It wasn’t just good to hear. It had to be heard. It was inspiring. One seldom cheers on an interview on radio. But listening yesterday to Michael Felgate interview jockey Jason Maskiell on RSN about how one of the most promising riding talents in Melbourne- a champion apprentice- has pulled himself out from the abyss of self-destruction spoke volumes.
There was something Dickensian to his story. One kept waiting for a Fagin to appear. Or to be mentioned. Horse racing is littered with Fagins. The invisible ones are the most dangerous. They feed on the weak. And no one is strong all the time. We may think so. But we’re not.
There’s a new book out by Kristen Manning on the jockey known to many in racing as The Gauch. Darren Gauci.
Though occasionally seeing him, especially after the night meetings at Happy Valley when he was riding in Hong Kong, I only got to really meet the gentleman over a coffee when in Melbourne. That was almost two years ago. It was at Mr Hives in the Crown. We talked. We joked. Got to know each other as well as one can in a couple of hours.
While many are second guessing who will be John Size’s Go To jockey next season after Hong Kong having said sayonara to the magic and charisma of Joao Moreira, let’s not forget Tony Cruz and all the strings in his bow.
Perhaps not overlooked so much as sometimes being taken for granted as a champion trainer despite everything he’s achieved with champion horses like Bullish Luck, Egyptian Ra, California Memory and the great Silent Witness while waiting in the wings right now are Time Warp, Exultant and Pakistan Star, here’s someone both respected and feared by jockeys, because he’s been there. He set the bar. He knows the ins and outs of the game. He’s been in it and at it long enough.
Our heads are still spinning over all the reasons being discussed, especially online in Chinese amongst local racing fans, as to why owner Albert Hung moved his horses Rocketeer, Pablosky and Ruthven earlier this week from the stable of John Moore to that of Frankie Lor.
While passionate racing fan Andrew Hawkins, Hong Kong racing’s Jimmy Olsen of Twitter, who lives and breathes horse racing announced this “news” in English on Friday, the Chinese online world was in a tizz with various conspiracy theories the day before. Hong Kong racing fans thrive on conspiracy theories. It keeps that long train of intrigue and innuendo running.