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RIP Toby Autridge

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33 years ago today, an east coast bred horse called Tumblin Down won the Great Northern Steeplechase ridden by Toby Autridge. The story behind this magnificent steed is one that movies are made of. The baldy white faced horse, being now more than 16hh,  was bred on the east coast and was by a horse called Dodger (by the great jumping sire Kurdistan). Interestingly Dodger traced back to one of the first boat load of mares that were imported in the 1860's to NZ.

Tumblin Down was a chestnut out of Maria Dallas (the singer had a hit song called Tumblin Down...hence the name). He was destined to become a war horse on type and ended up becoming a pig horse, where the hunters shot pigs and used horses to carry them out of the bush. Tumblin Down was doing this as a 2/3 year old. He was seconded to a movie set as an extra in a movie in the 1980's called Wild Horses (not the Kenny Rogers version). One of the lead actors liked Tumblin Down so much, he changed horses and rode him throughout the move.

Sally House ended up with him and Paul Moroney and I ended up seeing him for the first time at the Te Rapa races in the middle of the winter, on a day where now-a-days they would have called the meeting off due to jockeys not having the skills or experience to ride in those conditions or health and safety. The thing that took us both was that in the pissing down rain, he tucked his head into the underarm of Sally, and where ever she went, his head remained there. It was a sight t see. It was a 1600m race and he came from last at the turn and chugged his way to third. We instantly thought Parliamentary Handicap and bought him for peanuts with two friends Connor Maloney and Craig Lindberg. Horse got a virus during the first year so we lost 6 months. Ended up turning him as a jumper. Problem was he wasn't a technically talented jumper (PC way of saying he couldn't jump well) and Graham Richardson fell off him at his first jumping race at Te Aroha (from memory). From that point on Toby Autridge rode him.

Under Toby, Tumblin Down became first horse to have won the Great Northern and Pakuranga Hunt Cup in the same year. In the Northern he was spectacularly put through the wings during the last round, as Graham Lord, who had ridden for two rounds without irons  (iron had broken two rounds before), veered off to the right taking Tumblin Down with him. Lord fell off at that stage and how Tumblin Down didn't fall we will never understand, suffice to say it was a miraculous piece of riding by Toby....freakish in fact.  Tumblin Down went from 4th, 4 off them, to 10th losing 20- 30 lengths. With only a round to go we all thought it was over but Toby kept the game alive and somehow we found ourselves in 5th place at the bottom of the hill the last time but the leader, Vincere had got 20 lengths in front of the field. At the top of the Hill we got to 4th, turning for home he got to third, at the last fence 2nd and we won by a head. In that one ride Toby showed how much of an amasing horse person he was. Tumblin Down lived till he was 33 years old. The celebrations lasted a week as the Northern was worth $200,000 and we were all poor as paupers in our twenties.

So 33 years ago, Toby rode like a demon to fulfil a dream we all had. This morning, unfortunately, Toby died. He was a good person and I shall remember him with much love and admiration.

 

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Dandaleith......the only Melbourne Cup I've been to

Had he won I feel it would have been life-changing for the both of us

I could've / would've bought a section ( 125's and 25's with bookie ) and Toby could've forged an Australian career maybe

Over the years I've watched that replay about a hundred times and not once can I follow him all the way from the 600m mark to the finish post......

don't think I ever read him quoted after the race and I often wondered how he enjoyed the day / assessed his ride / wished he had done anything different........must have been an overwhelming experience for a teenager in front of 100,000 fans

to this day I rate it the most impressive 2nd placing I've ever seen... RIP

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Bob and Steve very hopeful all three of Toby's runners will make it to Hastings tomorrow.( as at 8 :30 pm tonight )

Let's hope our Autridge / Somervell family have some fun tomorrow.

Steve reacons he can improve them all with just 12 hours notice !!

Bob has issued riding instructions to Emily and Shaun. He will be on his couch in Matamata riding them home.

 

R2        # 9   Mrs Twinkle Toes  21 FF  ( Emily Farr )

R3         # 3 Tommyra  8  FF   BB  ( Shaun F )   

R10       #  13  Up "n" Gone 33FF

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Black Kirrama said:

Bob and Steve very hopeful all three of Toby's runners will make it to Hastings tomorrow.( as at 8 :30 pm tonight )

Let's hope our Autridge / Somervell family have some fun tomorrow.

Steve reacons he can improve them all with just 12 hours notice !!

Bob has issued riding instructions to Emily and Shaun. He will be on his couch in Matamata riding them home.

 

R2        # 9   Mrs Twinkle Toes  21 FF  ( Emily Farr )

R3         # 3 Tommyra  8  FF   BB  ( Shaun F )   

R10       #  13  Up "n" Gone 33FF

 

 

Toby will have a right old laugh at us all.... if Up'n'Gone  can get up in the last. 🏇🙏❤️

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A few cracking photos given to me by Paul ....

image.png.9f0399ac84b93f22e671ed51eb220d87.png

That's Toby going "Oh Shit" on Tumblin Down  (white face) just before he's taken through the wings with a round to go

image.thumb.png.f48e5045c5273697614ceb4270e20981.png

Those are four very young (and not fat) looking owners after the win. Interestingly the chickie babe (Brenda Collins) and I shared our birthdays on the same day (the 5th June), Mike's was a day later and Paul's a day after that. As a bit of fun story, we were all up in the president's lounge (free drinks) and once we had won, we all clambered into the lift. Lift got stuck between the 2nd and third floors (as in stopped completely) and we couldn't get out. All the celebrations were going on as we extradited ourselves out of the lift. What a day.

image.png.3a6e430ddd52a7cf075632dc5bdc66cd.png

Toby and Tumble.....we'll never forget

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Thanks for the race book pics Roger. Interesting how low the weights were & I see Big Gamble was in the Cup which of course Toby won the Wellington Cup on latter on.

Have only just recently watched the race on You Tube and each time you would think Toby was going to win. Amazing ride in such a big race at the age of 16.

Cheers

Davey

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