Hyeronimus, the bush's King of the Mountain
RACING: Former Grafton apprentice Adam Hyeronimus has etched his name into racing history, taking out the inaugural $1.3 million The Kosciuszko on Belflyer.
The rich 1200m sprint is aimed at the bush battlers and it could not have told a better tale in its first ever run, with John Shelton's $71 bolter getting home in a boilover.
Hyeronimus, the son of former Sydney jockey Craig Hyeronimus, was a baby-faced 18-year-old when he showed up at Shelton's stables in 2008.
Having got into racing late in his teens, the second-generation jockey (on both sides of the family) had big shoes to fill at the Shelton stables following the departure of fellow Kosciuszko combatant Ben Looker.
But pressure was never a problem Hyeronimus, who would go on to become the leading rider of Sydney's Queen of the Track, Gai Waterhouse.
But he always had that special connection with the mentor that gave him his big break.
"This win, it's so good ... but to ride it for John makes it even better," Hyeronimus said.
"I started my apprenticeship there (with John), and ever since I have left Grafton to this day we speak every day on the phone.
"He has been confident, ever since they announced the race. His plan has been executed perfect. I know a couple of his rides after the Ramornie didn't go to plan.
"He still ran good, and John's just done a perfect job on him. This is a special moment for the two of us."
After jumping clean from a wide barrier 11, Hyeronimus settled off the speed for most of the journey. But as the runners turned for home he produced Belflyer for a run over the top of the field.
The seven-year-old gelding by Bel Espirit cleared the field at the 200m mark before holding on to cross the line half-a-length ahead of Suncraze (Melanie O'Gorman).
Jenny Graham's last minute call-up Awesome Pluck showed his merits to finish a close third behind Suncraze.
"He probably won the jump and I just had to hold on to him," Hyeronimus said. "I thought three wide and with cover was the right spot for him. I just wanted to give him some space coming into the straight and I did.
"The biggest thing was, and John said to me don't go to0 early, but it just so happened we were out there at the furlong and I was bouncing around on his back.
"All I could think was "where is the winning post?""