VETERAN trainer Jim Delaney only has two horses in his stable.
But they’re good-uns.
Delaney trains Universal Belief, a seven-year-old gelding, winner of the Mid North Coast Racing Association’s horse of the year for the last season. His other charge is Floral Insight, winner of the association’s premiership based on the most wins and placings for the past year.
“They’re brothers,’’ Delaney, 71, explains.
“We (Delaney and his wife Selia) bred them both.’’
Universal Belief’s story is remarkable.
“He shouldn’t be racing,’’ Delaney admitted.
Universal Belief shattered a knee racing in the Grafton Guineas three years ago.
“I was told he’d never see a race track again,’’ Delaney explained.
He admits he agreed with the prognosis.
“Yeah, I thought he was finished,’’ he said.
However, Delaney gradually nursed him back to health. He eventually decided he was fit enough to race again, with three screws holding his knee together.
Then Delaney encountered another problem.
“I couldn’t get anyone to ride him,’’ he recalled.
“No-one trusted his knees.’’
Eventually former Mid North Coast premier jockey Peter Graham elected to take the sit. And they’ve formed an astonishingly successful combination.
From 12 starts last campaign Universal Belief had seven wins - and that included four cups. Graham was on board for them all. His cup wins were at Tamworth, the Casino Beef Week Cup, the Maclean Cup at the Grafton Carnival and the Casino Town Cup.
“He’s come back pretty good,’’ Delaney smiled.
He said 1400 metres is his preferred distance and Delaney will look for races where there’s a bit of sting out of the track because of his previous knee troubles.
“But he’s versatile,’’ Delaney said.
“He’s won on a heavy 10 and a good three.’’
Universal Belief has won in the region of $180,000 and will come back to work next week.
Delaney doesn’t have any particular race in mind for him.
“I’ll just take it as it comes,’’ he said.
Floral Insight, a five year old gelding, won at Warwick Farm last year and was beaten in a photo at Randwick.
From a career 26 starts Floral Insight has had seven wins, five seconds and eight thirds for prizemoney of $88,000. Again, Graham has been his regular rider although Delaney has used an apprentice in Sydney to get the weight claim. He had a barrier trial at Port Macquarie on Sunday and will start at Warwick Farm on October 10.
As is the case with Universal Belief, Delaney has yet to set him for any particular event.
“I’ll see what’s out there,’’ he said.
Delaney’s been training thoroughbreds all his life.
“I used to train a few more when I was younger. But I only have the two now,’’ he said.
He sold a share in Universal Belief to a mate he’s known all his life. Otherwise he always raced his own.
Delaney will never use the R word.
“My wife’s been trying to retire me for years,’’ he said.
“But I want to keep going as long as I can.’’