Bryan Littlely joins the Vision Australia Punters Club as SAROA Owner of the Month for April to talk about Aussie Bob and Bryan’s families The Rise Relief Centre. Our Owner of the Month award for April is Bryan Littely owner of Aussie Bob, this award is a departure from our normal awards as it relates to a good story not a winning horse. Aussie Bob’s accident in the last, the Outback Sprint, on St Pats Day was pretty terrifying to witness. Having previously lost a horse in a track incident we feared the worst and looking back at the footage I still don’t know how he survived. Jockey Murray Henderson mounted him and he backed up to the fence, reared and twisted going over the fence. He was hung up on the fence for a bit and kicked himself over. Murray went under him. Luckily only a busted or bruised foot. Bob hit the dirt, got up and bolted. His attempt to jump the inside running rail was more of a body slam thru it. Got up again and bolted thru the infield where he struck at full pace three of the hooded caravan park style power poles and flattened the 20m sign before thankfully being skilfully caught by clerk of the course Annie. Fortunately trainer Heidi Smith’s “team”, husband Jack and farrier/harness racing trainer “Wogsy” Anthony Camilleri were quick on scene with a float to get Bob off track and straight back to his stable for urgent treatment. It saved his life and spared all at trackside a more horrible experience to what was a very good race day Bob’s injuries included a severed artery from a shoulder wound, a gaping wound in his chest every leg gashed, head and eye wound/bruising. Luckily there were no obvious breaks, but the impact of those collisions also took a heavy toll. He was bloody sore, but he was safe. To say Heidi and Jack were sensational in their dedication to Bob – a horse they treated as their own and worked with so well despite him being a challenge – is an understatement. They, along with a team of supporters in Broken Hill took shifts to be with Bob nearly 24/7 for the first few days and gave him daily salt baths and treatment for a couple of weeks. In all, they kept caring for him for more than 5 weeks before he was ok to make the trip home from Broken Hill to Back Valley near Victor Harbor Bob is still recovering and healing, one of his wounds likely to take a couple more months before healed. About 70 acres of our farming property at Back Valley is dedicated to our efforts to give horses a life after racing… The Rise Relief Centre. Everything we have built has been funded by Aussie Bob’s winnings. We took a part share in Bob so he could race in Outback Queensland with the trainers who had our first horse, Croissants. Bob didn’t fair too well out there, was cut and we took him on as the “daughter’s pony” or he would have been destined for much worse. Under Heidi, Aussie Bob had 6 wins and finished outside the top 3 only five times in 20 starts. He won twice at Port Augusta, twice at Broken Hill, at Mildura and Balranald. He got a start at Morphettville didn’t disgrace himself and was incredibly well behaved for a horse with obvious anxiety in the mounting yard….. we should note he is a Mint Lane. Justin Potter was a blessing for us and Bob. Potter gave us comfort and confidence.  Bob is on The Rise for a life in retirement. He’ll soon get back in the with his old mate I’m A Soldier – “Digger” – who travelled with him down from  Darwin to Cunnamulla and onto us when his race days ended. Digger is now doing Light Horse reenactment duties. We have another of Heidi’s former runners, DeVonic with us being used in equine therapy and light horse duties, an old Juene mare as the kid’s next riding club horse, our first foal (by Sharkbite) and 2018 Katherine Cup winner Grand Teton who is being given time to overcome a tendon injury before determining his future. Returning to the track in Darwin on June 6 after 18 months since we took him on with a suspected career ending tendon tear is Darwin Guineas winner Brunswick Street in which we earned a share thanks to our efforts. Also that day, we’ll enjoy watching Weapon battle it out in Darwin. We hold a small share in him along with the mates who had been in with us on our first horse, Croissants We were about to launch the Rise Relief Centre website and a program to help track racehorses in their life after racing when COVID struck and will revisit this when things become clearer. In the meantime, our efforts are published on the Facebook page “The Rise Relief Centre” should anyone want to check out what we’re working to do. As Bryan says Aussie Bob might get his feistiness from his sire Mint Lane as the breed do tend to show a lot of spirit. Bob is out of Belloto mare Ambolene part of the wonderful brood mare line from Balcrest stud. The granddam Ambola (by Rory’s Jester) left Ambika (Indian Danehill) winner of $150,000 and dam of Kabini (Written Tycoon) and Mr Liberty (State of Liberty). The third dam Ambala (Gielgud) won a Goodwood for the stable when ridden by Jason Holder but unfortunately only left two progeny. SAROA is pleased to be able to share Aussie Bob’s story and recognise Bryan and his family for their efforts in rehabilitating and re-homing racehorses.

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