HE HAD 2912 rides for 402 wins including 73 doubles, 13 trebles, rode four in a day twice and five at a one meeting at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club, but one win stands out above the rest - the day he won the Wagga Gold Cup on Captaincy in 1977.
Graham Power had a long and successful career as one of the leading riders in the Southern District Racing Association, winning the jockeys premiership six times but a daring, front running ride is the moment he cherishes most of all.
Captaincy was trained at Stockinbingal by John Shoard, who is still training at Warwick Farm, and Power was the only jockey to enjoy success on Captaincy before he won the cup.
The horse was gifted to Gundagai-based owners Peter and Brian Reardon by Bruce McCauley after they agisted Captaincy’s dam Logan Park.
Graham Harris, Peter Elliott and Joe McKinney leased the horse with the Reardons and Brian Reardon, Harris and Elliott had a hectic day to see their win flying into Melbourne from a holiday in Singapore before travelling onto Sydney and Wagga arriving on course at 2pm.
Despite coming into the race with good form, winning at Holbrook the week prior and winning four of his last six starts, Power didn’t think he would find himself in the winners’ circle.
Punters agreed with him, with Captaincy starting starting 12/1 with bookmakers on course and paid odds of just under 27/1 on the NSW TAB.
After being among the rear of the field after the jump Captaincy whipped around the field before the first turn to take up his favoured role as the front runner.
“I didn’t think going into the race he had the class but as the race progressed I got more comfortable as he was a very bold front runner, Power said.
“Once they let him get to the front I was able to adopt the tactics I wanted to - stop and start stuff - and the more that continued and they left me in front the more confident I got.”
“He was very tough and I was able to stop and start and get them to chase him.”
Scoring by half a length from Smokewood the 68-year-old stills remembers the win “like it was yesterday”.
“In those days with the crowd that was there was such an adrenaline rush and just to participate in something like that and have a ride in the cup was special, but to win it was the ultimate,” Power said.
The win on Captaincy was only Power’s second ride in the prestigious feature after finishing fourth on Broadway Hit in 1974 and while he never had the thrill of winning another home town cup, he did go close in 1982.
Power was aboard Shadameneo for Wagga trainer David Heywood when he finished a narrow second to Sean's Pride.
“Shadameneo had the run of the race, running third on the fence all the way, dashed to the front off the old hill as it just to be and just got run down in the last 50 metres,” Power said.
Although Wagga holds a special place in his heart as his home base and with Captaincy’s win Power enjoyed success throughout the district with more than 1000 winners coming in the region.
Riding his first winner at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club in 1970 and his last in 2000 he still can’t shake the sport he has been involved with since he left school at age 15 and still acts as a mentor for apprentices.
“It’s a passion I had even when I was riding - helping the apprentices and have a few I give private lessons to if they want help,” Power said.
“They just come to me and I’m only to willing to help them.”
Power still has plenty of battles wounds from his years in the saddle and has two screws in his right ankle, a pin from his thigh to his knee in his left leg.
The 68-year-old said he was lucky to survive one of his worst falls at Narrandera when he suffered a broken rib, a punctured lung and his heart shifted after he bleed internally following the fall.