Damien Oliver says there is a racing god after Darren Gauci scored at Caulfield on his last day as a jockey.
Gauci guided Goodwill to victory in the Robert Hunter Handicap on Saturday, the first of his three rides for the day.
Oliver led a group of of senior jockeys to greet Gauci in the winner’s enclosure after cheering the 51-year-old home in the jockeys’ room.
“Everyone in the jockeys’ room was cheering for the ‘Gauch’,” Oliver said.
“He’s so well liked by all the boys in the room and it’s great to see him go out like this.
“There is a racing god after all.”
Ridden in a forward position, Goodwill ($17) scored a short-half-head win over Dodging Bullets ($4.40) with Post D’France ($7.50) the same margin away third.
Gauci announced his retirement from riding last month and on Monday begins a new career as an apprentices’ coach with Racing Victoria.
He said to ride a winner for owner Lloyd Williams, who Gauci said had been a friend since the jockey was a teenager, was something special.
But to see his rivals out in the mounting yard after winning on Goodwill was touching.
“It was unbelievable to see them,” Gauci said.
“They’re a great bunch of blokes and they’ve been a pleasure to ride against over the years.
“It’s so competitive out on the field but if anyone needs a bit of help away from racing, we’re all there to help each other.”
Gauci said he wasn’t expecting too much on Saturday and to land a winner with his first ride was unbelievable.
And Gauci got a pleasant surprise to see his children Sean, Bree, Brooke and Jade enter the weighing area after the race.
“That’s the first time they’ve come down here after I’ve won a race,” he said.
Gauci was quizzed by stewards after the race whether instructions were to race forward on Goodwill.
He told stewards Goodwill was reluctant to race once he got in front and was waiting for other horses.
But Gauci said when Goodwill learned to race he could one day win connections a nice race.
“He doesn’t know much so I might stick around a bit longer,” Gauci said.
“I reckon this horse might win a Melbourne Cup.”