In perhaps the ultimate result in the irony stakes, Nathan Tinkler’s often turbulent involvement in Australian thoroughbred racing has ended the same way it started.
The former coal baron who ploughed hundreds of millions of dollars into racing after making a big entrance six years ago, will collect one last cheque thanks to Hooked’s win in the prestigious Cameron Handicap at Newcastle on Wednesday.
“That’s our last runner. That’s Patinack (Farm) all done and dusted,” Hooked’s trainer John Thompson said.
In 2008, Tinkler announced his arrival in Australian racing when Raheeb, trained by Anthony Cummings, won the Cameron Handicap.
He was front and centre in the mounting yard that day but on Wednesday, Thompson, the last in a long line of trainers to have worked for the crumbling Patinack Farm empire, confirmed Tinkler tuned into the race from his Singapore home.
During a year when Tinkler has cut his ties with the Newcastle Knights and has declared an intention to off-load the Newcastle Jets, winning one of the coal city’s biggest races is akin to salvaging something from the wreck of Newcastle’s sporting landscape.
Tinkler will dispose of his bloodstock portfolio at the end of the month following the decision by Magic Millions owner Gerry Harvey to call in a debt that has reportedly spiralled to $40 million.
Hooked will be among more than 500 horses to go under the hammer at the unreserved dispersal sale at the Gold Coast.
“I won my first race here for Nathan and now I’ve won my last race for him. (It’s time to) pull up stumps,” Thompson said.
Hooked’s immediate future will be in the hands of the auctioneers and Thompson doesn’t know if the horse will have a place in his stable beyond the end of the month.
“It’s been well deserved. He’s been knocking on the door in very good races and probably just hasn’t got the job done,” Thompson said.
“I was surprised he was in front today but it probably didn’t give him something to run past and leading might be his go in the future.”
Ridden a calm race in front by Blake Shinn, Hooked ($3.60) had enough in hand to hold out Rugged Cross ($13) and Mighty Lucky ($15).