Article by Robert Windmill
Damien Oliver rode the champion out onto the track on Tuesday and the 14-year-old gelding was at his mischievous best, refusing a celebratory gallop past the winning post until his paddock mate, a pony called Kid, made an appearance on the track as well.
“He is a quirky little horse and jacking up there was something he used to do when he was racing too,” Oliver said.
Northerly won 19 of his 37 starts, including nine Group One races, and $9,341,850 in prizemoney between March 2000 and October 2004.
“He is right up there with the best for sure, if not the best I have ridden,” Oliver said.
“He is a unique champion. Most champions actually feel like a champion but he doesn’t look like a champion and he didn’t feel like a champion.
“He could sustain a long run and keep it going and I think that was his biggest attribute.”
Greg Childs, who won the Caulfield Cup on Northerly, and Patrick Payne who won the 2002 Cox Plate on the son of Serheed were both at Moonee Valley to be part of the celebrations on Tuesday.
He will be officially inducted at the Australian Racehorse of the Year and Hall of Fame Awards dinner on Sunday night.
Star 1960s galloper Sky High will also be inducted in the racehorse category while former South Australian great John Letts will be inducted alongside Billy Pyers in the jockey category.
The other inductees are trainers Harry Plant and Jim Atkins and administrator Henry Byron Moore who was the Victoria Racing Club secretary for 44 years.
Letts, who was also at Tuesday’s announcement, said he was humbled by his induction and that he never envisaged receiving such an honour.
“You dream of riding winners but you never dream of this,” Letts said.
The announcement of who will join Phar Lap and Bart Cummings as Hall of Fame legends will be made on Sunday.