Roches’ racehorse rocker raises $8000 for rescue

THE FAVOURITE: Hand carved by Greg Ryan from local silky oak timber, this rocking horse named Black Caviar was ridden by local girls Shani and Elsie Firth at Roche’s Hotel.Photo Debrah Novak
THE FAVOURITE: Hand carved by Greg Ryan from local silky oak timber, this rocking horse named Black Caviar was ridden by local girls Shani and Elsie Firth at Roche’s Hotel.Photo Debrah Novak

WHILE champion mare Black Caviar is looking to add to her $6 million prize money in this afternoon's Lightning Stakes at Flemington, her silky oaken namesake in a Grafton hotel beer garden will be quietly adding to its own tally.

Corralled in Roches beer garden since 2007, a hand carved wooden rocking horse, carved out of local timber by woodturner Greg Ryan, is close to raising $8000 for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

The rocking horse has an interesting genealogy, its creator said.

"She's out of Silky Oak by Hard Yakka," he said, recalling the horse's genesis six years ago.

"She was my first project with the Men's Shed and it took me about eight months to finish."

The rocking horse Black Caviar is part of a suite of children's entertainment at Roches, but by far the most popular.

"We have an honour box for donations and we get everything from five cents to $5 in donations," Mr Ryan said.

"We're close to reaching the $8000 mark in donations. That's a bit more than $1000 a year."

Mr Ryan said he had completed eight carved wooden rocking horses and did not plan to add to the tally.

Roches has been the benefactor of Mr Ryan's skills as a wood turner, including the winking crocodile in the main bar, a purple python and a Westpac Rescue Helicopter replica hovering from a beam.

Major wins

Some of the big wins for Black Caviar from her 22 victories.

 GBR Diamond Jubilee Stakes (2012)

 VRC Newmarket Handicap (2011)

 VRC Lightning Stakes (2011, 2012)

 VRC Patinack Farm Classic (2010, 2011)

 ATC T J Smith Stakes (2011)

 MVRC William Reid Stakes (2011)

 BTC Cup (2011)

 MRC C. F. Orr Stakes (2012)

 MVRC Australia Stakes (2010, 2012)

 MRC Schillaci Stakes (2010, 2011)

 MVRC Schweppes Stakes (2010, 2011)

 VRC Danehill Stakes (2009)

Topics:  black caviar roches family hotel

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