The racing gods smiled on Michael Coleman
at Matamata today, when in the first of two rides on his home track
programme, he joined the exclusive club of jockeys to ride 2,000 winners
in New Zealand.
Coleman’s landmark victory came on the
Shaun and Emma Clotworthy-trained August Edition in the NZB Pearl Series
1600-metre maiden event. There to join in the celebrations were his
parents Peter and Pauline, son Liam, former boss Jim Gibbs, and three
earlier inductees to the 2,000 wins club, retired jockeys Lance
O’Sullivan and Noel Harris and the still very much active 53-year-old
At 47 years, Coleman can look back on a
career that may not have snared a jockeys’ premiership but which has
included an association with numerous class gallopers, headed by Horse
of the Year title-holders Xcellent and Tidal Light.
“It’s great to get to 2,000 and to do it
on my home track makes it even more special,” Coleman said as he
accepted a trophy from the Matamata Racing Club to mark the occasion.
The honour of presenting the trophy fell
to noted apprentice mentor Gibbs, who recalled the young teenager who
began his career with him by riding his bicycle to work every morning
before school and within 18 months of beginning his career was being
entrusted with Group One rides in both New Zealand and Australia.
Coleman’s landmark win came in a career
encompassing 16,595 raceday rides which as well as 2,000 wins included
178 black-type wins and 37 Group Ones.