To the day I retired Grenville remained one of the best I rode against”pu

http://pumpascher.chaussurespaschere.infoRiordan quickly adapted to the life of a jockey, winning his first race as a 14-year-old while still at school on the McDonald-trained Roiata at 34 to 1.

He took the national apprentices’ premiership in a middle year by two wins from Donny Campbell.

“Two days after the Easter, on the Monday, she won the Nolan Handicap with nine stone four [59kg]. No other horse had ever won the two races in the same year.

“She wasn’t very big,Greatest thrill was passing the post first in the Cox Plate, but boy she had a big heart.”

Eight months later Riordan won the Auckland Cup on Marie Brizard.

Riordan was starting to get better rides and landed the mount on one of the best he was associated with, Summer Regent.

“He was trained by Ray Cotter and owned by Ron Walker, a lovely man who was president of the Waikato Racing Club.”

At a time when New Zealand jockeys were treated as a joke in Australia, Riordan crossed the Tasman to ride Summer Regent in the Cox Plate.

“They reckoned we were all mugs. They told me Grenville Hughes was an idiot and I said if you think that then you’ve all got to be idiots.

To the day I retired Grenville remained one of the best I rode against.”

Riordan says in the wake of all that his greatest career thrill was passing the post first on Summer Regent in the Cox Plate.

“When we were coming back to scale I heard this woman yell out over the birdcage rail: ‘They said you couldn’t ride – you can ride all right’.”

Summer Regent started favourite for that year’s (1963) Melbourne Cup, but Riordan says the classy stayer was stood on his head soon after the start and was afterwards unable to get back into the race.

He later won an Auckland Cup on Sailing Home and a host of races for Bill Sanders, including a string of successes on horses like March Legend and Ballybrit.

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