Everson's Odyssey through Chip In Cup
RACING: As a wall of horses turned for home in the Commerical Hotel Ulmarra 'Chip In' Cup, Grafton trainer Shane Everson had his eye on only one.
The purple and green colours on Coffs Harbour jockey Raymond Spokes streaked through the middle of the field as lightly-raced gelding Moringa's Odyssey streaked to the front of the field.
But even ahead by half a length with 200 metres to go, Everson still wasn't ready to count his chickens.
"I was definitely calling him home from the grandstand, but I wasn't getting too over the top,” he said. "He ran a nice race, it didn't surprise me that he won but I sure wasn't expecting it.”
Spokes managed to keep the gelding on the charge as it held off a late challenge from Megashot (Brooke Ainsworth) with $61 outside Splash Of Lime (Robert Agnew) a length back in third place.
The gelding son by Saint Thomas won his first career start as a five-year-old last September, but since then it has been a struggle for his Grafton owner/trainer.
Stepping out straight into Class 1 company, he struggled to keep up with the horses around him as he was only beginning to learn the basics.
"It doesn't help that he is not a very smart horse either,” Everson said. "He has come back from a bit of a tendon injury, but you can tell he has been a run behind where he needs to be each start.
"He has also been drawing bad alleys, and has been up against it, but he has struggled when it comes to racing.
"Before he was getting too far back in the field or just missing the kick altogether, but this time it was different. Spokesy gave him a real nudge from the barriers, got him up on the pace, and he kicked home nicely.”
It was a first 'Chip In' Cup for the Everson trophy cabinet, and the trainer said he was proud to have his name etched alongside a long-standing bush tradition.
"Any race is good to win, but this one means just that little bit more,” he said. "It might not be the Grafton Cup, but for the people of Ulmarra, I reckon it might be just as special.”
The gelding's win was the second of a winning double for Everson after "frustrating” seven-year-old Mystic Skies broke through for his long-awaited maiden win on his 44th career start.
It was a bittersweet moment for Everson's apprentice jockey Olivia Pickering, who has plans to take the racehorse to the show horse arena when his career on track is finished.
"He was very close to going to the arena with Olivia, it was a case of he was on his last shoes and these ones were not getting replaced,” Everson said.
"But I guess this win might have just bought him another set. It is good for Olivia as well, he is one of her favourites, so I am glad he won for her.”
Everson was not the only local horse trainer to taste victory during the half tab meeting at the CRJC, with John Shelton (Bettigood), Jason Reilly (Chantilly Chateau) and Greg Howells (Text Me) all winning.