Winning hoop savours passion
THERE was a lot of pride and plenty of praise from Tony Pattillo after he guided Gold Coast mare Anagold to an upset win in the Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m).
Pattillo, who has battled with weight and injuries for most of his career, was jubilant after railing through to win the $200,000 Cup on Anagold, who started at $41.
High Kin was second, a long head away, with Za Magic a neck further back in third.
Relaxing with one foot up on a chair outside the jockeys' room 35 minutes after the Cup, Pattillo was still gratefully accepting the congratulations of trainers, fellow jockeys and stewards.
His beaming smile was only interrupted as he sipped water from a small wax-paper cup.
The last time he won the Cup was on Forest Jim in 2005 when he also won the Gai Waterhouse Classic and the Eye Liner Stakes.
"This year I never got a ride in the Eye Liner and the Gai Waterhouse but one ride in the Ipswich Cup and we made it worthwhile," Pattillo said.
Asked about waving his whip to the crowd after he passed the winning post, he revealed what winning the Cup meant.
"It's a thrill. This is a highlight day to a lot of people in racing," he said. "It's a thrill for me but it's a major day for the people of Ipswich and it's a mark of respect to them that it means so much.
"It's not just an ordinary race, it's one of the highlights of the carnival. The way it's marketed throughout Queensland and throughout the racing community is sensational.
"Hats off to the Ipswich Turf Club, they've done a sensational job and they just present a crowd and the crowd is just atmosphere and you know they're cheering - whether they backed you or not - and they just love the day.
"To me that's a highlight and it puts something on top of the prizemoney and the thrill of the Ipswich Cup so I really enjoy that."
To questions about the ups and downs of his career, he smiled with a face of wisdom and experience.
"I've had plenty of ups, I've had plenty of downs," he said.
"Days like today you just forget about every one of them - everything's up.
"I don't think it matters what channel in life you go down, everyone has their good days and their bad days. Our's are just amplified. They're in front of the media to a degree and if you have a bad day, it usually consists of a fall so they're your nasty days.
"Your good days - well any day you make it home safe and sound is a good day.
"The great days are when you ride a winner in a big race like this - the thrill, the prizemoney and the highlight of winning an Ipswich Cup - a second one."
Winning trainer Bryan Guy wasn't at Ipswich on Saturday, preferring to remain at the Gold Coast where he had three winners.
The Cup was a fitting reward for him after his durable gelding Motivate ran second in 2004 and 2005 and third in 2006.
"The last instruction I got from Bryan was: 'Be a bit better than midfield'," Pattillo said.
"Barriers opened, we were a little bit slow out, we got squeezed and that put us right back in the last three or four. I thought: There goes seventh or eighth midfield. I'm gonna need a little bit of help here."
He followed another horse who took him into the race until Pattillo made a vital decision.
"He peeled off and I looked to see if I should follow him and I cast my eye to the outside and there was just a lot of horses going nowhere," he said.
"I thought, there's no point following them. While I thought I was going all right and handling the ground I didn't think I was going well enough to get around them and still win the race so I chose to stay inside.
"The heavens opened for me, I got every favour and we got the win."