News and Photos courtesy of www.horseracingonly.com.au
By Graham Potter | Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The Appo name was in the winners' enclosure twice at Esk on Saturday. Old stager Lyall Appo won the second race on Pukekura Boy and he then treated the crowd to his usual, infectious, beaming celebration, but it was the result of the last race on the card that put a special smile on Lyall Appo's face ... even though he finished unplaced 8.20 lengths behind the winner.
That winner was the Michael Lakey trained Marc The Magpie and the reason for Appo senior's joy was that Marc The Magpie was partnered by a 4kg claiming apprentice who was having his first day of competitive race riding. That rider was Lyall Appo's son, Beau, who wasted little time in getting his name on the scoreboard.
Beau Appo takes up the story.
"It was my first day of race riding. I had four for the day ... I actually picked one up in the fourth race, a horse called La Belle Aurore.
"In the first race I ran a good third on Husani for my boss Michael Lakey. In the third race I finished unplaced on Jim Murdoch's Gold Land and on La Belle Aurore, the one I picked up I ran a big, big third. I probably should have gone a bit better.
"Yeah, and then in the last I managed to get up on a horse called Marc The Magpie. That was again for my boss Michael Lakey.
"It ended up being a big day. I started getting nervous towards the end. I kept thinking to myself, I have to win this one.
"My dad (Lyall, who rode in the same race) was just lost for words afterwards. To see his very own son ride his first winner. That's a very proud moment for a father.
"Riding in races is obviously a whole lot different ballgame than riding in trials, but growing up with my father it felt like I've been doing it for years, you know. Having said that I was a little bit late actually getting into the game myself.
"As a kid I never really had my head in the game ... you know, I was out skateboarding and all that sort of stuff ... till I finished school and was able to get my license.
"That's when dad sat me down and, you know, we started getting serious about it. The weight was right ... stripped I'm about 47kg . Dad told me it would be a lot of hard work and I said, yer righto. That was before I started. Then I actually got into it and that's when it hit me that this is really hard work.
"It's got its rewards though, even starting out. Looking back now it still hasn't hit me that I've rode a winner.
"It was so good riding that first winner for my boss. Michael Lakey's stable is a very loving stable. We are all there for each other. He was quite emotional for the first when he was leading me out and it was good to be able to give him a winner and a big finish for the day."
For his part, Lakey was as proud as anybody at the early success of a member of his stable family.
"Yeah, Beau went to Esk on Saturday. He had the four rides. He rode a winner for us in the last. He rated the horse really well. He didn't win by that far. He only won by a nose ... but he put the stick away with about fifty to go and really pushed hard. It was a great win.
"I can tell you that some of his other rides were also a treat. He gave them every chance.
"Beau is a really good worker. He is not scared to work. He is doing a lot of extra work trying to become a jockey. He is talking to the right people. He is coming up and riding work for Liam Birchley and David Murphy and so he is riding with all the top jocks up in Brisbane. That has really helped him come along, I think.
"He deserved to get an early reward."