Armidale’s favourite racing son Geoff Snowden honoured at Warialda Cup meeting

VETERAN jockey and all-round good bloke Geoff Snowden was honoured for his services to the Warialda Jockey Club at the bush race club’s annual cup meeting on Saturday.

Snowden, who turns 55 later this month, began riding at the annual meeting in 1984 – and there are not many years he has missed.

“It was just after I came out of my apprenticeship,” Snowden said.

“I’ve ridden at Warialda just about every year since then, give or take the times here and there when the races were called off or I was sidelined through suspension or injury.”

Snowden’s most memorable Warialda Cup win was on Spy Song in 1994 – made famous around Australia after seven protests were lodged.

First across the line was Peter Sinclair’s Sahara Bounty, which was relegated to second after stewards deliberated on myriad objections.

Geoff Snowden was honoured for his commitment to bush racing at the annual Warialda Cup meeting on Saturday (Image Copyright Bill Poulos).

“That’s the last time I won the Warialda Cup, but as a rule cup day at Warialda has been good to me,” Snowden said.

Just over 18 months ago Snowden seriously doubted he would return to the game he loves after breaking his collarbone in a race fall.

There were serious complications to the injury that resulted in frozen shoulder syndrome.

It was a long road back for Snowden – arguably Armidale racing’s favourite son – but the popular hoop has started 2018 in top form.

“Things have been not too bad,” Snowden said.

“I’ve picked up a few cups this year at Bingara (Medal Afrique) Deepwater (Cavitation) and Narrabri (Rena’s Lad), and a few winners here and there.

“It’s hard to get the rides all the time, though. I ended up with five here at Warialda today but never got any last week, which didn’t matter because I went away for Easter, anyway,” he chuckled.

When he’s not punching home winners across the New England and north-west, Snowden works full-time for an Armidale lawn-mowing and landscaping contractor.

“I’m also doing an agricultural course which is part of my workers’ comp re-training after the fall I had about 18 months ago,” Snowden said.

“At the time I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it back to the track, so there was the opportunity to re-train just in case I had to go and do something else.”

Snowden couldn’t win the race named in his honour on Saturday – the 1700m Thanks Geoff Snowden BM-50 Handicap – but instead had to settle for second behind Kelly Smith’s bolter Yours Truthfully.

But Snowden has no regrets – he simply loves supporting the little bush race clubs like Warialda that put on just one race meeting a year.

“These little meetings are good for racing and good for the towns and districts that put them on,” Snowden said.

“And people travel a fair way to get to them, whether they be at Warialda, Bingara, Bundarra or Deepwater – people know that they are on roughly the same time each year and can plan their trips around these race-days.

“They are always a great day out,” he said.

Words and Image Copyright Bill Poulos

Related articles:

Emotions run deep as Rockatorio wins inaugural Darren Jones Memorial Warialda Sprint


Star of Legs star of the show at Warialda