Bush fairytale for Grafton Cup winner Rednav
IN A fairytale for country racing, 23-year-old Coffs Harbour trainer Sally Taylor and jockey Peter Graham guided Rednav to win the $160,000 McKimms Real Estate Grafton Cup.
The five-year-old gelding held off Noel Doyle trained All Clear in a tussle to the line with Michael Nolan's Jumbo Prince third.
Taylor has only held her trainer's license since February and the win was just her sixth from 28 career starts.
"It's absolutely amazing. The best feeling I've ever experienced," Taylor said.
"I can't believe I'm standing here right now."
After a disastrous run at Coffs Harbour on June 29, Rednav won the Grafton Cup Prelude as a $21 outsider on Westlawn Day (July 7). Today Peter Graham produced the perfect ride to hold off all the big guns at $38.80 odds.
"That was a very off character run, but he is the type of horse that has a few of those in his prep," Taylor said.
"I thought he'd improve but I never expected this.
"Peter's perfect for him. He needs a jockey that will actually ride him and wake him up.
"He comes from behind or just off them. We didn't give Peter any instructions, just to do what he wants to do, and he did it perfect."
The win was also the biggest of 48-year-old Graham's career, which in contrast to Taylor's has spanned 15,366 races.
"Us country battlers, we deserve it," the Port Macquarie jockey said.
"It's terrific. It's a buzz. I've got to pinch myself.
"I rode winners everywhere, but not at this level. To do that is a real buzz.
"I gave myself a rough hope, but realistically thought he was just another bush horse up against these good horses from the city.
"I couldn't have rode him better. By the time I got to the corner he wasn't that far off them."
Taylor found herself managing her own stable courtesy of Coffs Harbour businessman and racehorse owner Peter Wood, who was her boss in her previous job at Leading Edge Telecoms.
Taylor was already riding trackwork for Wood and when he closed one of his stores he set her up with a stable and several of his own horses, including Rednav.
"I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for Peter," Taylor said.
"He kickstarted me with some horses including Rednav."
Wood is one of eight part-owners, who were understandably very excited post-race and proudly wearing embroidered caps specially made this morning.
"Sally is my personal trainer," Wood said.
"Everybody else, sorry, we can't fit any more horses in the stable."
Taylor's father Brian Taylor, a highly experienced horseman in his own right, was very proud of his daughter.
"It's pretty emotional," Mr Taylor said.
"This little girl started riding when she was two years old and she's never been frightened of a horse.
"This is a fairytale story."