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From the ridiculous to the sublime in the same moment

Zamorar wins brilliantly at Flemington as Seymour-raised Katelyn Mallyon inches closer to another apprentices title.

CHALPAT SONTI July 24, 2014 3:13am

Zamorar and Katelyn Mallyon finish best to win the Singapore Turf Club Handicap at Flemington on Saturday. Picture courtesy of Slickpix


If you reckon you’ve ever heard a story about the highs and lows of sport, then surely it would be hard to top this one.

At 4.21pm on Saturday, players, supporters and anyone associated with Seymour Football Netball Club were left shattered as the final siren went and the Lions had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against Shepparton Bears. The front-runners were nabbed almost on the line.

Exactly the same time, about 200km south, Lions president Gerard O’Sullivan, committeeman Chris Martin and a host of others including former player Ben Davey were roaring themselves hoarse at Flemington as their talented galloper Zamorar made a stunning comeback from injury to reel in the front-running Fab Fevola and win a 1000m race at headquarters.

It was a case of the ridiculous and the sublime combining at the same moment.

Zamorar, trained by club stalwart ‘‘Butch’’ Bourne who was on a weekend holiday in the King Valley, was a triumph for all concerned. He not only netted his connections the thick end of the $80000 stake as a reward for their patience, he edged his rider, Seymour-raised Katelyn Mallyon, one step closer to a second metropolitan apprentices title.

Mallyon has gone from the lows to the highs herself. After winning the 2012 title, becoming the first female rider to do so, she broke her back in a race fall and was off the scene for nine months. That she is back at the top of her game so soon speaks volumes about the former St Mary’s College student’s determination.

And she hasn’t forgotten her roots.

‘‘I went to school with Lyndel (O’Sullivan, Gerard’s daughter) and Alexandra (Bourne, Butch’s daughter) so it was a really good win personally and for all my friends back home,’’ she told the Telegraph.

The grand-daughter of the great jockey Mick Mallyon is in a tight three-way race with Harry Coffey and Jye McNeil for the premiership and isn’t leaving any stone unturned leading by two with just three meetings to go. Mallyon will focus on those meetings to the exclusion of others.

‘‘My manager and I have definitely targeted the metro meetings,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s just so I don’t get suspended anywhere else in the bush.’’

Mallyon, 20, is now apprenticed to Matthew Ellerton at Flemington, a move that has been a huge help in her success.

‘‘It’s been getting me back consistently riding winners in town and I get good support from the trainers here. It’s really good to have that. There’s a lot of apprentices around who can claim more than me so it’s good to have that support. My confidence is sky high.’’

She is also awaiting the return of some promising spring mounts, with the handy mare Bonne Nuit close to having her second-up run. But she has a lot of time for Zamorar, on who she had her first raceday ride on Saturday.

‘‘He gives me a great feel,’’ she said.

I went and trialled him (at Cranbourne, where he won well) and was confident, but obviously race pressure is a lot tougher. And with his problems with his breathing, we were unsure.’’

The son of Scandal Keeper burst on to the scene as an early three-year-old, running second to Group One performer Hallowell Belle in a maiden on his home course on debut, winning in town and running fourth in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day.

He came back later in the season to place several times at weight-for-age level, before, in Bourne’s words, ‘‘it all went a bit pear-shaped’’.

With his last win being in May 2012, his next couple of preparations were ruined by a foot injury, before an autumn campaign this year was aborted after one run when he was found to have a throat problem.

‘‘When he won that trial it was just good to see him win something,’’ Bourne said.

‘‘The bottom line is that’s he’s a good horse, and you want your good horses racing. The signs were there (at the trial), his desire was there, he moved away from the others under his own steam and did all the things you look for in a trial.’’

But at Flemington, Zamorar blundered the start after anticipating it early and getting caught on the abck foot when the gates opened. Mallyon angled him into the clear in plenty of time though and he knuckled down to get up on the line.

Bourne isn’t thinking too far ahead though, and is happy to look for a similar race as Zamorar’s next target.

‘‘He’s pulled up well and there are a lot of options,’’ he said.

Zamorar was broken in by another local football identity, Nagambie senior coach Linc Sullivan, who had a runner of his own at Flemington in the next race, though Road Warrior got a bit too far back to make up enough ground. Like Bourne, Sullivan wasn’t at the track, but was coaching the Lakers in a top of the table clash at Merrigum which his side couldn’t quite win either.

‘‘He always showed something, even back then,’’ Sullivan said of Zamorar.

‘‘That’s a real good effort to come back like that.’’

As for Road Warrior, he is also knocking on the door of a city win.

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