Aussie Bob: The untold story of a champion

Aussie Bob, trainer Heidi Maloney (fifth from right) and connections of the popular Broken hill runner

When Aussie Bob turned up at Heidi J Maloney’s place, I doubt she or, ‘Bob’, could have imagined the following 20 months. 
Bob had shown some ability as a maiden, running around Naracoorte Racing Club and Bordertown Racing Club Inc., before breaking his maiden at start nine. 
The now seven-year-old, then went than went over to Darwin Turf Club and started his Northern race career on fire, winning two from his next three. 
Unfortunately, Bob’s story spirals downwards from here and the son of Mint Lane only ran one placing from his next eleven starts.
After Bob’s start at Enngonia Races in September 2017, he was headed for the ‘doggers’, colloquially known as the abattoirs for those who might not know the reference. 
“Yeah, the owners were told he needed to go to the doggers,” Maloney said. 
“The owners (Bryan and Chrissina Littlely) rang me and asked me if I could hold onto Bob until the trainer picked him up.
“Being it’s the racing community and we help each other out up here, I didn’t mind helping out.”
Bob didn’t arrive in great knick at all though. 
“He came up from Enngonia and I was meant to look after him for a couple of days,” she said. 
“He came to us lame and pretty skinny.”
A few things fell through and the new trainer had gone bust, meaning Bob, once again might have been heading for an inglorious end to his career.
“We ended up having him for 10 days after plans with another trainer fell through and Bryan and Christina (Littlely) took him back to their place for a spell,” Maloney said.
“They didn’t even have a float but organised to get him back home.”
Bob needed some time to recoup and Maloney helped send the Littlely’s in the right direction. 
“I said to them that he needed to be out in a paddock so he could just get over everything.”
“They just needed to forget about him for a little while.”
Bryan and Chrissina took him and on a handshake agreement, they agreed to bring Bob back to Maloney for his next preparation.
“We only had 1-2 in work and thought, why not,” Maloney said. 
Bob had a few months off, got healthy again and put on some much needed weight.
Maloney was a little surprised when Bob turned back up in January 2018 but that didn’t stop her planning for the annual St Pats meeting in March 2018. 
The following two months, Maloney worked him like they would any other horse, slowly figuring out he was a little different to most horses. 
“He has the mind of a young horse in a old horses body,” Maloney laughed. 
“He’s not the easiest to train and he is one of those types that will remember everything that happens to him.” 
It finally got to race day in March 2018 and Bob was sent out at $9 in the 1200m Class Three Handicap; the third roughest in the race. 
“We didn’t know a heap about Bob and really didn’t know what to expect,” Maloney said. 
“I told Pottsy (Justin Potter) just to take him to the front and see what happens.”
Old Aussie Bob surprised a few that day and ran off with the win, streaking away by 9 and a bit lengths for the win. 
Maloney praised Potter for his work with Bob after the emphatic first up victory.
“Pottsy (Justin Potter) is a real horseman and gets the best out of Bob, and he showed us that with his first up effort,” Maloney said. 
Bob is now well into his ‘new’ career with Maloney and boasts a record of 13 starts for rsix wins, four seconds and over $56,000 in prize money; not bad for a horse once headed to the doggers. 
To put his recent form into perspective, his previous life at the track yielded 25 starts for three wins, one second and four thirds and a tick over $30,000 in prize money. 
Maloney won’t pretend its been all sunshine and lollipops though, suggesting the old boy has a diva personality to go with his cult following.
“He can be bloody hard to handle, it takes two of us to parade him while he shows off” Maloney said. 
Bob’s personality has tested Maloney at some points but she insists that is just his charm. 
Maloney went on to explain how Bob showed his appreciation for their new float that they had purchased, in part for him.
“After Bob had won a couple races, my husband and I decided to buy a new float and on the first trip with it (with Bob), we opened it up to find foam and everything on the ground and Bob had eaten the divider inside it,” Maloney said.
“Bob might have had a few different nicknames that day.”
Aussie Bob has been somewhat of a catalyst for Maloney’s own training career. 
“Bob’s Port Augusta Racing Club and Port Augusta Racecourse win was my first tab win,” she said. 
“He has been some good fun.”
Maloney wanted to acknowledge just how good of owners Bob had and that without them, this story might never have been.
Bryan and Christina are terrific owners and are only concerned about their horse getting around safely.”
Bryan Littlely just loves his horse and wasn’t afraid to give the old stagger another chance.  
“He came out to our family farm, which is south of Adelaide, he said.
“He was here for about four months, or thereabouts, before we floated him back up to Heidi’s (Maloney).”
Littlely went on to explain that Bob already has a career lined up post-racing. 
“He might be that pony club horse that he is meant to be,” Littlely laughed. 
“My daughter (Mahli Littlely) is learning to ride and Bob is her horse.”
Aussie Bob’s story is still to be finished and Maloney and the Littlely family might have a new chapter for racing fans.
“If everything goes to plan, we will go to Morphettville in a few weeks,” Maloney said.
“We will probably get flogged but Bob and his owners deserve a run in the city.”
Regardless of whether Bob finished first, or first last at Morphettville Racecourse on May 25, he is a champion. 
This story is a true testament to what real people in the industry do for their animals. 
The team at NSW Country and Picnic Racing wish Bob, Heidi, Bryan, Chrissina and Mahli all the best for their race at Morphettville, any future races and Bob’s career as a pony when his racing days are done and dusted.