Te Rapa still happy hunting ground for Edge

Roc De Bank (Mark Hills) providing another thrill for Gary Edge.

Roc De Bank (Mark Hills) providing another thrill for former top jockey Gary Edge.

It was like old times for Gary Edge at the winner’s stall at Te Rapa last Saturday, enjoying success in a sport which has been his life.

Edge was there to greet Roc De Bank, a promising three-year-old he races in partnership from the Cambridge stable of Chris Wood.

Roc De Bank had just led throughout in the hands of Mark Hills to win the Hamilton Taxis 1600, beating the favourite Von Tunzelman by a length and a quarter.

It was Roc De Bank’s second win from seven starts, his first coming last October second-up at Te Awamutu on a Slow 9 track over 1400 metres, and the manner in which he ran his rivals ragged over 1600 suggests much more is in store.

Gary Edge 2013“Very happy,” said a smiling Edge when congratulated on the win as he joined Wood awaiting Roc De Bank’s return to scale.

Roc De Bank has made up for the bad luck Edge has had as a part-owner of another Wood stablemate, Licavoli, who has been placed in his last two starts.

Now long settled into his retirement in Cambridge, Edge (pictured) was a top jockey during his heyday and he enjoyed many highlights at Te Rapa, especially on horses from the Cambridge district.

He has the best record in the Waikato Guineas, having won it five times in seven years during the 1960s. He was successful on Fencourt in 1963, then won on the Wallace Townsend stablemates Urupukapuka and Dee in 1965 and 1966 respectively before guiding Ivan Robinson’s wonderful gallopers Bardall and Piko to wins in 1968 and 1969 respectively.

Edge also won the Foxbridge Plate on Urupukapuka and Bardall the same year as they took the Waikato Guineas and he was aboard Bardall in another of his two wins in the race (1971).

He had a wonderful association with Bardall and Piko and also rode both when they credited him with the first two of his four Cambridge Breeders Stakes (1968, 1969). He also won the Cambridge Jockey Club feature on the Laurie and Warren Collett-trained Dive Bomber in 1975 and Jim Campin’s great galloper and sire Vice Regal in 1976.

Other notable Te Rapa wins for Edge included two Founders Plates on Tatua, two P & M Plaza Purse (Guineas Trials) on Sir Garland and Question Me and both the inaugural Even Stevens Gold Cup on Fencourt (1965) and the 1971 edition on Papahu.

Yes, Edge had an affinity with Te Rapa and it was great to see him on course to add to his long list of special racing moments.

You could tell by the twinkle in his eyes, his love of racing, especially winning, is still there.