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Strapper Mandy Stanley and Master Jamie

“Talk to the young lady who is leading him around out there. They are madly in love with each other.”

That was an extract out of trainer Graeme Green’s post-race interview after Master Jamie had earned a ballot free entry into the 2021 Stradbroke by winning The Gateway at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

We took Green’s advice and spoke to Master Jamie’s strapper on the day, Mandy Stanley, whose association with The Gateway winner goes all the way back to 2018 when she played an important role in Master Jamie’s early education.

“Master Jamie was one of the horses I broke in,” Stanley said. “I had broken in two fillies for Graeme when he was down here based at Deagon. Then he left and moved back to Rocky and, basically, I got a little bit bored.

“I had that much fun doing the breaking in that I rang Graeme up and asked him what he was doing. He told me he had three more colts to do if I was interested. So, I packed the dog up and I moved to Rocky for a couple of months.

“Jamie was always lovely to ride. The hardest part about him was actually getting on and getting off. He just wanted to keep running away. Once we got on, he was the easiest of all of them. He was just that little bit nervous and unsure, so it probably took us another five to seven days more than the others just to get him used to the getting on and off part and just getting him used to things.

“We just took it slowly because he was doing everything else right. He wasn’t trying to be nasty or anything like that but, of course, when they are that size you are never going to win an argument, so we just kept persisting and trying to convince him that it was all going to be ok.

“Then … it was just like one day, all of a sudden, the penny dropped, and he was perfect every day after that.

“I was up there for the breaking in preparation and then I had a month in Brisbane and then went back to Rocky and rode him for a couple of weeks just to make certain I had done a good job. Then I handed the reins to the local track riders and came home.”

But the bond established there has never been broken.

In more recent times Master Jamie and Stanley have spent more time together again … as Stanley explains.

“Master Jamie ran at Doomben on Melbourne Cup day and then stayed down here. So, I looked after him for the ten days from Melbourne Cup day to his next start where he ran really well in the Keith Noud (finishing third behind the track record breaking effort of Jonker) … and so Graeme thought, well I’ll bring him down early whenever he starts next and do the same thing again.

“That run behind Jonker just seemed to top him off really for stepping up to the 1400m. I think he will get stronger over 1400m, maybe even up to a mile as he continues on. He was just that fast over 1000m races early on that you would have been mad not to target him at those, but now he has got to learn to stretch it out a bit.

“Michael Rodd turned in a perfect ride on Saturday. His regular jockey Bubba Tilley couldn’t ride him because he is suspended, but Graeme made sure to give Bubba a mention in the post-race interview.

“Graeme has always been loyal to Bubba. He is like that as a person. If you do right by him, he’ll do right by you and keep you around if he can.

“Bubba did come to see Jamie and I at the tie-up stalls beforehand to wish us luck.

“I expected Jamie to run quite well. I tried not to think the fact that the winner was going to qualify for the Stradbroke because I would get even more nervous if I thought about that.

“I still get nervous though. I get more nervous watching the race than I ever used to when I was riding, to be honest … probably the control freak coming out in me.

“In the run itself I just kept watching the horse … his demeanour and his rhythm … hoping that every step of the way he was feeling pretty good. I knew that if he got into a rhythm, because he is that honest and he tries that hard, that he would give it everything he’s got.”

That he did … and, afterwards, there wasn’t a bigger smile on the track than the one on Stanley’s face as she met Master Jamie in the winners’ enclosure.

You wouldn’t have argued with Green’s call that ‘they are madly in love with each other.”

As you now know, It is an affair which started a long time ago … and it is far from over yet!

*Master Jamie is a 13-time winner from 22 starts. His wins have come over distances ranging from 1050m to 1400 and they, along with four placings, have taken the son of Poet’s Choice prize-money earnings through the half a million dollars mark.

*Mandy Stanley, a former winner of the Brisbane Apprentices Premiership, was one of this years’ finalists in the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

 
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