|Ceduna may be close to my
heart, as it was the town I was born and bred, but it also holds a special place in
history to leading jockeys Kerrin McEvoy and Dwayne Dunn.
For McEvoy the 2013 metre dirt and oil based track was the first track to give
him a winner as a young apprentice. Since then he has established himself as one of the
country's best with wins in a Melbourne Cup, Blue Diamond, George Main and TJ Smith - all
at Group One level.
A handful of years before the first McEvoy winner was
registered at Ceduna, a fresh faced Kangaroo Island born apprentice Dwayne Dunn had his
first ride on the same track.
We now know Dunn has developed into a star of the saddle. A
multiple Adelaide premiership winner he is currently in the top five riders in the hotly
contested Hong Kong Riding Premiership.
His father Barry, a trainer who is now based at Strathalbyn
in the Adelaide Hills, recalls the situation well.
"I always told Dwayne that I would drive him over to
his first meeting. It was going to be a special day and I wanted to be there for it,"
Dunn senior recalled.
"And I couldn't believe it when it worked out to be
Ceduna that the track he would have his first ride," he added with a smile.
Ceduna is an nearly as remote as a town gets. It's the
second furtherest track in South Australia from Adelaide. (Only Penong another 70km west
is further). Barry Dunn still remembers the day he and Dwayne made the nearly nine hour
trek to the state's west coast.
Just over a week ago another young fresh faced apprentice
had a day he won't forget at Ceduna.
Ben Grimston, who's apprenticed to Tony McEvoy at Lindsay
Park Stud, registered his first winner when Follow the Stars scored an easy win in the
feature event of the day.
Follow the Stars is trained by George Dawson, a former
Strathalbyn based trainer who is now living at Port Lincoln (400km south of Ceduna), and
is a stablemate to the mighty galloper Manetti.
Oh and let's not forget Manetti had his first ever start at
Ceduna - winning a two-year-old race by 22 lengths - the biggest winning margin ever at
Ceduna is also the home of bargain buy Bronze Roulette. The
gelding who is entered in the Group Three Tokyo City Cup in Adelaide on Saturday, is a
multiple Melbourne winner and Group placed horse who done most of his early racing at the
track. He was trained here for the first four seasons of his career and is still owned by
a group of Ceduna residents.