Tony Cavanagh has waited a long time for Saturday: 27 years in fact.
As a lifelong, and very passionate supporter of the thoroughbred industry, Tony reveled in the 1985 Blue Diamond Stakes victory of his magnificent grey, Let’s Get Physical … a horse he had both bred and owned.
Now, while Tony is hardly the type of bloke – at 65 years young – who would dabble in anything chemical to get his highs, he is definitely of the opinion that there is no greater narcotic than winning a big race.
So, he’s back again for another dose in Victoria’s most prestigious (and richest) juvenile event when Andre Roo Hoo lines up at 4.30pm tomorrow for the $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes.
And, as he proudly points out, Andre Roo Hoo – a son of Eliza Park-based stallion and Champion Australian First Season Sire, Written Tycoon – is also another of his home breds AND is part owned by Tony.
History repeating? Well, whereas Let’s Get Physical was a hot favourite in his year, Andre Roo Hoo is a clear outsider and Tony had quite a few nervous moments waiting on the order of entry.
Still, you have to be in it to win it and the Robbie Laing trained chestnut has at least two things in his favour: another of the part-owners, Chris Rogers (“the most knowledgeable non-racing person I’ve ever met”, according to Tony) also shared the glory of Let’s Get Physical’s victory in ’85 and, as a consequence, Andre Roo Hoo will carry the same colours as the grey on Saturday.
A Andre Roo Hoo victory would mean more to Tony than simply financial gain and the slaps on the back from his multitude of friends and clients.
One of the leading bloodstock agents of the 70s and 80s, Tony has been in the ‘wilderness’ for a number of years, with his business and marriage suffering through a financial collapse, before voluntarily taking on the role of principal carer for both parents in their final years … effectively sidelining himself from the profession he’s loved from day one.
But if you ask him what he’s most proud of as he stands poised to become the first ‘small breeder/owner’ to win two Blue Diamonds, it’s actually more about state parochialism!
“We have the only runner by a Victorian based sire (Written Tycoon) in Victoria’s principal juvenile race and to top it off, he’s the only one that’s Super VOBIS qualified!”
Tony was very specific about the mating and while Written Tycoon is relatively new on the scene – winning last season’s national freshman title and currently heading up Australia’s Second Sires’ chart – Tony has had a long association with the female line.
In the late 80s, Tony travelled to Argentina with industry stalwart, Ted Cockram, securing a number of breeding and racing interests – one of them was the Champion race mare Sumatra, who had twice won the country’s premier sprinting event … the equivalent to our Newmarket.
Although her four winners – from only five to race – had moderate results, her fourth foal, Solar Song, would be mated with Written Tycoon in the spring of 2008 … from which Tony may just get his second Blue Diamond winner!