Brenton Avdulla rarely shows emotion on a racetrack, but the jockey was moved to tears as he dedicated a milestone victory at Canterbury to his late grandmother.
Avdulla set himself a goal to ride a century of winners this season and he achieved it on Wednesday when he threaded Tennessee Hussy through a narrow gap to take out the Ranvet Handicap.
But his satisfaction was overshadowed by sadness as he remembered his `yiayia’ who died on Wednesday morning.
“When I got the message this morning, it hurt,” Avdulla said.
“She’s been a big part of my life. The only thing I could do is turn up at the races and do my job. Obviously someone is riding up there with me.”
Avdulla’s achievements this season have come without the support of a major stable.
His 100 wins include two interstate feature races and he remains focused on adding a brace of NSW victories to give him 100 wins state-wide by season’s end.
“I also want to finish in the top five (jockeys) in NSW,” he said.
“This year I’ve been getting opportunities for a lot of different trainers and things are going well.”
Avdulla’s previous best result was 87 wins in a season when he was an apprentice in Melbourne.
He said the difference this term had been confidence borne out of hard work and success.
Avdulla was also thrilled to land his milestone win on a horse trained by Marc Conners.
“It’s fitting to do it on one of Marc’s. He hasn’t got many horses but he’s done a great job with his team and he’s kept supporting me all season so it’s a pleasure to ride a winner for him.”
Meanwhile, Tye Angland continued his good recent form with a treble of winners at Canterbury including the impressive Lord Leofric for David Pfieffer.
The day wasn’t as good for Godolphin apprentice Brodie Loy who was suspended for a week for being more than 1kg overweight aboard the Kevin Moses-trained King Kazoue.
Loy’s penalty starts on July 4.