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French Import Luca Takes Out The Galleywood


A relatively unknown jumps jockey has shrouded the Warrnambool May Carnival in France’s famous tri-colours and even upstaged boss Ciaron Maher following his first feature success.

French rider Luca Remondet full praise from the Maher stable when he piloted Chains Of Honour to a special victory in the Galleywood Hurdle (3200m).

Declan Maher didn’t waste time acknowledging Remondet’s feat: “Super ride, Luca. He’s a bloody good kid. “And after today I’m sure everyone knows who he is.” An ecstatic Remondet said he motivated himself at the last fence by telling himself that Chains Of Honour and him were better as his opportunity arrived. “It’s unbelievable… it’s unbelievabool,” Remondet said. “This feeling is amazing. We have an amazing team, so thanks everyone for that.”

A stunned Maher said he didn’t believe the Galleywood was a winnable race this year, despite the urgings of his brother. “I thought we were mad,” Maher said.

“To get a horse to do that, who hasn’t run over jumps for a couple of years, and in that sort of field, it’s a phenomenal effort from Dec and the Ballarat team.”

Remondet’s remarkable achievement can be put into context when you consider he rode his first winner in Australia at Pakenham two weeks ago. He has seven professional jumps rides to his name. One of them now just happens to be winning a Galleywood.

The 22-year-old previously rode in France for several seasons but sought a fresh start overseas. Initially settling in Ballarat with Tony and Calvin McEvoy for six months, Remondet shifted to the Ciaron Maher stable as he pursued a life over the jumps.

The determined young man didn’t make his debut in a jumps race until March this year where he finished down the track in sixth place.

The achievement by Chains Of Honours deserves much credit too, with the seven-year-old having his first start over the hurdles for almost two years.

Yet the pair of them performed like seasoned pros.

The young Frenchman made his move approaching the second last when he stoked up Chains Of Honour, gradually making ground to enter the straight almost on equal terms with the leaders.

Despite finding himself in front a long way out and with Port Guillame closing quickly, Remondet and Chains Of Honour found plenty to pull off one the highlights of the carnival.

The latest jumps success takes Maher’s tally to 16 feature wins at May carnivals - seven Grand Annuals, five Brierley Steeplechases and now four Galleywoods.

Remondet said the stable had stressed on many occasions the importance of the May carnival.

“They tell me. They tell me every morning” Remondet said.

Victory Dunroe Steeplechase (3450m)

John Leek has credited his family for his latest carnival success.

While elated at Tom Foolery’s victory, the veteran trainer said his wife and son deserved all the kudos for the horse’s preparation. “It’s fantastic for Andrea and me. I know her name isn’t down as a trainer but let me tell you, she does more work than me,” Leek said.

“She’s amazing. My son Mitchell, he does a lot too.”

Leek said he was surprised Tom Foolery had been heavily backed into favouritism.

“He looks pretty good, probably they looked at him and got on,” he quipped.

The wily trainer has scaled the heights of the carnival in the past, reaching the pinnacle when Vinchiamo won the 1988 Grand Annual Steeplechase.