Outstanding bush jockey turned recent celebrity trainer, Robert Agnew, has won another race.
When CHILLIE COD went on by ‘em all at Grafton yesterday, punters cheered and so did the Agnew family.
That’s two now with two individual horses from a stable of just three! The other one is unraced, named COD BYE (Myboycharlie-Victory Grove) but she can run like the wind also.
So it’s looking more and more like this young Port Macquarie based trainer has what it takes.
‘Ha, I’ve been in the industry 20 years now and I still have so much more to learn as a trainer but I’m happy that what I’m doing right now is working,” he said following 2YO Chillie Cod’s gritty win..
And so solid was she, he’s thinking of backing her up in a fortnight at Taree.
You may recall Agnew made headlines about 3 weeks back when he saddled his very first winner as a trainer with the startling little filly JOEY’S GIFT who had missed the start then sprinted like Chautauqua to win on debut at Ballina. Chillie Cod (Sun Of May-Miss Moguls) was 3rd in that race.
Joey’s Gift (Pluck-Special Order) created such an impression she formed a bit of a cult following on social media mainly because she had been passed in at auction and Agnew, undeterred sought her out bought her for $500 out of a paddock.
She has yet to race again but when she does you will be quite surprised as she will now be wearing the colours made famous by the wonder mare SUNLINE. This is because yesterday, Steve McKee, who also owned Sunline, purchased her and she has been sent to Victoria to be trained by Trent Busuttin and Nat Young. They landed their first Gr 1 winner this year when TAGALOA stormed home to win the G1 Blue Diamond at Caulfield. They also will be getting MIRAGE DANCER ready for a crack at the G1 Melbourne Cup this year.
And while that could be seen as sad and annoying for the brand new trainer, Agnew says it had to happen.
“It was a bit tough to see her go but I told her owner Sharon Wilson, that for the money they offered, she would be hard pressed making it up here.
“Sharon didn’t want to sell, but it just made commercial sense. I had to talk her into it.
“The filly’s in very good hands down there and we all hope she turns into a star for them.”
What a selfless act.
Here is a young man in a sport where you need good horses to increase your stable profile. And he had only just taken out his trainer’s licence about a year ago. Joey’s Gift created a bit of personal, and sentimental history being his first winner as a trainer too. He found her by himself, offered her to his wife’s mum, Sharon Wilson who bought her because, “she just wanted to help me get started in the business.” And despite all that, he goes and does what’s best for the owner in talking her into selling.
“I’ve still got Chillie Cod and she was impressive yesterday winning, leading all the way. If she pulls up well we might go to town, or just tip her out let her grow because I think she will make into a pretty nice 3YO.
“Plus, Sharon has the money now to be involved in a couple more. We’ll all keep going.”
This meteoric rise to stardum for the son of a former Gr 1 winning jockey, has been made even more impressive by the fact he has now saddled just 4 individual horses that he trained. Two of them have won, one has placed while the other one was 4th last start. His name is TWO DUCKS ARTIE and he looks a winner soon, maybe even at Muswellbrook this Friday.
But this winning caper isn’t something totally new to Agnew, who did win 221 races as a jockey, the latest just a few weeks back for Allan Kehoe. He’s won on many tracks from Randwick to Alice Springs, the Gold Coast to Noumea abroad and Warwick Farm to Wyong.
His most wins have come at his now training base, Port Macquarie, where he gets a mighty helping hand from the local trainers.
“I don’t even have a float yet so Jenny Graham helps me with transport. Allan Kehoe has been amazingly helpful too with advice and I’ve worked for Tas Morton, Gai Waterhouse and did my apprenticeship with Stephen Lee.
“I can’t thank them all enough.”
In order to increase the size of his team, which is a whopping three-strong at the moment, Agnew may give his jockey licence away and concentrate on just training.
Given his understanding of horses and his record already, that looks another smart, selfless idea.