JOCKEYS from across the country tried to jump onto the back of black stallion Talent Beau in 1971, but it was a Wagga jockey that took home the Gold Cup.
Born and bred in Wagga, Lyn Toshack was given the responsibility of riding the heavily backed Talent Beau – and he didn’t disappoint.
Toshack and Talent Beau went on to win the cup by 1¼ lengths and returned to jubilant scenes.
Toshack started riding in the city in 1954 when he started serving as an apprentice under Jack McIntrye and winning his hometown cup remains the pinnacle of his career.
The then 31-year-old continued to ride for another 10 years before retiring in 1981 – however, a Thursday in May 1971 stands out above the rest.
“Going past the post as you’ve won the Wagga Cup,” is the moment that Toshack remembers most from his ride on Talent Beau.
Daily Advertiser racing reporter Ted Ryder said Toshack “threw his cap in the air and waved excitedly to the big crowd as he rode Wagga Gold Cup winner Talent Beau back to salute the judge.”
Toshack couldn’t recall his exuberant celebration yesterday, but did say the win was firmly at the top of his career achievements.
“It was one of my biggest achievements,” Toshack said.
“I rode a lot of winners, cup winners all over NSW including Broken Hill, Leeton, Griffith and the only race I didn’t win was the Albury Cup – I ran second on Talent Beau in it.
“(Wagga) was the pinnacle.”
Owned by Neville Bye and his wife, the four-year-old stallion was trained by their son Reg, who had only had his licence for a short time.
Reg ran along inside the enclosure fence for the last half furlong cheering his charge to the post.
After finishing second to Snipe’s Son in the Albury Cup, connections were confident of their chances at Wagga before Talent Beau developed a filling in a leg that took away some of the confidence.
However, it turned out they had nothing to worry about with a soft track a blessing in disguise as he stormed to victory.
After his second at Albury, Bye received a number of calls from high profile city jockeys to take the ride, but they stuck with Toshack who was one of their regular riders.
“I ran second in the Albury Cup and the guy that used to own him, Neville Bye, had a heap of jockeys from Sydney and Melbourne try to get on him,” Toshack said.
“I said ‘no, I’m riding him’ and he said he had Roy Higgins ring up, but he was only kidding me and I got to ride it.”
Talent Beau’s win wasn’t just a big thrill for Toshack and his connections, but it was for many punters with the four-year-old firming from 12-1 to 7-1 and was the best backed runner in the race.
In a race marred with a number of cases of interference, Talent Beau was in the centre of the action.
Crowding as the field made the first turn at the mile saw a number of horses lose their position. Stewards ruled that Talent Beau caused a lot of the problems after racing slightly erratically, tightening Pacific Pleasure and Good Sherry, and causing Maniere to lose a forward position.
“There was a bit of a scrimmage as we got towards the mile and Talent Beau was a big, beautiful horse, a 16- hands high stallion as black as the ace of spades – he shouldered them out of the road,” Toshack said.
“We settled about eighth and going past the RSL Club there was another scrimmage and I got into a position where I thought he could win and one thing led to another.
“I got a run between horses coming up the hill in those days, he surged to the front and won.”
Talent Beau had a three-length lead coming up the home straight but did tire coming to the line to win by 1¼ lengths.
After finishing his racing career Talent Beau was sent to stud.
Toshack, now 74 years old, still goes down to the races, but doesn’t go as often as he used to, and watches a lot on television from home.