Train­ers jump into role

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - DEN­NIS RYAN

For a pair of ex-jockey crocks, Toby Autridge and Cyril Good­win have done well in the first month of their new sea­son train­ing part­ner­ship.

Per­haps I’m be­ing un­fair re­fer­ring to the pair of 40-some­thing-year-olds as crocks, but there’s no deny­ing their re­solve in re­cov­er­ing from in­juries that could have ended the ca­reers in rac­ing of some­one less de­ter­mined.

Toby’s dice with in­jury dur­ing his high-pro­file jockey ca­reer was well “chron­i­cled” on this page sev­eral weeks ago.

To re­cap, a dozen years ago he went as close to be­ing paral­ysed as any­one would wish when in­volved in a se­ri­ous race fall.

That spelt an end to a rid­ing ca­reer that had in­cluded a photo-fin­ish sec­ond in the Mel­bourne Cup and a Great North­ern Hur­dle-Steeple­chase dou­ble, but in the past few years he has bounced back to es­tab­lish a suc­cess­ful train­ing and pre-train­ing busi­ness at Pe­ria Heights, the prop­erty he and his part­ner Deb­bie Mont­gomery have de­vel­oped on the western out­skirts of town.

Ir­ish­man Cyril Good­win has been part of that de­vel­op­ment in the past 12 months, es­tab­lish­ing his bona fides to be el­e­vated from fore­man to train­ing part­ner with Toby when the new sea­son be­gan on Au­gust 1.

Cyril, a na­tive of the Emer­ald Isle’s most south­west­ern prov­ince Kerry, rode suc­cess­fully in both his home­land and the United States, and like Toby mixed those ac­tiv­i­ties on the flat and over jumps.

“I was six years in the States, mostly in Ken­tucky and New York, and I rode 30, maybe 40 win­ners,” Cyril re­called.

“The race I re­mem­ber most rid­ing in was the Ar­ling­ton Ci­ta­tion Chal­lenge in Chicago on a horse by the name of Wild Thing. The race was staged spe­cially for the cham­pion Cigar to equal Ci­ta­tion’s record of 16 wins on end and he started as hot favourite.

“Cigar bolted in and as my valet said after­wards, the last time my horse was on level peg­ging with Cigar was when we were lined up in the start­ing gates!” Cyril’s weight when he re­turned to Ire­land re­stricted him to jumps rid­ing, and he added an­other 50-plus win­ners be­fore even­tu­ally hang­ing up his sad­dle to con­cen­trate on his role as fore­man for Michael Hal­ford, who trained on the Cur­ragh in County Kil­dare.

Cyril em­i­grated to New Zealand in 2010, tak­ing work as a track­work rider in Mata­mata, but only months af­ter ar­riv­ing was in dire straits when he suf­fered a cere­bral aneurism that saw him rushed to Waikato Hospi­tal and placed on life sup­port.

Things looked grim to be­gin with, but typ­i­cal of the re­cu­per­a­tive pow­ers of a phys­i­cally fit per­son, he as­tounded the med­i­cal ex­perts by mak­ing a full re­cov­ery. It was still a long road back to full fit­ness, but once he re­ceived a clean bill of health and was ca­pa­ble of work­ing again, Cyril joined the team at Pe­ria Heights and hasn’t looked back.

“I’m as fit as a fid­dle, never felt bet­ter,” said the like­able Ir­ish­man.

“Toby is a great bloke to work with – more like a brother than a boss – and I’m very grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity he’s given me.”

The part­ners’ sea­son has got off to a very sat­is­fy­ing start, with a win and four mi­nor plac­ings from just a hand­ful of starters.

The win­ner was Le Bon Fin, owned by Toby and Deb­bie, who won at Te Teko a fort­night ago, while last sea­son’s sta­ble star Boy has con­tin­ued in good form with a third and a fourth in two starts for the part­ner­ship.

“We’ve got a nice lit­tle team with some young ones com­ing through,” said Toby. “It’s al­ways good to have those two and three-yearolds to work with, but like most small sta­bles the num­bers could al­ways be big­ger.

“Still, that’s the stage we’re at and now it’s up to us to get the points on the board. That’s the best way of build­ing our num­bers.

“I see it as a bonus hav­ing Cyril on board. Our backgrounds are sim­i­lar but he’s ex­pe­ri­enced a lot more of the world than I have and he’s able to bring some dif­fer­ent ideas to how we do things.”

Great North­ern day at Eller­slie on the week­end didn’t quite pro­duce an his­toric re­sult for the Peter Bros­nan-trained South­ern Count­ess as she at­tempted to be­come the first mare to win con­sec­u­tive Great North­ern Hur­dle.

With an ex­tremely brave ef­fort she went down by just a neck to up-and-com­ing Te Aroha jumper Waitoki Ahi, to whom she con­ceded four kilo­grams, a telling dif­fer­ence at the end of the 4190-me­tre slog.

Mata­mata-trained run­ners were thin on the ground at Eller­slie but one of their num­ber, the Richard Coxon-trained and part-owned Gu­rus Spirit, once again showed her lik­ing for the track with a smart win­ning per­for­mance.

She also scored there back in June, added an­other at Tau­ranga in July, and now as a fully ma­tured six-year-old is shap­ing as if the rise in class to open grade won’t un­duly chal­lenge her.

Ca­reer change: Mata­mata’s new­est li­censed trainer, Ir­ish­man Cyril Good­win.

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