Small ‘odd man out’ at Gladstone races
MULTIPLE Group 1 winning jockey Cyril Small will be the “odd man out” so to speak when he rides at the Gladstone Turf Club races at Ferguson Park on Saturday.
In fact, Small, 61, a household name in Australian racing in the late eighties and early nineties will be the only male jockey riding before a capped crowd of 1200 racegoers.
In racing folklore, Cyril Small’s name is instantly recognisable and linked with the bold front running champion galloper Vo Rogue.
The pair combined for 22 wins among them being no fewer than six Group 1 successes.
Vo Rogue, an Australian Hall Of Fame thoroughbred recipient, was almost unbeatable in Melbourne with the combination taking out two Australian Cups at Flemington in 1989 and 1990.
Small, originally from Casino, NSW, commenced riding as a very young teenager apprentice jockey on the Northern Rivers circuit.
He later moved to Brisbane from where he became very successful and these days the Tallebudgera Valley-based jockey mainly rides on the SEQ Saturday country circuit.
His passion for racing, horses and jockeying has never waned and he has in the past made public his desire to ride for 50 years.
This is certainly within Cyril’s scope and is an achievement that Queensland’s oldest jockey Mt Isa based Keith Ballard, 66, has fulfilled.
Cyril will have the male jockey’s room to himself on Saturday as the “girls” Sonja Wiseman, Shannyn Stephan, Trinity Bannon, Rebecca Wilson and Natalea Summers will be chirping away in their own inner sanctum.
An acute jockey shortage is unfortunate for the Gladstone Turf Club meaning there will be enforced scratchings from each race because of the problem.
Some jockeys who would have normally been available to ride at Ferguson Park are fulfilling engagements at the coinciding feature race days at Gympie and Townsville.
Small’s engagements are Liberty’s Gift, Majiang, Super Leon, Portsea and Reliable Lass.
A constructive argument can be made for all his rides having strong winning chances with the Gladstone Turf Club appreciative of Cyril’s effort in coming to ride at the meeting.
Rockhampton jockey Sonja Wiseman who vacates that city next month to move to Adelaide has a strong book of rides which should commence on a winning note per medium of Exocet Rocket in the opening race at 1.12pm.
A competitive ring of bookmakers will be operating on the locals as well as the metropolitan meetings including that of the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.
The GTC is delighted to be welcoming back racegoers to Ferguson Park for the second time since Covid 19 protocols have been eased.
The club will celebrate Melbourne Cup Day on Tuesday, November 3, with its next meeting at Ferguson Park with online tickets and bookings essential.