By Tony Megahey
Outback icon Rodney Robb, in his element camping out for bush cup picnics, came out of semi-retirement to help racing mates and didn’t ever envisage his involvement and numbers with son Brett at Friday’s Dubbo TAB meeting.
The Robbs, multiple regional premiership trainer Kris Lees, in an occasional foray to Dubbo, and the Morgan brothers provide the strongest push for punters throughout the eight-race program.
Rodney had transferred stable responsibilities to Brett and was planning a racing holiday with family and friends anywhere between Birdsville, Darwin and Queensland outback tracks.
Then young Dubbo trainer Clint Lundholm, who rode extensively for Rodney, and whose family has had a close association over decades, was suspended for six months.
So Robb did what the close-knit country racing fraternity does so admirably. He took over a demoralised Lundholm’s substantial numbers, vitally kept Clint’s owners accommodated and stable employees in jobs.
“Dad rang Clint to lend a hand, Clint used to ride for him - dad moved to Dubbo to keep his stable operating and I’m at Nyngan with 23 in work,” Brett explained.
“Dad put back a trip to Darwin to keep Clint’s stable operating. Good man my dad, helps anybody when it’s needed.”
The Robbs saddle up runners at value odds throughout Dubbo’s eight-race TAB program. Several formerly trained by Lundholm who still has extended time to serve.
“On a real tough day our best probably Thermosa - he’s won five from 19 and trialled nicely,” Brett offered.
“He’s got that 63 kilos but he's used to big weights and it’s not so much an issue over 1000m.” Thermosa lumps the impost in a 1000m BM 66.
“And Festival of Light in the fifth has been in tougher races, is fitter and won six for us. But getting the 1400m is his concern.
“Hard day, the strong regional stables are here with form runners right through.”
Meanwhile, Rodney’s racing holiday and semi-retirement is on delay as he has solid prospects in the final two races with former Lundholm gallopers Sons of Bourke and So Good to Me, both in consistent form.
“Recent seasons were just the toughest ever, bushfires fires, floods and then the virus and lost meetings - at my age, I pulled right back and put Brett in charge. Bloody good horseman Brett, well educated,” Rodney chuckled.
At present Dubbo is a good 4 under overcast conditions with a sunny 26 degrees forecast on Friday.