It’s fair to say a lot has changed at The Valley since Mount Gambier horse trainer Belinda O’Loughlin last visited. Sunline was shooting for back-to-back Cox Plates, North Melbourne were AFL premiers and Lou Bega’s Mambo No.5 was on top of the music charts.
The year in question was 1999 and her horse Mossiton finished third – wind the clock forward 16 years and Belinda would return to try and take out that coveted win. Leaving their Mount Gambier base last Thursday evening, O’Loughlin and her talented four-year-old This Kid Rocks began their five-hour road trip, arriving in Ballarat later that night. They couldn’t have been in better company bunking in at Darren Weir’s Forest Lodge Racing – a stable that knows a thing or two about preparing winners at The Valley (over 150 of them)!
“We followed Weiry’s truck the next day to the races as I hadn’t been there in that long – I knew they wouldn’t get lost,” O’Loughlin laughed.
Unsurprisingly, Weir would be one of O’Loughlin’s biggest challenges in the race with the more fancied charge Boogie Woogie Man. Entrusting Damien Oliver with the ride, This Kid Rocks settled in the second half of the field and overran his eight rivals with a wide swooping run for a comfortable 1¾ length victory.
“That’s why you get the best – I started at the top and rang Damien’s manager for the ride and it was great to see the horse settle off a strong tempo and put them away easily”.
“The horse is high on confidence and I really feel he can go on with it now, especially as I think there’s further improvement once he stretches out to 1600 metres,” explained the 45-year-old trainer.
O’Loughlin had intended to run the son of Super Kid at Morphettville the following day but a wide barrier swayed her decision. The $22,000 winning prize for the Reg Delaney Memorial wasn’t a bad consolation prize.
“I was nervous about the travel as he is quite a highly-strung horse and the last time we travelled long distances with him he got sick with laminitis and couldn’t race for six months,” said O’Loughlin.
The late decision and prior work commitments meant many of his connections, mostly stock agents from the Mount Gambier area, unfortunately weren’t trackside to enjoy the occasion but by all reports made up for it back home.
“They would’ve raised the roof if they made it to the track, but I’m told they won that much the local pub couldn’t pay them out,” O’Loughlin relayed.
“It was a fantastic night and the atmosphere is always fantastic at The Valley, you get so close to the track and it’s a great highlight”.
This Kid Rocks, who paid $7, became the second metropolitan winner for his stallion Super Kid, who is one of only two horses to win the Hong Kong Triple Crown Series.
“My husband rode him before we bought him and when he got off the first thing he said was ‘that horse has got a motor’ so that was good enough for me,” O’Loughlin said.
That decision was vindicated at his first start with a maiden win at Dunkeld at the 2015 annual race meeting. While not the usual stomping ground for coming metropolitan winners, the horse would win by no less than nine lengths and create a huge impression.
After four minor placings, the gelding has now made it career win number two and three in succession, with his hat-trick assault to be determined.
“He has a rating of 70 now so he could return in the 1500 metre race next Friday night back at The Valley, otherwise we will to Morphettville with him,” his trained revealed.
We hope to see him back here, with all owners in tow.