POPULAR hoop Darron Coleman farewells Murwillumbah racecourse tomorrow as he gets ready to bow out of competitive riding after a successful career spanning more than two decades.
Coleman, 38, affectionately known as Mozzie, is the other half of the successful Bowen-Coleman trainer-jockey combination, a partnership enduring more than 20 years.
The stable leads the Northern Rivers Racing Association premiership.
The pair’s collaboration began when a bright-eyed teenager from Casino made his way to Ballina-based trainer Danny Bowen and settled in quickly.
Coleman’s first ride for his new boss proved a sign of things to come when he rode the unfancied Full-gent to victory at Murwillumbah, knocking off an odds-on favourite in the process. Soon he was the “local” champion apprentice.
Today, about 600 winners later and with five senior rider NRRA premierships under his belt, Coleman said he is ready to retire, citing a shoulder injury and a feeling that “the time is right”.
“You don’t want to go on for too long and I always said I’d retire by 40,” he said.
“The shoulder’s just brought things forward a bit, because I’m being operated on (next) Wednesday, so the timing fits.”
“I’ve been with Danny almost the whole time since starting out, and I’ve had a good time ... yeah, that’ll do me.”
His loyalty to the Ballina trainer has remained to the end with Coleman sticking by his old master in tomorrow’s feature Casella Wines Murwillumbah Cup, where the chances of Bowen’s two entries Eye Might and Renmark are modest.
The event is race six, due at 3.04pm, and both hopes enter calculations only as emergency runners.
One of the favourites in the 2000m race will be the locally-trained Royal Hope.
Prepared by Grant Marshall and to be ridden by Benjamin Hull, the five-year-old gelding is an out-and-out stayer, an essential prerequisite for a successful tilt at Murwillumbah Cup.
Having been placed in two listed events across the border in past months will attract backers to Royal Hope’s cause.
His stylish 3.5 length win in good company at the Sunshine Coast last month is a better reflection of his ability than when tailed-off in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup at his most recent run.
In race seven (3.42 pm), the $20,000 WHK-Sky Racing Gold Newmarket over 1200m, Coleman has the ride on Going Fine.
Lightly weighted and a winner of three on the trot last preparation, the six-year-old is in with a shot.
Coleman is no stranger to success in the Newmarket, having won in 2007 on Kendrick Lad, and has recorded more wins at the track than anyone else riding tomorrow. He has recorded more wins on the Murwillumbah track than any other jockey competing on Sunday.
Gates open at 10.30am.