the Turn­bull Stakes and fin­ished third in the Caulfield Cup.

Olga’s Pal was a star of the 1988-89 three-year-old filly crop, when her wins in­cluded the New Zealand 1000 Guineas and the Desert Gold Stakes.

By the end of that decade Toby had de­cided on a re­turn to race-rid­ing. His weight meant flat op­por­tu­ni­ties would be lim­ited but he quickly made his mark over jumps.

In mid-1989 he joined the leg­ends of jumps rid­ing when he won the Great North­ern Hur­dleS­teeplechase dou­ble on Noble Her­itage and Tumblin’ Down.

Fur­ther suc­cesses came his way but a shoul­der in­jury, al­le­vi­ated by greater con­trol of his weight, re­sulted in a re­turn to flat rid­ing.

Yes In­deed’s Avon­dale Cup win un­der Toby at 54 kilo­grams was one of nu­mer­ous high­lights.

His ca­reer came to a sud­den halt a year later, how­ever, when he suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries in a race fall at Ruakaka.

Toby’s most se­ri­ous in­jury was a frac­ture of his c2 ver­te­brae – known as the hang­man’s break and of­ten fa­tal or at least para­plegic – along with a dou­ble frac­ture in his lower back, rib frac­tures and both lungs col­lapsed.

‘‘It was a grim time but luck­ily af­ter a month on my back in Whangarei Hos­pi­tal I was able to walk out,’’ he re­calls.

‘‘The great­est thing stuck up there dur­ing that time was my mate Kim Burke.

‘‘He drove across ev­ery day from Dar­gav­ille to spend as much time as he could with me. That’s re­ally what got me through.’’ Af­ter a long re­cov­ery, Toby got his life back together, but it would be sev­eral years be­fore he be­came in­volved in rac­ing again.

The pur­chase of a block of land on Pe­ria Rd was the cat­a­lyst, ag­ist­ing and pre­train­ing race­horses to be­gin with and then three years ago de­cid­ing to reap­ply for his trainer’s li­cence.

Race­horse num­bers have never been more than a hand­ful, but the wins are com­ing more reg­u­larly, with Boy’s week­end success the fourth for the sea­son.

Danny and Mered­ith Deegan, dairy farm­ers at Ti­toki in the Whakatane district since leav­ing Mata­mata, have en­joyed their share of wins with Yes In­deed and other lesser per­form­ers, but Satur­day’s was their first at Eller­slie.

‘‘Danny was over the moon, he reck­oned it was bet­ter than the Group Two plac­ing they had with Yes In­deed there,’’ said Toby.

‘‘It was big buzz for me as he and I have been mates for years.

‘‘He’s one of the nicest peo­ple you’d ever want to meet.’’

Boy was rid­den on Satur­day by local ap­pren­tice Sho­hei Shi­ra­hama, who was also on board in the geld­ing’s only pre­vi­ous win when Danny was do­ing the train­ing him­self.

In an ice-cool ride af­ter Boy had ended up well back in the field from the 1200-me­tre start, Sho­hei bided his time be­fore an­gling into the clear and get­ting his mount home with a wet sail for an easy win.

When the new sea­son be­gins on Au­gust 1, there’s likely to be a fresh name in the race­book along­side Toby Autridge’s.

That will be Cyril Good­win, an Ir­ish­man who has played a sig­nif­i­cant role in sta­ble op­er­a­tions for the past year and has earned suf­fi­cient stripes to go into part­ner­ship with Toby.

‘‘Cyril is a big part of what’s hap­pen­ing here th­ese days and I’m look­ing for­ward to he and I go­ing into part­ner­ship together.’’

An­other local train­ing part­ner­ship that has quickly ce­mented it­self is that be­tween Bal­ly­more Sta­bles prin­ci­pal Mike Moroney and newly li­censed Chad Ormsby.

Mike made the de­ci­sion ear­lier this year to re­place An­drew Clarken, his train­ing part­ner of re­cent times, with Chad, who at the time was still a li­censed jockey.

Rather than be­ing any slight on An­drew’s well recog­nised con­tri­bu­tion to Bal­ly­more’s success over the past two sea­sons, the rea­son­ing be­hind the change re­lated to Chad be­ing the part­ner of Mike’s daugh­ter Aliesha, who is also in­volved th­ese days in the fam­ily busi­ness.

For his part, Chad has cer­tainly stamped his pres­ence, with Satur­day’s dou­ble by Gospel (Awa­puni) and Crown Of Thorns (Eller­slie) tak­ing the new part­ner­ship’s tally since the be­gin­ning of last month to seven.

Across the Tas­man, where Mike is as usual en­gaged at this time of year in the Queens­land win­ter car­ni­val, his ‘‘son-in-law’’ regis­tered fur­ther brownie points when Shen­zhou Steeds, a horse pur­chased by Bal­ly­more on Chad’s rec­om­men­da­tion, won the A$200,000 Ip­swich Cup.

Shen­zhou Steeds was well han­dled in his big week­end win by Ed­die Wilkin­son, who has rid­den for the past two decades from a Bris­bane base but be­fore­hand was sta­ble rider for Bal­ly­more Mata­mata.

Team­work: The win­ning Eller­slie com­bi­na­tion of Boy and rider Sho­hei Shi­ra­hama.

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