Glory days may return for jockey
TEN months ago, heavyweight jockey Shane Treweek was pushing bush horses around Northern Rivers racetracks to make a living.
The bulge was winning the battle and the glory days of winning Group races on the likes of Natural Destiny for Gordon Yorke were receding when he piloted Kid Sundae across the line at Coffs Harbour on January 10 in one of his last winning rides here.
But the racing game has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.
Later today in the Flemington mounting yard, Treweek could be the strapper who receives a miniature three-handled loving cup should European invader Illustrious Blue win the 150th Melbourne Cup.
When Shocking won the Cup last year, Treweek watched the race over a few beers at a hotel in Newcastle after finishing his chores as foreman for trainer Darren Smith.
Hunter Valley-based company Australian Bloodstock bought Illustrious Blue after he won the Goodwood Gold Cup in England and then decided on a Melbourne Cup campaign.
Out of the blue, Treweek received a call from a contact asking if he would take over as ‘head lad’ during the stayer’s preparation.
“I didn’t have to be asked twice,” he laughed this week at trackwork.
“It has been a mind-blowing experience so far and incredibly the best is yet to come.”
Word spread like wildfire through the Howard Street racing community once it was revealed one of their fellow battlers had been hit in the rear end by a rainbow.
“Good on him, I hope it goes well for the bloke,” local jockey Wayne Friend remarked while working horses for today’s meeting prepared by Trevor Hardy.
“It’s a big step up for somebody from the bush to get as far as Flemington but I guess we can all dream.”
While Treweek will hand over the racing saddle to three-time winner Glenn Boss it’s only nine years since a Northern Rivers Racing Association jockey actually won the big race.
Ballina jockey Scott Seamer took the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double in 2001 aboard the mighty mare Ethereal.
Since then, Coffs rider Glen Colless finished fifth on Lachlan River in 2005 while Zac Purton made a flying visit from Hong Kong to pilot the unplaced Munsef last year.
When the gates crash back just after 3pm today, many racing fans along the Coffs Coast will be hoping SG Treweek will be waiting at ground level to lead in the winning runner, a few minutes later.