Episode 255: Mike Pelling


Manage episode 276129735 series 2379704
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A nasty fall in the 2005 Doomben Roses brought down the curtain on the stellar career of Michael Pelling who won over 900 races and 4 Brisbane premierships. Eager to find a new project Mike developed a gold driving range at Carseldine.

Mike talks of the sale of the driving range and his move to a new challenge- a wedding reception centre and resort at Maleny on the Sunshine Coast.

The former champion jockey looks back on a Supreme Court case in 1998 in which another jockey sought damages for injuries sustained in an accident 14 years earlier. He lost the case and was left with a huge bill.

Mike recalls the Eagle Farm fall which left him with a ruptured disc. He overcame sciatic nerve pain to get back into the saddle less than a year later.

He talks of the constant back pain and his staple diet of anti inflammatories from that point on.

Mike takes us back to childhood days on the Atherton Tablelands, and recalls the work ethic of his remarkable parents.

He looks back on the fun days of riding ponies on the family farm. He says this was a starting point for many jockeys. Those ponies have been replaced by dirt bikes and quad bikes. Mike sees a dearth of jockeys in the future.

Mike discusses his reasons for believing that jockeys of future years will be predominantly females.

He looks back on his first job after leaving school. He was a jackeroo on a cattle station where the head stockman encouraged him to become a jockey.

Mike talks of his first apprenticeship to Pat Duff and time spent with other trainers when his boss was outed after a swab irregularity.

He looks back on a freak encounter with a large tree. He got little sympathy from fellow employees.

Mike pays a glowing tribute to legendary Toowoomba trainer Jim Atkins with whom he enjoyed great success.

He talks of his one and only Melbourne Cup ride in 1981.

The former champion jockey relates his experiences on Brisbane’s unique Albion Park sand track. Some jockeys refused to ride there.

Mike acknowledges some of his favourite horses from his golden years in Queensland racing.

He explains that throughout a long riding career he kept his racing life separate from his private life.

Pelling looks back on his reaction to a story in a Brisbane newspaper which implied certain leading jockeys were involved in team riding. He took a most unusual course in challenging the journalist responsible for the story.

You’ll get the feeling Mike enjoys talking about his inventions more than his achievements as a jockey. He’s got some great yarns.

This is a terrific trip down memory lane with a bloke who helped to uphold Queensland’s reputation as a producer of great jockeys.

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