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How a freak became a battler's dream

26th Jul 2010

Courier Mail - Gary Legg - Saturday, 24 July 2010

KEMBLA Grange trainer Michael – "call me Mick" – Tubman is hurting. So is his brilliant filly Chance Bye.

Tubman admits he gets too close to his horses . . . and why wouldn't he?

The battler borrowed $15,000 to buy Chance Bye and she has amassed a life changing $500,000 prizemoney for the chain-smoking trainer.

The Silver Slipper winner injured herself at Tubman's home track on Wednesday, throwing her spring campaign into serious doubt.

"She's everything to me this horse," Tubman said. "In one sense she has changed my life.

"Put it this way, I would be training horses anyway and struggling to do it. I'm still training, but now it's not as big a struggle.

"People dream of getting one like her, but for me it's a privilege to have a horse like her and I respect her so much."

And what has he spent much of the booty on?

"I've fixed up the fence around the yard, bought a walking machine for the horses and put a roof on the sandroll."

Tubman also used his winnings to buy more horses, returning to the Inglis yearling sale where he bought Chance Bye, looking for a bargain.

"I didn't have a stamp last time I was at the sales, but this year I spent up and bought six cheapies. The dearest was $22,000," Tubman said.

"I saw one out of the corner of my eye, raised my hand and next minute a sheila was telling me I paid $5k for it.

"I thought gee I've brought a pig in a poke here, but when I saw the colt he was lovely.

"When I got him home he broke in real good and then a bloke wanted to give me $20k for him as a show jumper. Of course I said no, I don't buy 'em to sell 'em."

While Tubman likes to tell a yarn, there is no doubt where is thoughts really are.

Chance Bye was cut deeply over the coronet band, just above the hoof. She did the same thing when unplaced in the Golden Slipper.

"She gave her leg a damn good whack and hit it pretty hard," Tubman said.

"She has a cut about an inch wide and it's pretty deep," Tubman said. "It's not a breakdown but it's a setback, and could be a major one unless something is rectified pretty quick.

"I don't know what I'll be doing race-wise. Everything is up in the air at the moment. The good thing is she is fine in herself and I'm just going to take her to the beach every day."

Tubman, 62, said Chance Bye has had the problem since she first started galloping. After yesterday's mishap he is calling in farriers for advice.

"We think it's a shoeing problem more than anything else," he said. "One (farrier) is a corrective bloke. A trotting bloke put me on to him, so I'll see what he comes up with.

"She's been doing it since her first barrier trial and gave herself a nasty whack in the Slipper, but this is the worst.

"I thought I had it under control with light shoes on the front and heavy on the back, but maybe not."

If anyone can find a solution, it should be Tubman. He has been winning races since he was nine and training horses since his teens.

"I've pretty much always been training something," he said. "I trained my first winner when I was nine. It was a pigeon race.

"After that I've trained trotters, won races at Wentworth Park and Harold Park with greyhounds and racehorses and I'm still going with the horses. That'll never stop."



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