Lynsey Satherley admitted to being teary-eyed returning to the Tauranga Birdcage after the fourth race played on the card on Saturday.
The popular Cambridge jockey was not alone in that regard after leading the Debbie Sweeney-trained Clever Ruds to victory, sparking an outpouring of emotion from the racing fraternity following the tragic death of Sweeney’s brother , Mark Sanders, in a boating accident last Sunday.
Sporting a black armband in tribute to Sanders, Satherley raised her whip skyward just steps from the finishing post in a fitting tribute as she was overwhelmed with emotion.
“It’s a very emotional day and I’m just happy that we can bring some sunshine to the Sanders family in what is a very difficult time for them,” Satherley said.
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“I hadn’t really expected the salvation, it came automatically as I was immediately overwhelmed with emotion.
“The Sanders have been more than just friends or employers to me, they have been like extended family and I feel so much about what they are going through.
“You just can’t believe Mark was taken like this because only a few weeks ago we were talking and he was giving me a hard time about something or another.”
Satherley had done business before and during the race but admitted she took a while to calm down on the way back to the Tauranga birdcage on El Roca’s four-year-old daughter.
“I’ve been doing this job long enough now to know I was there to do a job and not let circumstances get to me,” she said.
“During the race she (Clever Ruds) traveled well and she really got down and galloped hard on the straight because in the past she could wander around a bit.
“I think the only concern I had was that I got caught in the reins on the straight, but she was going too well for them and won like a horse that has a lot more in store.
“When we stopped it was all pretty surreal and I just needed a few moments to pull myself together, but it was really special to win this race and I just hope it’s something that puts a smile on everyone’s face. Sanders family.
A celebration of Mark Sanders’ life was scheduled to take place in Te Awamutu on Sunday. – New Zealand Race Office