A GOLDEN RESULT
By TONY WHITE
ON January 13 rookie trainer Joe Golden's daughter Belinda was airlifted to a Gold Coast hospital with severe injuries following a nasty trackwork fall at his 110-acre property north of Junction Hill.
The 19-year-old, 60kg lass, riding one of Golden's broodmares with a hard mouth, fell and suffered a concussion, a broken wrist, fractured shoulder blade, crushed bone in her spine and severe bruising to the lungs.
"Her helmet was split in two," Golden said.
"Thanks be to God she was spared and is still with us.
"Belinda is a very proficient rider but the mare has a hard mouth and she just couldn't pull her up."
Last Saturday at the Grafton race meeting, with Belinda lying in hospital recovering from her injuries, Golden saddled up two horses in the David Nelmes & Associates Maiden Plate (1200m) ? Golden Belinda (Marlin Dolendo), named after Golden's daughter, and Thanks Be To God (Patrick Murphy).
The two horses have shared a paddock since birth.
In what turned out to be a memorable and emotional occasion, Golden Belinda scooted home to beat her stablemate and provide Golden with not only his first winner as a trainer but a quinella to boot.
Golden, an accountant by trade and self-confessed 'jack of many trades but master of few', only took out a training licence in early January.
"I'm a seasonal worker and had been out of work for three to four months. Technically speaking, I shouldn't be doing anything (training) so silly but I couldn't afford to keep paying the bills and feed all the mouths around (his 14 horses)," Golden said.
Saturday was only the second occasion Golden had saddled up runners after the aforementioned pair finished unplaced at the same track nine days earlier.
"My son Patrick sent an SMS to Belinda straight after the race. She was rapt," Golden said.
"I've only just started, I got my licence this month, and my first winner has landed in my lap.
"I'm still in a state of shock.
"To own, breed and train a winner is dreamtime stuff, especially in the circumstances with Belinda. It's a great thrill, really great.
"And I love mixing it with the big wallets, the types that think they know everything."
There was, however, an ironic twist to the heart warming story.
"I backed Thanks Be To God. I thought he was the one," Golden admitted.
"You wouldn't believe it, Golden Belinda cost me plenty of money at her previous start. I didn't have a zac on her this time.
"And the same thing happened with her dam (Luskin's Gold). I didn't have a cracker on her when she won her only race at Lismore.
"Like mother, like daughter."
On the good news front Belinda was released from hospital on Tuesday.
Golden, who has also travelled the world a couple of times on a motor bike, moved to Grafton from Waverton, Sydney, and Lightning Ridge in 1981.
He said his success wouldn't have been possible without the assistance from the likes of trainers John Shelton, who used to train for him, David Kelly, Steve Fitzsimmons and his good mate, Huey Power.
"Huey, my stud master and great helper is in hospital after two strokes. It's been a real thrill for me to work with him and I just hope he pulls through," Golden said.
One of the major reasons Golden moved to Grafton was to chase his dream of winning the Grafton Cup.
"That's the dream and hopefully to have fun along the way, but it's one step at a time. You've got to learn to crawl before you can walk," Golden said.