Fond farewell for Rocky's race champion
LOOKING up as his old mate gave him a gentle nudge with his head, John O'Sing said what was patently apparent - "it's just great to have him back”.
Somehow, it seemed reciprocal, as for the larrikin Rockhampton trainer and his "old mate'' the retired thoroughbred racehorse local hero Our Boy Malachi, here was a classic case of deja-vu for the eyes to behold.
Our Boy Malachi, who O'Sing won 12 races (10 in succession) from 13 starts with between October 2012 and June 2014 was back home in his old stable complex at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park racecourse.
Two of those wins were extra special, to be more exact historic, as the pair along with owners Rockhampton's Col Donovan family and friends and jockey Adrian Coome claimed back-to-back Rockhampton Newmarket Handicaps.
His late managing owner Col Donovan had lived the dream with Our Boy Malachi by twice winning his beloved Rockhampton Newmarket with what he described was "the Rockhampton people's horse”.
Although saddened to part with Our Boy Malachi after his courageous nose win in the 2014 Rocky Newmarket over Playtime, O'Sing knew it was for the best.
Our Boy Malachi then raced under the Team Hawkes banner in Sydney taking that racing metropolis by storm winning his first four starts in succession in prestige company.
During a chequered next 18 months, Our Boy Malachi won twice more in Sydney and Melbourne before retiring after a second bleeding attack when favoured to win the rich GR 1 Darley Classic at Flemington on November 5.
Therein brought an end to a relatively light racing career of 27 starts for 19 wins and three placings for prize money just shy of a $1 million.
Savouring the moment outside Our Boy Malachi's same old stable box yesterday, although he didn't say it as such, O'Sing was very much the proud man.
Rightly so as during his "time in the sun” with Our Boy Malchi he went about his business of managing his mate's welfare with courteous professionalism while never seeking the limelight.
For O'Sing it was all about the horse.
In a reflective mood as he readied Malachi for his guest appearance before a parochial Rockhampton crowd tomorrow at the races, man's man John was forthright albeit nostalgic.
"It was like losing a kid when he (Malachi) went away (to Hawkes). I knew he had to go to be given his chance and he sure did show them what he was made of. It was great for Rocky and he played his part in getting publicity for racing here,” O'Sing said.
Nudge - nudge again from the big chestnut eight-year-old as he lowered his head against O'Sing which brought a smile to John's eyes.
"He always did that with me (nudging). He is one of those beautiful horses that just want to be with you and by your side. Yeah, it's great to have him back,” John said.
The two old mates will walk the walk and talk the talk (not Malachi of course) tomorrow.
"Our Boy Malachi will be paraded in the mounting yard between races one and two (12.57pm - 1.32pm) and again after the last race (4.42pm). There will be photo opportunities for patrons then,” the RJC's media man Darryn Nufer said.
There will be plenty of buzz and hype with prizes for purple and orange (Malachi's racing colours) outfits as well as souvenir caps for sale.
It will be a walk down memory lane for old Malachi and John. No doubt they will play their part with aplomb, but you can bet they will be more at home back at their Callaghan Park stable barn later tomorrow.