Good deed rewarded
THIS man would be the first to admit that one good deed goes a long way.
Former Bundaberg jockey Chris McIvor should not have even raced in last week's Apprentice Cup and Apprentice Challenge in Perth, originally his training partner and best mate Mitch Spears was selected.
But when Spears was suspended temporarily from racing, he passed on the privilege to McIvor.
“A couple of weeks prior to that we were both riding together in a race and I could see him slipping off the horse, so I pulled in next to him and stopped him from falling. I guess he felt that he owed me,” McIvor said.
The pint-sized 22-year-old made the most of his surprise call-up, winning the Apprentice Challenge and finishing third in the Cup, touted as the holy grail of apprentice racing in Australia.
“It's a huge achievement for me and I was pretty stoked,” McIvor said.
“It's a good reward for a lot of hard work and of course you've got to have a bit of luck on the day.”
Hard work is an understatement for this determined jockey though, having clocked more kilometres on a horse in the past five years than most would in their sedan.
“He has always dreamt of being a jockey, when he was two he would put on his dad's racing boots and they would come up to his belly button,” his mother Linda McIvor said.
McIvor left Bundaberg High School to join his father, a former jockey, in Dysart to follow in his footsteps.
He then moved to Rockhampton two years later, where he would travel to Brisbane twice weekly for racing, while training each morning at 3am.
He lost interest in the sport shortly after the Rockhampton move, but about four months later realised that racing was his passion.
“I started riding for Liam Birchley in Brisbane and am really enjoying it with him,” he said.
“I couldn't even tell you the name of the horse, but I knew it was a sprinter and I hit the lead and it had the pace to stay in front the whole way,” McIvor said of his win.
McIvor was the only Queensland jockey in the Perth field, putting him on the map in the sunny state.
“I get my apprenticeship in December, but there is a lot of hard work to be done yet.”