Our Boy, our hero, farewelled
RACING: With a swift pat on the head and a rub on his crest, Rockhampton jockey Adrian Coome bid farewell to the horse that brought him so much joy.
For Our Boy Malachi, the Rocky Rocket, all the superlatives are just, and they should be.
He is the finest horse this region has produced. A once in a generation gelding.
Coome saddled up on Our Boy Malachi for 12 wins, 10 consecutively, the most of any jockey, says it's his fight that he cherishes the most.
"Probably his will to win more than the wins itself actually," Coome said fondly from the public farewell at Callaghan Park.
"He is a great old horse to ride. A real gentleman and professional race horse. His will to win was second to none.
"He means a fair bit (to me), a horse that doesn't come by too often. Any horse you win 10 in a row on is special.
"When you are going out on a horse like him and one who tries as hard as him, it's easy riding. A lot of people talk of about the pressure but on him there isn't any. You know he will take care of it and you can enjoy the ride."
As he said his goodbyes to the retiring horse, his mind flashed back to his final race on him. The 2014 Rockhampton Newmarket.
To Coome, it was their crowning glory as the dynamic duo signed off in style.
"That was our best win. He almost fell over and I nearly came off him. But he overcame that and still held on to win," he said.
"It was actually the first time I have really panicked on him. After he lost his feet, I was up over his head and lucky to get back on him.
"We ended up mid-field... he was still never going to get beat but it was the first time we were in a spot we weren't used to.
"It was a big effort, but it shows his will to win."
As Our Boy was paraded to the public, Coome said it was a day of celebration, the real goodbye was his last win in Rocky.
"It was worse saying goodbye when he left after the Newmarket. The trainers wanted to go their own way which was fair enough," he said.
"But it was sad. And sad that he had to retire. I thought he had a couple of wins left in him.
"Definitely a Group 1, he should have got his Group 1."
For co-owner Ross Donovan yesterday was a celebration. He said while the earnings from his Sydney and Melbourne feats won him country-wide acclaim, his last race in Rocky was the pinnacle.
"It was a special day that one. I know he won a lot," Donovan recapped.
"But with Adrian riding him on 59 kilos. The way he won the race... it was just sensational. Col (Donovan's late brother) was here too. It was so exciting.
"It has been a great day for us. We have all the family here including Col's daughter Jess. And the old fella looks just a treat."
Donovan praised Coome's track riding ability for getting the best out of the horse they called Billy in the stables.
"Adrian is a very good young man and a very good jockey.
"The one thing about Adrian is that he always puts them in a position to win. Always. Whether it comes through or not he is always a chance.
"I don't know if there will ever be a horse out of Rocky this good. Possibly never.
"I plan to have a look around at the next sales, you never know."
While he will try, he knows there is no replacing this Callaghan Park superstar.