A winning double at Ellerslie on Saturday has taken Matamata rider Michael Coleman to within just one victory of a significant milestone, one that he hopes to accomplish on his home track this Wednesday.
Coleman sits on 1999 career wins and is just one victory away from becoming the seventh member of the elite group of Kiwi's who have ridden 2000 winners or more. While he is feeling relaxed about achieving the elusive mark, Coleman is keen to put the chase to bed on the track where it all began for him.
"If you asked me five years ago whether I would get to 2000 wins I probably would have said you were crazy," he laughed.
"It wasn't something I had really thought about as I've always said that the day I didn't have the hunger or passion for riding it would be the day I gave it away.
"It's really only in the last couple of years that I decided to try and give it a shot as I've found I'm still keen about my riding and to get to the milestone that only a handful have achieved would be something special.
"To be able to do it on my home course would make it even more special as I've had such good support from the trainers and owners here I couldn't think of a better place to crack it."
Although his final book of rides is yet to be confirmed, Coleman believes he has two live chances already to get the elusive victory under his belt.
"I'm booked for August Edition in race two and Miss Horotiu in race six at this stage and I think they are both nice chances," he said.
"I'm not sure how many other rides I will have but hopefully one of those two can do the job for me."
When pressed about some of his more memorable career achievements Coleman nominates his win aboard Xcellent in the 2004 New Zealand Derby as one that stands above the rest.
"There was just something special about the win and the horse himself," he replied.
"He was only having his third raceday start and was still very green but you could just feel the power about him that day.
"Funnily enough I didn't even ride him in his first start but we knew he was special so to get up and win the Derby like that was pretty memorable."
Coleman hasn't thought much beyond this season when it comes to his riding future, preferring to continue his philosophy of taking things a day at a time.
"While I'm still enjoying it I will keep riding," he said.
"The day I'm not I will walk away and have no regrets. I guess when things aren't going well you do start to have those retirement thoughts but I've had a pretty good year after a slow start so I think there's still a way to go for me in the riding ranks at this stage."
In achieving his 2000th career win Coleman will join David Walsh, Lance O'Sullivan, David Peake, Bill Skelton, Noel Harris and Chris Johnson as members of the notable club.
– NZ Racing Desk.