Episode 277: Tony Erhart

55:26
 
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Great to talk to Tony Erhart who could be the only 73 year old in Australia who’s still riding regular trackwork on a metropolitan racecourse. He says he’s never enjoyed it more.

He talks of his unexpected heart bypass surgery in 2014. He didn’t see it coming!

A year after his major surgery, Tony went close to becoming the oldest winning rider on a Queensland metropolitan track when he was beaten narrowly on Top Tone at Doomben.

Tony retired from race riding to become chief work rider for his wife Lorraine. He had barely started his new role when a freak accident left him with a broken femur.

He says he intended to stay out of the saddle but last October it got the better of him.

Tony talks of childhood days at Gympie, his happy times at pony club, and the disappointment he experienced the first time he tried for an apprenticeship. He approached another trainer and got the job.

He has never forgotten his debut at a defunct Gold Coast racecourse. Nor has he forgotten the buzz of riding his first winner out of town and his first on a metropolitan track.

Tony still can’t believe he was able to win a Brisbane jockey’s premiership as an apprentice. He pays tribute to a couple of his early major winners.

He reflects on his association with Tommy Smith who used his services frequently at the Brisbane winter carnival in the 60’s and 70’s.

Tony talks about his love of two year olds. He had a magic touch with the “babies” and won a string of major Brisbane juvenile races.

The veteran jockey acknowledges the talents of several riders of his era.

Lorraine Erhart joins the conversation to pay tribute to Tony’s great contribution to her Eagle Farm training operation.

She looks back on a little piece of history she shared with Bernadette Cooper. It’s believed Lorraine and Bernie were the first successful female jockey/trainer combination to win on a Queensland track.

Lorraine is the founder and manager of a wonderful fundraising operation called Stilettos and Saddles. She explains that the concept was designed to brighten the lives of racing people who’ve fallen on hard times.

You’ll enjoy our catch up with the Erharts.

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