Bargain Bolter Makes Good
By Tara Madgwick
Monday, 23 May 2011
A horse that bolted out of control into the bush on New Year's Day leaving a trail of wreckage in his wake has five months later provided his fledgling trainer with her very first winner.
Galloping uphill on a rough trail through thick bush is normal work for a racehorse prepared by Margaret Ogilvy, but at the top of the hill where they always pull up, four year-old Bianconi (USA) gelding Bazaconi decided for whatever reason to keep going.
Bazaconi veered from the track at full gallop and started down a tree filled ravine that would have tested ‘The Man From Snowy River.'
"One of the first things you learn as a rider is that you never ever bail out, but on this occasion I had a second to decide if I wanted to break an arm or a leg, or my neck if I stayed on, so I jumped,” Margaret recalled.
The landing was not a soft one and it was a collar bone that was broken.
Sitting alone in the bush, miles from home, Margaret could hear the crashing and bashing as Bazaconi ploughed on downwards through the scrub to the bottom of the mountain.
"I just assumed he would eventually head for home so I got up and started walking,” she said.
"It took me an hour or so to get back to the farm and when I did he wasn't there... no sign of him at all.
"My husband Clive and our neighbours all went back out to try and find him, it wasn't so much the horse I was worried about, it was the saddle... it was worth a lot more than the horse!”
Some five and a half hours later Bazaconi was found with saddle intact and Margaret finally relented and went to hospital.
Barred from riding for a month to allow the broken collar bone to heal, Margaret had to decide what to do about this troublesome horse.
At this point in the story some background information is required.
Before meeting and marrying former Sydney based farrier Clive Ogilvy in 2002, Margaret (Pulver was her maiden name) was a leading work rider and strapper for Neville Begg and was an integral part of Ron Quinton's stable when he started training at the end of his riding career.
During her time at Randwick, Margaret worked with well known horses such as Twiglet, Whisked, Never Quit, Judyann and Group I VRC Oaks winner Sandy's Pleasure, who is pictured here with Margaret after her memorable Oaks victory at Flemington in 1987.
Racing has always been a passion with Margaret and after moving to a farm near Milton on the South Coast and having her two sons Rowan and Ewan, now aged six and five, she saw taking out an owner/trainer's license as a way to get back into the industry.
"I've always loved horses and racing, but then you get married, have children and your life changes and you have different priorities,” she explained.
Margaret's first racehorse The Prussian proved disappointing, but she persevered finding Bazaconi for sale on a website last year.
"He'd had three starts for two trainers and done nothing and had then been used in the filming of that new movie about Damien Oliver and the Melbourne Cup,” she said.
"They said he was quiet and he was cheap, also his sire Bianconi gets a lot of winners, so I thought I'd give him a try.”
Cheap he may have been, but quiet not so much, as the odd bolting episode has become his trademark.
"After he bolted in the bush that day, I played around with his gear and also work him on the beach in the heavy sand quite alot, but you don't want to change your hold on him!” she warned.
Sent to the races for the first time with Adrian Layt on board at Moruya on April 23, Bazaconi finished third and then put in an encouraging run when finishing eighth beaten a length and a half at Goulburn in a maiden on May 10.
"I knew the Goulburn race would be too hard for him and was always looking to come back to Moruya for a non TAB maiden, but when he finished as close as he did I was hopeful that he was on the right track,” she said.
A track to the winner's circle as it happens.
At Moruya last Saturday, Bazaconi (pictured courtesy www.bradleyphotos.com.au) ) broke through to score his first win, taking the 1425 metre maiden by a short neck with Adrian Layt again in the saddle.
"I'm just so glad he stuck his head out to win, it was a fantastic day,” Margaret reflected.
"We had champagne up in the committee room and everyone was so good to us, it still hasn't really sunk in yet that I've trained my first winner.”
Footnote: The author is the best friend of Margaret Ogilvy since childhood.