McGillivray tougher than gutless words

McGillivray tougher than gutless words

Matthew McGillivray Photo owner Christine Cook

Matthew McGillivray in my opinion had one thing on his mind in the $2,000,000 2YO Magic Millions on Saturday and that was leading at all costs aboard Ef Troop and when he didn’t jump brilliantly off went his head and on went a pumpkin filled with raw adrenalin.

Even with the interference Matthew allowed Ef Troop to run, and run fast he did, running sub 34 seconds for the first 600m.

Its pressure and young Matthew didn’t handle it well on the weekend but he’ll learn.

Jockeys are the most competitive sports people I have ever come across and sometimes winning and losing is about split second decisions.


Pressure makes even the most gifted sports people do things out of the ordinary or perform below their best and make bad decisions.

I started writing this as Aussie tennis star Sam Stosur was cruising to victory in the first round of the Australian Open yet she found the pressure cooker too hot and made error after error to lose what looked like an easy win. Greg Norman famously faulted under the waves of pressure in some major tournaments and although I not saying Matt is at their level Saturday’s Magic Millions was his US Masters or Wimbledon and the pressure got to him and he never reacted well when he was faced with a major decision just after the gates opened.


The interference that Matthew McGillivray caused aboard the second favourite Ef Troop when shifting in and tightening subsequent winner Sunlight onto Secret Lady which then caused severe interference to Hugh Bowman and his mount Jonker putting them out of play wasn’t pretty to watch.

Many believe the jock was lucky not to be charged with ‘reckless riding’ and not just careless riding for which he received a one month suspension.

That’s a fair call as it was a big race and his actions damaged the chances of several others and could have had a disastrous outcome.

Luckily no one was injured as it looked tricky for a few strides and I can tell you no one is happier than McGillivray that everyone went home safely.

That said let’s not pretend this type of interference hasn’t happened thousands of times previously and won’t continue to happen as its part and parcel of our sport.

McGillivray didn’t go out on the track on Saturday thinking he’d cause severe interference but in the heat of battle and in a split second he made an error and that will see him sit on the sidelines for a month.

Of course punters, owners and even more so the jockeys wished it never happens but its racing and when the competitive juices are boiling and the prize at the end of the race is huge it happens.

The jockeys know it is something they have to deal with as all of them have caused interference many times in their careers some worse than others but it happens.

Ron Quinton on Marauding and Greg Hall on Merlene I think caused far far worse carnage when winning the Golden Slipper yet many look back now with the opinion both did what they needed to win.

Make no mistake what they did was dangerous and could easily caused some serious injuries or even worse.

But what happened after the race on Saturday is what disturbs many including me about what can be described as gutless and weak.

I don’t like the term ‘keyboard warriors’ as the cowards that sit on their computers or phones and hurling abuse are not even close to what I imagine a ‘warrior’ is.

The level of abuse that was directed at the young hoop McGillivray on Saturday on social media was a disgrace and disappointing as a human being.

Many of those hurling the abuse are hypocrites as they are the same who are up in arms about the hot topic at present ‘Bullying’.

I can give a jockey a bake like anyone but when the abuse becomes personal and downright vile its pathetic and weak.

As a community we are outraged about bullying whether it online or face to face but we as racing fans then believe it’s ok to abuse and bully a jockey for a misjudged ride.

Matthew made a split second decision that was wrong but it was all in the want of winning.

Sure as a punter we can have a crack and I’ve done it but some of the messages on the weekend that I read bordered on hate and a few that were telling Matthew they hope bad things happen to him well that’s just sad.

Are we serious?

I have copped plenty of abuse over the years and it does have an effect I just hope Matthew realises he’s a better person that all those that have made these attacks personal and that he can be comfortable knowing if they ever come face to face they would go to water and run back to their mummy.

All bullies deep down are cowards.

In what was a tough day for the young man it had one shining light and that was the show of support and camaraderie by champion hoop Hugh Bowman who sort him out to wish him all the best in the stewards room and that there was no hard feelings.

Enjoy the break Matthew and we look forward to seeing you in a month and riding winners.



By Richie Callander