Creedence, ridden by Michael Poy, wins at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos/Pat Scala)
The celebrations following the win in race eight at Flemington on Saturday were not reserved solely for the connections of the impressive winner Creedence. There was revelry also at a rural Victorian property where most of those in the house actually didn’t mind which horse won.
That property is owned by former champion jockey Pat Hyland and his wife Maree, who eagerly watched Saturday’s Flemington meeting – and especially the Happy Retirement Pat Hyland Handicap – at their rural retreat surrounded by many of their six children and 17 grandchildren.
The recognition by the Victoria Racing Club came after last month’s announcement that 78-year-old Hyland was retiring from the racing game and would no longer seek a trainer’s licence in the new season as he had done for much of the previous 30.
As for the winner of the race named in his honour, Creedence he is living up to early promise for new trainer Matt Cumani with the horse’s earnings reaching $400,000 with the victory, his second from three runs for the stable.
"What a horse. I am just so thrilled to have him in the stable and so thankful for the owners to give me a chance with him because he’s a very promising type," the Ballarat trainer said.
"I know we are in the winter here and it’s a different type of racing (to spring) but you can’t fault him with the way he’s doing it and having a few things not going quite his way.
"He was slow out again today but it was good of Michael (Poy) to push forward. We foresaw it might be a bit of a slow tempo and it was good to be right up there."
One of his Hyland’s sons Matthew, who is the chief executive of the Victorian Jockeys' Association, said his family was delighted for the honour bestowed upon the rider who was inducted into racing’s Hall Of Fame in 2016.
"I will be going to the races, but I am sure a lot of the family will come together with mum and dad up at the farm," he said.
"Our family are so absolutely proud of his achievements and very grateful for the VRC for paying tribute to his career. He had a great career but it’s still very humbling for the family."
Retiring from the saddle in 1990 with 2382 winners behind him, Hyland is one of a handful of riders to take Australia’s 'big four' races.
In 1965 he won the Cox Plate aboard Star Affair; in 1969 he won the Golden Slipper Stakes aboard Vain; in 1984 he won the Caulfield Cup on Affinity and in 1985 he won the first $1 million Melbourne Cup on the Lloyd Williams-owned What A Nuisance.