CYRIL and Lynlea Small have known the agonies of horse racing - but sometimes they see the flip side as well.
The jockey and trainer husband-and-wife team claimed success with Dubai Gee Eye in the $8000 Coopers Shoot Orchards Benchmark 55 Handicap (1910m) at Ballina's latest meeting.
Veteran Cyril made his name in partnership with famous frontrunner Vo Rogue, but also survived a horrendous fall in October 2010 which nearly killed him.
Lynlea said she had not wanted her husband of 27 years returning to the track after the October 2002 accident - but racing was a bond that helped keep them together.
"I did not want him going back to racing, but it's all he knows and all he loves," Lynlea said.
"He said to me, 'racing is who I am'. He did not want to leave racing on that terms.
"This is what Cyril loves to do (and) I get a massive thrill watching him.
"For us, this is what keeps us happy."
Cyril may be a bit long in the tooth but he is still a formidable campaigner at country tracks like Ballina.
The Gold Coast-based jockey saw Dubai Gee Eye home by a comfortable six-length margin at Saturday's race day.
It was the second win in 15 starts for the four-year-old brown gelding - and an emotional triumph for his trainer.
"You've got me crying," Lynlea said post-race.
"He has had so many problems and bad draws, but he always tries his best.
"He has not been getting beaten by much in better races than this.
"It was a beautiful ride (and) I'm so happy."
De Triomphe, which started as the $2, favourite, came in second.
Ballina duo Chris Maund (jockey) and trainer Danny Bowen united for a victory with Cryon in the $8000 Become a Club 100 Member Benchmark 55 Handicap (1010m).
Casino trainer Stephen Bennett also enjoyed a victory with StrawberryChampane in the $8000 James Boags Premium Class One Handicap (1310m).
Racing continues on the Far North Coast at Murwillumbah tomorrow.
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