It was not the result that everyone was hoping for but for Michael Clout, running third instead of winning with his final runner was really not that important.
Not when you consider that he has hopefully won a long and at times very painful and difficult two year battle to beat a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.
The Wyong based Clout is handing in his license and had his final runner on his home track at Tuesday’s meeting.
The New Zealand bred three year old Moray, a horse that he had high hopes for, was resuming from a let up in the Gosford Sailing Club Class Two (1000m).
The plan was for Moray to try and lead all the way but that went out the window when he dropped back to last then worked home.
“He jumped on terms but could not muster any of the early speed he has shown in the past,” his regular jockey, Adrian Layt, said.
The three year old made up good ground late, bringing down the curtain on a career that saw Clout combine training with his profession of stockbroking.
And living in Sydney and making the daily early morning drive to Wyong.
“I would have covered a lot of kilometres over the years but I have enjoyed training tremendously and Wyong was a great track to train out of,” Clout said.
“It has been a tough decision to retire but when you have come close to dying and get a second chance and you have a wife and young family you have to re-assess your priorities.
“I want to spend more time with them.
“James is 14 and Emily is 12 and they have varied interests including a love of sport and I want to be there to watch and help them.
“Rugby is James’ passion and he is a promising half back.
“Bit of a chip off the old block really and I enjoy working with him to help develop his skills.
“And I will be able to spend more time with Dad on his farm helping with the fencing and all the other jobs.”
The way Clout had his stable set up was made easier with help from his father Russell, also a licensed trainer.
“Dad has been a huge help and it was great to share our successes,” Clout said.
“And he ran things while I was ill.”
And then there was strapper Rodney Turner.
“Rodney was the backbone of the stable and I have never known a hardworking, more dedicated and reliable person,” Clout said.
“He will be a huge asset to which ever stable he goes to.”
While Clout and his family were living on Sydney’s northern outskirts the drive to Wyong was not such a big deal but their move closer to the harbour made it longer and more tiresome.
Clout started training in 1996 and the following year won the Wellington Boot with Sengiggi Beach which went on as a three year old to run a close second to Staging in the Group Two Light Fingers at Randwick.
Later there was Cooder which won four city races plus the Catbird (1100m), one of the feature races at the 2006 Scone cup carnival.
Then along came Jimmy Fortunes at the end of 2007 and he went on to win six races including the Bathurst and Orange cups, a race at Rosehill and run 15 placings.
Included in those placings was a third in the 2009 Group Three Doomben Classic, a fourth in the 2010 Listed Sky High Stakes at Rosehill, a second in the 2010 Goulburn Cup and a second in the Listed 2012 Parramatta Cup.
Clout was hoping Moray could go on to similar heights such is his opinion of the horse but that will be the responsibility of another trainer, yet to be decided.
Meanwhile doctors are happy with the progress that Clout has made health wise and the long term outlook is positive.
“I only have to go back for six monthly check ups now but so far everything is good and it’s onwards and upwards from here,” he said as he walked out of the parade yard for the last time.