Day At The Track

From racetrack great...to babysitter

05:36 AM 24 Jun 2020 NZST
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Tee Cee Bee Macray at home with a couple of his young charges
Tee Cee Bee Macray at home with a couple of his young charges

He was a favorite of Victorian harness racing circles for years, and now he's the idol of some possible future stars of the sport.

Eight-year-old gelding Tee Cee Bee Macray (Ponder-Wya Wya Macray (Pacific Fella) is enjoying retirement at Larajay Farms, at Myrniong, the home of Greg Sugars and his wife Jess.

A winner of 17 races and with earnings totaling $250,000 in an awesome career, Tee Cee Bee Macray, nick-named "Mason" around the stables, now has the role of nanny.

"We had him next door to his baby sister and a few weanlings, then one day when we were shifting the weanlings, he carried on as if to say he wanted to be out with them," Jess said.

"So we thought okay, we'll give it a try. And it's worked out absolutely perfectly because they know he's the boss. It's just terrific the way he keeps them in line.

"Mason's always got a home here because he was a family favorite, particularly with my dad (the late Alan Tubbs), but this is really special. To be a babysitter, a horse has to have a unique personality and I probably don't know of too many others it would really suit."

Jess said they had tossed around the idea of converting the family favorite into a riding horse.

"But he suffered from a sore back towards the end and we really thought that might prevent him from going on and being suitable to ride," she said.

Tee Cee Bee Macray was trained by Alan Tubbs and came to notice in his first run at Maryborough in December 2014, when after racing outside the leader, he ran a gallant fourth. He was driven in those early days by Jess's sister Amy Tubbs, who has since turned her talents to equestrian contests and is a regular competitor in the Level One events.

Over the next 20 months, the pacer won 12 races (including a Vicbred Platinum final) and had five placings from 18 starts.

Alan Tubbs battled kidney-related ill-health for many years, and when he passed away in October 2017, Jess took over the training of Tee Cee Bee Macray.

"I don't think Greg and I have ever put so much into a horse to get it back into the winner's circle than what we did with Mason," Jess said.

"It took us two years and 20 days to do it - that was the period since his previous win-but what a memorable and emotional night it was."

And Tee Cee Bee Macray couldn't have picked a better night to return to peak form! It was at Melton's hugely popular Breeders Crown night and even the usually relaxed Sugars couldn't contain his emotions, saluting his whip in jubilation as they went over the line.

To watch the video replay of this race click here

"That was such a special victory. It was one for dad," Jess said.

A trip down memory lane…Amy and the late Alan Tubbs after one of Tee Cee Bee Macray’s early wins

The pacer thrilled harness racing fans over many years with fine wins. Even several of his performances behind the "best of the best" were outstanding. He finished third at Melton in late 2017 in the Smoken Up Sprint behind two stars in Lennytheshark and My Field Marshall in 1.51-9. Prior to that, he chased super mare Ameretto home in the $60,000 Alabar Breeders Crown Graduate Pacers FFA, beating San Carlo, My Kiwi Mate and Flaming Flutter, who are still going around today - certainly more than enough credentials to demand some respect from his young charges in the "nanny paddock"!

"He's a special boy to us and to see him out in the paddock standing over six or seven weanlings while they are all lying down in the sun is lovely. It just warms my heart," Jess said.

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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