A horse he bought as a retirement present that once put him in hospital for more than a week has helped break an almighty drought for Yarragon harness racing lover Robert Trickey.
The 66-year-old hobby trainer ended a dry spell of more than 6400 days when he prepared Tanabi Falcon for a long-awaited success in the Janine Stewart Memorial Pace Final at Cranbourne on Sunday afternoon.
Trickey’s previous training triumph came back on May 3, 2006 with Walkabout Syd, who proved his final runner until reigniting his training career in 2022.
Plenty has happened in that time, including retirement from his career as an electrician and a serious farm accident that cost Trickey one of his kidneys.
“Time goes that quick,” he said.
“You go to bed one day as this young bloke and the next day you get out of bed and you’re old. It catches up that quick on you.
“I’ve brought up six kids and (the break in training has been) work more than anything.
“I stood a couple of stallions at stud a while ago and then they fizzled out… I always go to the trots and that, but I just never had one.”
Tanabi Falcon is now 10, but only began his racing career as a six-year-old in 2019 under the guidance of Trickey’s friend and fellow trainer Robert Evans.
“I bought this horse as a retirement present for myself,” he said.
“We bought a new farm in Yarragon and I hurt myself up here. I fell off the back of a ute, came down on my back and squashed my kidney. I lost the kidney and that’s why he didn’t start until he was a six-year-old.
“Robert Evans had him early and I took him back. He used to get foot abscesses all the time and it took a long time to get all that sorted out, then he stood on my foot and put me in hospital for nine days.
“I think he should have been a good horse actually, but with all the mishaps that have happened along the way, he’s spent a lot of time out in the paddock.”
While the victory was a thrill for Trickey, he was quick to point out how special it was for young driver Sophie Jefferies.
The result was a fourth career win for the 23-year-old reinswoman, who only began her career in the sulky this season.
“It was good, but I think I was more happy for Sophie. That was fantastic for her,” he said.
“She’s driven him five times now and she hasn’t done anything wrong at all.”
Tanabi Falcon is now a winner of five races from 48 starts, with the weekend’s victory taking his prizemoney earnings up over $34,000.