Well-respected for the movement of horses around the country, Chris Calthorpe also has a successful stable and landed his first Group 1 victory with Media Award in the Australasian Oaks at Morphettville.
Calthorpe runs Air Horse Transport and is a well-known face at carnivals around the country for organising flights for trainers.
Rival jockeys and trainers congratulated Calthorpe for his success on Saturday with a filly lining-up for just her sixth race start.
Ridden by Luke Nolen, Media Award ($61) held off Victoria Oaks winner Personal ($16) by a half-length with Ripper Rita ($31) in third place.
“Unbelievable,” Calthorpe said.
“She’s a very special horse and one of my best mates, Trumby (Nolen) has ridden her.”
Media Award entered Saturday’s Group 1 contest over 2000m off the back of wins at Kyneton and Geelong when ridden by Damien Thornton and Damien Oliver respectively.
Thornton elected to stay in Melbourne to ride at Sandown while Oliver partnered the runner-up.
“I’m so grateful to Mark Arrowsmith, he’s given me a lot of horses, and the ownership group, the boys from St Bernards and Essendon,” Calthorpe said.
“It’s easy to get a horse like her and take them off small trainers and give them to big trainers.
“I said to the boys ‘you must have thought I was a dick when I said I wanted to go to the Australasian Oaks’.
“They said that I hadn’t lied to them yet and they backed me.
“I’m over the moon.”
Nolen landed his third Australasian Oaks having scored on Lights Of Heaven (2011) and Abbey Marie (2016).
“I’m not an overly emotional person, but after the post I gave out a bit of a cheer,” Nolen said.
“It’s a very big moment in both our careers and it’s always good that you can ride someone’s first as you never forget your first, or your last.
“Chris had a lot of faith in her and he was rewarded today.”