Shepparton News



- By Gus Underwood

When Shepparton’s Eddie Asim died last year his funeral was a little different to most farewells.

In the middle of the COVID-19 restricted funeral service held at the home of his daughter Siv Onley there was a pause while a TV set next to his coffin was switched on to catch a trots race from Wagga Wagga.

In this particular race the horse Asim had an ownership interest in and would bleed for — Western Sonador — was running in a heat of the lucrative Riverina Championsh­ip.

There was wild cheering in the back yard of Siv and her husband Tony Onley where the COVID-19 limited mourners who knew just how much Asim loved Western Sonador when the then fouryear-old won to first signal he was well above the average pacer.

Co-trainer of Western Sonador, Steve O’Donoghue takes up the story.

‘‘Even the priest conducting the service that day said he had never done anything like that before, but thought it was great,’’ O’Donoghue said.

‘‘Eddie just loved this horse. He would come out (to O’Donoghue’s Kialla stables) nearly every day in his little red car just to pat him. He was so rapt in him.’’

O’Donoghue also recalled he actually took Western Sonador along to the wake held later to honour Asim which more mourners could attend.

‘‘That was also very special and emotional. Everyone was crying and I even shed a few tears,’’ O’Donoghue said.

Asim would be an even prouder man today of Western Sonador’s rise through the pacing ranks to be one of the country’s best pacers.

He was just beginning to raise eyebrows and turn heads with some impressive wins when Asim died and since then has gone from strength to strength.

In his first biggest test he ran second to The Black Prince in the $100,000 timehonour­ed Newcastle Mile in February this year.

He then finished sixth, beaten 9m in the $100,000 Schweppes Sprint at Menangle won by the champion King Of Swing and two weeks later ran fourth to Mach Shard again at Menangle on March 6 in another $100,00 feature, the Ainsworth Free-For-All.

Western Sonador returned from a five-month spell on July 3 when he won at Bendigo before an unlucky fourth at his next outing at Melton.

But it was his third run back in from his spell that confirmed the pacer was back as good as ever when he led and beat a more than handy field at Geelong on September 4.

That set him up for tomorrow’s showdown in the Group One $100,000 Caduceus Classic at Bendigo where he starts from barrier one.

While Asim is sadly no longer around to watch Western Sonador’s progressio­n a good mate and family are much involved with their pacer.

Another stalwart of the Shepparton Swans Football Club and a close mate of Asim’s, John Baldi, is par, while Siv and Tony Onley and their families have become trots fans and love following the fortunes of Wester Sonador.

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