Jockey Shaun McGruddy looked to the heavens and trainer Todd Harvey believes there was ‘divine intervention’ after Metallon won the Furphy Bunbury Cup At Ascot 5th March Handicap (1000m) at Ascot this afternoon (Wednesday).
There were mixed emotions in the winner’s stall with Harvey and McGruddy fighting back tears after Metallon and then Samsurian’s victory in the Amelia Park Handicap (1200m) coming just days after the sad passing of Harvey’s father, Rob Harvey Jr.
The WA racing industry was in a state of shock on Saturday following the death of Harvey Jr, a well-respected former jockey and trainer who had more than 50 years of racing experience before retiring at the end of last season.
After combining as a training partnership with Todd a couple of years ago, Harvey Jr, a third generation horseman, bowed out of racing in style when scoring his last win with his final runner, Strakin at Northam last July.
His reputation as a trainer was furnished earlier with former top gallopers Kalatiara, Kentiara, Rouge Dior, Always A Devil and Double Dignity, who ran second to Welcome Knight in the G1 Railway Stakes in 1992.
Kalatiara, an outstanding Metal Storm mare, won the G2 WA Guineas (1600m) and Listed Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m) and Kentiara the La Trice (1800m) and Detonator Stakes (1800m).
“I’m really emotional,” Todd Harvey said.
“We’ve lost a great man and we’ve lost a good father to us all.
“He’s just so loved in the racing industry and winning today is just really, really special.
“The horses have done me proud, they’ve done dad proud and I reckon he was riding them home from the sky.”
McGruddy, who forfeited his book of rides at Ascot on Saturday, was apprenticed to Harvey Jr.
The top hoop admitted it had been difficult to deal with the loss of his early mentor.
“Everyone knows he was like a father to me,” McGruddy said.
“I was an apprentice there at a young age.
“What can you say, you just can’t believe it.
“I’m just so drained to be honest.”
Metallon, a three-year-old Oratorio gelding, let down strongly and looks to have a future.
First-up this afternoon he defeated hot favourite Harmika by one length, boosting his record to two wins and a third from three starts.
Clint Johnston-Porter had the sit on Samsurian and scored his first win for Harvey.
The son of Snippetson came from second-last at the turn and burst through to defeat Albukhturi by a head.