SHEER DETERMINATION: Apprentice jockey Ty Wheeler will make his riding debut at Chinchilla today.

Picture: Bev Lacey
SHEER DETERMINATION: Apprentice jockey Ty Wheeler will make his riding debut at Chinchilla today. Picture: Bev Lacey

Determination after freak accident gets Wheeler to debut

RACING: Had things gone to plan, Ty Wheeler would have a winner or two under his belt by this stage.

The racing game has a funny way of throwing up curveballs, and the young apprentice experienced that first-hand seven weeks ago.

Set down to make his riding debut at Gatton on May 16, Wheeler was overjoyed about the prospect of starting the first chapter of his dream career.

That came unstuck less than 24 hours prior however, when a shocking accident resulted in the young rider being transported to hospital, putting paid to his plans.

“I remember it all,” Wheeler said.

“I was standing there looking after my boss’s (John Thomas) horses as they went and watched one of the other horses race.

“I was kicked in the back by a passing by horse. It kicked me to the back of the stall, and I was thankful that she’s pretty quiet and didn’t stomp me.

“It resulted in a cracked rib and lacerated kidney. I stayed in hospital for about five days, in which people looked after me as much as they could. I’ve got a great support network.”

While most would have been tentative to get back on the horse, Wheeler wasted no time in pushing himself to get in the right shape, both mentally and physically.

“I was jumping at the chance to get back,” he said.

“There are so many opportunities here waiting for the taking. I’ve waited long enough and I’ve been keen to get back into the full swing of things.

“I had the four or five weeks off until last Tuesday when I got back on a horse and started riding trackwork.

“I started with my boss’s horses and got into it as fast as I could. I’ve tried to get a bit of fitness in as well, so I’ve had two weeks of preparation.”

That determination has resulted in Wheeler securing three rides at today’s meeting at Chinchilla.

The apprentice said while it would be a perfect start to salute at his first race day, he realises this is the first step on what is hopefully a prosperous journey in the sport.

“If I could put in a great performance it would mean a great jump start to my career,” he said.

“It would help me to grab people’s attention and make it possible to get more rides in the future.

“The sky’s the limit. One day I would love to be one of the greats and ride beside the likes of Hugh Bowman, and overseas.

“It’s a long way off but you have to start dreaming now.”

Wheeler’s road to the track started in Rockhampton two years ago with the Lyle Wright yard, before continuing his traineeship with Glenda Bell in Emerald.

This led him to the care of Toowoomba trainer John Thomas.