WHIP HAND: Carmel Cocciola, pictured right,  and the whip presented to her grandfather as the winner of the Ramornie Handicap i
WHIP HAND: Carmel Cocciola, pictured right, and the whip presented to her grandfather as the winner of the Ramornie Handicap i

Ramornie link ... with 1876

By STEVE SPINKS

WHEN the Ramornie Handicap is run in Grafton each year it's a special time in the Cocciola household at Parrot's Nest.

After all, Carmel Cocciola's grandfather won the Ramornie Handicap as a jockey in 1876.

Joseph McMahon rode home a mare called Florrie to win the prelude race to the Grafton Cup as an up-and-coming hoop at the tender age of 16.

For his victory he was presented with a beautiful whip made of kangaroo bone, ivory, silver and tulip wood.

Mrs Cocciola still has the whip, which was handed down to her when her grandfather died in 1953.

It's still protected by the original paper that Joseph wrapped it in ... in 1876.

The whip is still in great condition, considering it is almost 130 years old.

It's only missing the little tip of leather on the end of the stick.

The love of horses Joseph had has been passed on to his great grandson, Kevin Cocciola.

Cocciola part-owns racehorse Capilano Road which he and trainer Owen Glue were attempting to prepare for yesterday's Ramornie.

Unfortunately, the recent rain and flooding of the Lismore track put paid to that idea.

Capilano Road, better known under the stable name Saleyards, was the horse whose mother died giving birth.

Cocciola, along with The Northern Star, put out an appeal to find a suitable mother.

One was found and eight starts later, Saleyards has had a couple of wins and places.

Cocciola also has a couple of yearlings on his Parrot's Nest property which he hopes to race.

Who knows, maybe the Cocciola name will be further linked with the Ramornie in years to come?



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