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IT’S a miracle he ever made it to the races, let alone win in town!

Kembla Grange trainer Brett Lazzarini has revealed the remarkable story of Life Coach, who broke through for his first win in the Maiden Plate (1250m) at Canterbury last night.

Ridden by Jean Van Overmeire, Life Coach ($7) made the running and never looked in danger, comfortably defeating Reasonable ($9) and Invader Zim ($4.80).

The second and third placegetters fetched $400,000 and $300,000 as yearlings respectively, whereas Lazzarini’s gelding brought only $35,000.

But Life Coach had to overcome much greater adversity than simply being a “cheapie”.

“We don’t know whether it was a snake or spider bite to the medial side of his off foreleg when he was in a paddock before he had started his racing career,” Lazzarini said.

“Absolutely it was no one’s fault, but we noticed he was sore when we brought him back into the stable.

“I put a poultice on the affected area, and when we took it off, the flesh and skin fell out. It was a hell of mess; at least the size of a tennis ball.

“Really it was touch and go whether Life Coach would survive.”

Lazzarini paid tribute to both human and horse for his now three-year-old’s amazing recovery.

“Obviously, Life Coach had to be treated with drugs, and Dr Mitch Brown at Illawarra Equine Centre did a terrific job looking after him.

“Life Coach helped himself because he would lay down for eight hours a day.

“Nothing bothers him at home or at the races. He is a consummate professional.”

However, there was a downside to Life Coach’s recovery.

“Because of his bad leg, he put pressure on his near fore when standing up and it became more than a bit turned out.

“Thankfully Life Coach’s galloping ability hasn’t been affected.

“Nonetheless, it has been a long, slow haul to get him right, so last night’s win was very satisfying for all concerned.”

Lazzarini, who notched his seventh winner of the season (including one at the Bong Bong picnics), was surprised he was able to secure the son of Supido so cheaply.

“It was Book 2 of the 2022 Magic Millions yearling sale, and there were probably only 50 people in the ring when I bought him,” he said.

“I’m sure he would have fetched $100,000 or more if he had been in the main sale.

“Viv Oldfield (influential Northern Territorian and Australia’s largest private landholder) bought a major share for a friend, and we formed a ladies’ syndicate to have a crack at the Magic Millions 2YO Classic with Life Coach the following year.

“He was broken in, and my first impression was that he was a really good mover.

“Of course our plans went out the window when he was bitten.”

Life Coach has now started seven times and was runner-up at both Moruya (January 19) and Canterbury (February 2) at his first two runs this campaign before shedding his maiden status last night.

Though the Magic Millions plans went out the window, Lazzarini is keen to have a crack at the forthcoming Provincial-Midway Championships with the gelding.

“He is only a Class 1 horse, so I’m hoping we will get a run in one of the early Qualifiers as it is a Class 5 series,” he said.

“Life Coach is a very nice horse, and surely all his bad luck is well and truly out of the way.”

. HOOFNOTE: Life Coach’s dam Orcym (pronounced awesome) was raced by a Newcastle Jockey Club members’ syndicate, and was trained by the late Alan Scorse.

She won two of her only six starts, and her second foal Doctor Doom (by Domesday), trained by the late Guy Walter, won the 2011 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick.

Orcym died in December 2021, and Life Coach was her second last foal.

Lazzarini was one of three provincial trainers who enjoyed success at the Canterbury meeting.

Newcastle’s Paul Perry landed the 2YO Maiden Handicap (1200m) with Totoka ($18), a $46,000 yearling buy who was having only her second start and first since a spell, and Gosford’s Adam Duggan’s move to put blinkers on Border Control ($5.50) paid dividends when he led throughout in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m).

Story. John Curtis, February 17, 2024 - Pics Bradley

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