Cast-offs earn keep
SIXTEEN months ago the Marshall clan bought a pair of tried horses and entered the racing game.
On Saturday, they left Ballina racetrack with their first winning double after Mr Melov and Dontcomonday delivered.
They say the only way to make a small fortune from racing is to start with a big one, but this lot seem to be turning that phrase on its head.
While some spend a lifetime in the racing game without a return, the Marshalls seem to be building the bank rather than breaking it.
Two cast-offs which came at the paltry, packaged price of $15,000 have more than earned their keep, with Mr Melov alone contributing $17,500 in prizemoney.
The pair were bought through a local syndicator, sold to the Marshalls and sent to Danny Bowen.
James Marshall is thrilled with the investment.
“This is what we bought them for – to come down here and watch them win races,” Marshall said. “They are only small country races but it’s hard to describe the thrill you get when they cross the line in front.”
Marshall’s parents, Peter and Kathy, his wife Kate and their children Hayley and Lachlan were all in the members’ stand to cheer their runners home.
“We are really enjoying having another interest as a family,” Marshall said.
Mr Melov – a well-bred seven-year-old by Catbird, out of a Sir Tristram mare – was originally bought by David Hayes as a juvenile but raced only twice for the Hall of Fame trainer.
His 1300m win yesterday was just the fourth of his career – his third since transferring to Bowen – and undoubtedly the most satisfying for connections.
Mr Melov went to the paddock after a bleeding attack on the Gold Coast in March 2009 and ended up with a badly infected foot.
“It’s a testament to Danny that he even got him going again,” Marshall said. “We knew he had another win in him – today he has proved us right.”
Dontcomonday, a winner of two races in eight days after saluting at Lismore on February 27, has his own bizarre injury tale.
When galloping, the six-year-old son of Marwina strikes his front fetlocks with his rear hooves, resulting in painful wounds.
It is a common problem among racehorses, but the Bowen stable came up with their own unusual solution.
“We found a bra where the cup size was a perfect fit for his fetlocks,” Bowen said.
Bowen cuts the bra in two and straps it to the horse’s fetlocks as padded protection.
“The daughter of one of my owners is a bit light on in her top drawer, but we do what we have to do,” Bowen said.