Ipswich Cup win a special moment for Bundamba boy
WHEN Luke Tarrant was a kid at Bundamba State School, he couldn't have dreamed that one day he'd star at the racetrack next door.
On Saturday, Tarrant rode English-bred Sydney gelding Danchai to victory in the $175,000 Channel Seven Ipswich Cup (2150m).
He won the $2 million Magic Millions Classic on the Gold Coast in January among other big wins but said the Ipswich Cup was special to him.
"It's got a lot of sentimental value because I grew up here,'' Tarrant said, having a smoke outside the jockeys' room after the last race.
"I lived here for the majority of my life with my mother.
"It's also a big race to win. I was born in New South Wales and we ended up here when I was about six. I actually went to school at Bundamba right there and then I went to Silkstone."
Luke's father Mark was a jockey but, at that age, Luke didn't know if he wanted to follow his dad into a life in the saddle.
"I grew up watching my dad race so I went to the races with him every week but at that point in time when I was at Bundamba I wasn't a racing fanatic or anything. I was still too young," he said.
"I knew fairly early on I wanted to be a jockey but I left it late. It sounds weird but I didn't want to tell my dad for some reason. I don't know why.
"My mum always knew I wanted to be a jockey and one day she said: 'You've got to do it.'
His decision paid off, helped by some luck, which included getting the Cup ride on Danchai from top Sydney trainer Chris Waller.
"They actually said no at first and then she (my manager) got a call back five minutes later and said, yeah, put him on. So it was a last-minute spur-of-the-moment sort of thing,'' Tarrant said.
"I watched all the replays so I knew the horse that way but the first I'd been on him was in the mounting enclosure but that happens at least half the time.
"I was just lucky to get on the best horse in the race.''
Having said that, when the race started, Tarrant thought Danchai was going to be outpaced by his rivals.
"To be honest, after leaving the gates I thought I was in a bit of trouble," he said.
"I didn't think I was going to be able to keep up with the pace they had going but Sydney horses have a way to just relax.
"Here everyone wants to be on the bridle. They just fall asleep and relax.
"Once I figured out he just wanted to relax and do his own thing, we just travelled all the way round just doing lovely work and then I popped him the question and he just found from the 600 onwards.
"We even copped a bit of a check coming into the turn and a lot of horses wouldn't pick themselves up and win after that but he showed a lot of heart to run over the top of them and still win.
"It was a big run and it showed the class of Sydney horses."
Danchai had also been entered for an $85,000 race at Rosehill.
Waller's representative at Ipswich on Saturday, Andre Rabbett, said the stable as glad it pulled the right rein.
"They decided there's good money on offer and if you're running around for less money over a similar distance in possibly a harder race in Sydney, once the fields came out, we decided to put him on the truck," Rabbett said.