Macho man delivers again for Zoe
HORSE RACING: He was the race horse that nobody wanted.
She was the drover turned trainer who gave him another chance.
Together on Tuesday, Macho Tycoon and Zoe Hohn combined for what could be described as the best sporting performance in Central Queensland during the coronavirus crisis.
While most sports have shut down, racing has galloped on, albeit crowdless, during the pandemic and Callaghan Park was the scene of the latest feel-good story.
It was there that Hohn produced her rising nine-year-old gelding first-up from a spell, a despised $63.80 outsider on the “best tote”, to defeat a field of younger, more favoured runners in the Open Handicap (1200m).
And the inseparable pair even had a celebration tale to top that of Sydney horse Nettoyer who indulged in pizza and beer after winning the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick last month.
“Before the race on Tuesday we promised him (Macho Tycoon) that if he won, he’d get a box of sugar cubes, a stubby of rum, and a clip job on Sunday,” Hohn said.
“Well he got the rum on Tuesday night about 10pm.
“I do spoil him but he’s like a kid to me, he’s part of the family.
“He’s my favourite and I wouldn’t swap him for 100 horses.”
Tuesday’s success was Macho Tycoon’s ninth career victory, proved he could still be competitive after coming back from a bowed tendon, and took his race track earnings to $138,840.
But to put those achievements into proper context, you have to appreciate the back story.
In 2014, Macho Tycoon when trained by Mark Webb in the south-east, started his racing journey with two unflattering short trials in which he was beaten out of sight.
In the first of those at Toowoomba, he finished 30.9 lengths from the winner over a 925m journey.
The beaten margin in the second trial at the Sunshine Coast over 850m was 15.5 lengths.
Nobody saw a future in Macho Tycoon as a race horse.
But Hohn was prepared to give him a go and she outlaid a measly 500 bucks for him.
As they say, the rest is history.
The biggest of Macho Tycoon’s wins, and Hohn’s for that matter, came in the winter of 2018 when he claimed the Rocky Amateurs Cup (1600m).
Not many gave him a hope that day either - he went around a $21 chance.
As for the big odds on Tuesday, they were probably due to the fact that Macho Tycoon had not won a race for the best part of 14 months, as Hohn explained.
“His last preparation wasn’t all that flash,” she said.
“But I’ll tell you the God honest truth why the horse didn’t perform, is because Heidi, my sister, was not riding him trackwork because she was pregnant.
“(Jockeys) Nigel Seymour and Ashley Butler do ride him, and they did help me out while Heidi was pregnant, but he’s just a hard ride and he just doesn’t try in trackwork for anyone else.
“He does like the ladies, I guess.
“Heidi was back riding him work before his first-up run on Tuesday and that was the key to switching him on.”
The family connection runs much deeper with Macho Tycoon, as he is raced under the ownership of Hohn’s father, Chris.
“But I’ve got to thank Heidi, Ash, Nigel and Sonja Wiseman,” the 30-year-old Hohn said.
“Without the team behind me, I couldn’t have achieved what I’ve achieved today without them.”
And just to prove that Macho Tycoon really is a man for the ladies, on Tuesday he was ridden by comeback jockey Trinity Bannon.