Udyta Clarke was so worried about her beloved “little pony” Rich Charm she seriously considered ditching the race and taking him home.
In fact she was still so concerned after winning Flemington’s Group Two TAB Multiplier Stakes she headed straight to the stalls.
The 70-year-old Cranbourne trainer is known to sleep in the stables with her horses, she loves them so much.
“I’ve looked after him like he’s my child,” she said, constantly looking for Rich Charm to return to the mounting yard following Derby Day’s last race.
Clarke, herself tiny in stature, insists she came close to taking him home an hour before the race.
“I nearly put him on the truck … I really did.
“I looked at all the other horses and I thought, ‘They’re so big and they’re so strong’.
“And look at my horse, he’s like a little pony.
“I thought, ‘He’s so tiny. You can’t beat horses like this, this is ridiculous.’
“Every other race I’ve coped but it’s really got to me today.”
Clarke, her stomach churning and tears flowing, ignored everyone chasing her to have her accept the winning trainer’s trophy.
She had no interest in the black and white fancy dress code for Derby Day either.
All she cared about was her little horse.
For jockey Patrick Moloney, the emotion of the win was worth so much more than the $500 fine he copped for his enthusiastic victory salute before the finish line.
“It’s probably my biggest career highlight,” the 23-year-old grandson of late Hall of Fame trainer Jim Moloney said.
“To get a ride on Derby Day is a good enough thing for the stage I’m at but to ride a winner on the day and for Mrs Clarke on Rich Charm, it’s just unbelievable.
“To win it for her, she’s a fantastic horse lady and deserves all the luck she gets.”