Warning: Undefined variable $sitetitle in D:\HostingSpaces\TBVillage\thoroughbredvillage.com.au\wwwroot\wordpress\wp-content\themes\wp-prosper4\theme-styles.php on line 139

Popular Irish jockey finally makes his mark in Australia

| January 18, 2024

Irish jockey Martin Harley put a nightmare year firmly behind him by guiding Abounding to victory in the $3 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas race on Australia’s Gold Coast last weekend.

The County Donegal born rider initially sprang to prominence in 2012 when he guided Samitar to victory in the Irish 1,000 Guineas for trainer Mick Channon.

He subsequently established himself as a regular fixture in British racing, spending three years as one of the main jockeys for the John and Thady Gosden stable.

Harley subsequently moved to Australia in November 2022, but a sickening fall the following January left him wondering left him wondering whether he would be able to walk again.

He sustained multiple fractures, including two in his neck. Harley thankfully avoided suffering any damage to his spinal cord and has since made a full recovery.

After making a low-key return to action, Harley had the chance to put his name in lights aboard the Robert Heathcote trained Abounding last weekend.

The horse came in for plenty of support from punters in Donegal, with Harley’s followers hitting Irish betting apps hard in the run-up to the race.

Their wagers forced the bookmakers to cut Abounding into odds of 7.00 and the Irish jockey delivered a sizeable winning return for them with a well-judged ride.

The race was delayed for more than an hour after another horse got stuck in the gates at the start, but Harley kept his composure to get the job done.

When the race eventually got underway, Harley settled Abounding one off the rail in the middle of the pack before edging into the clear in the home straight.

Sovereign Fund looked to have made a decisive bid for glory along the inside, but Harley’s power-packed finish helped Abounding overhaul that horse in the final few strides.

Owners First Light Racing paid just $75,000 to purchase the filly at last year’s Gold Coast Yearling Sale, which made the victory a little sweeter for the Heathcote stable.

“It is a very special achievement,” Heathcote said. “First Light Racing – they have been a tower of strength to my business for a long time now since they first came up to Queensland.

“Martin, thank you too, buddy. You gave me a pearler. I could not take my eyes off you in the run and, when I saw you get out, I thought we were a really sneaky chance here and he’s got the job done.”

The victory took Abounding’s to four wins and six placings from 11 starts and sent her career earnings crashing through the $2 million barrier.

Having missed two winners at last year’s Magic Millions meeting following his fall, Harley was understandably delighted to add another big race success to his CV.

“It’s unbelievable,” Harley said. “This time last year, four days away from the Magic Millions, I broke my neck.

“Thank God there was someone up there looking down on me today. It was just nice to get a bit of redemption.”

Harley will attempt to claim another big-race win aboard Abounding in Melbourne’s 2024 All-Star Mile at Caulfield Racecourse on March 16.

Category: Racing

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.