It won’t be business as usual for Kieran McDonagh when he goes to the races on Wednesday, the mid-week Belmont card will hold sentimental significance.
McDonagh will saddle up Type One for her debut in the Amelia Park Plate (1000m) and the two-year-old filly is not just racing for pride.
McDonagh hopes Type Won can get her career off to a flying start and be a source of inspiration to help his young son overcome a serious illness.
Type Won is named in honour of McDonagh and his partner Jacki Taylor’s son, Finley, a six-year-old that was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years ago.
The cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown and often appears suddenly. It’s a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, the main type of sugar in the blood.
Living with diabetes is a challenge for anyone and a stress for parents, but McDonagh said Finley, who turns seven in July, was tackling his illness bravely.
“He has a sensor on his belly that is connected through blue tooth and his mobile phone which tells him his blood levels,” McDonagh told The Races WA.
“There will be a siren if it goes low or an alarm if he goes too high, so he lives on insulin and has needles every day.
“It’s way of life for him, but the first few weeks were very, very hard and we struggled a bit with it.
“Now it’s second nature for him and it’s probably easier getting it at this age than if he were older.”
McDonagh is a man of his word and as a proud dad he was not going to break a commitment to his son.
As promised he bought Finley a horse, picking up Type Won cheaply as a yearling from an on-line auction sale in Sydney.
The investment may have been modest, but McDonagh is certain that for Finley, the rewards will be rich.
“I always said I would get him a horse and it was only two grand,” McDonagh said
“He loves watching the races and he loves more the training side than the jockey side.
“He’s very clued in for his age.
“He was so excited and is always patting and looking over her.
“It just gives him something to get excited about.”
Like any charity, generating funds can be difficult, particularly in the COVID-19 economic environment.
McDonagh hopes Type One can play her role financially and also provide the public an insight into Type 1 diabetes.
“Whatever she earns throughout her career we will give ten per cent to Diabetes WA,” McDonagh said.
“I didn’t know the best way to raise funds so I thought we would do what we know best.”
Type Won enters her first race on a positive note after winning a 400m warm-up trial at Lark Hill on June 15.
She meets a field of 10 on debut and has drawn barrier five for jockey Chloe Azzopardi.
McDonagh says she could be a sneaky chance to deliver a fairy-tale win first-up.
“I don’t think she is a world beater, but I think she can win a race,” McDonagh said.
“She is still a little bit green and might need a couple of runs, but her gallop on Saturday was very impressive.”
For Finley, as hard as he tried, he won’t be able to watch his horse race.
But you can be certain at 11:29 am race time his attention won’t be dedicated to his school work.
“I think we would get into trouble if we took him out of school,” McDonagh said.
“He wanted me to run her on a Saturday so he could come along.”