Talk about a story of redemption.
Adam ‘Hippo’ Hyeronimus and his story are well known, with the gifted jockey and Group 1 winner going from the penthouse to the outhouse when serving a two-year and four-month ban for having an interest in bets on races, which kicked off in late 2020.
Still, the Cowra boy put that behind him last year, returning to racing and the winner’s circle at Kembla Grange in May.
Since then, he’s made every post a winner, winning 53 races, including two more Group Ones, a Group Two and Group Three.
His crowing moment arrived on the Gold Coast on Saturday as the 33-year-old scored his first win of the Magic Millions carnival and wasn’t it a full circle moment?
Queensland-born and riding for his biggest supporters, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, he was legged aboard $2.50 favourite Storm Boy in the $3 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m).
From gate nine, the 2024 Golden Slipper favourite was only moderately away.
Still, Hyeronimus allowed him to roll forward before the pair pulled away for a dominant two-and-a-half-length win.
“It’s unbelievable,” Hyeronimus said.
“I was here (strapping) last year and had just started back, and things were a lot different than to what they are now, and especially my suit pants size.
“I had to ask Adrian last year to bring a spare set because I was worried mine were going to split saddling the horses up.”
Storm Boy is a stunning Justify colt, now unbeaten in three starts, and Hyeronimus explained how important the first three furlongs were for the Sydney galloper.
“Like I said to the owners again today, and I said it last start, ‘the jump was very important’,” he said.
“Get the first 600m right, we win, no question about it; he’s a very good colt, but he’s still learning.
“He jumps with them, but he’s not just electric out, and that was my only concern in this pressure race today, but we were able to hold a forward position and just had to wait until one crossed us, and once we got across outside the lead, it was game over.”
Hyeronimus has a high opinion of the unbeaten youngster, suggesting he could be one of Waterhouse and Bott’s best two-year-olds.
“It’s all about the owners, Gai and Adrian, and the horse,” he said.
“He’s a beautiful horse and up there with the better colts Gai and Adrian have had in their stable, and the ones that do succeed are the ones with the brilliant attitude, and he’s got that.
“He’s a big horse, a big colt, but you only have to look at him now, and he’s so relaxed; it was effortless.”
Hyeronimus hopes Storm Boy can progress to the Group 2 Todman (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 9 ahead of what would be his Grand Final in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 23.
“I’d love to win the Todman and Golden Slipper, but at the moment, it’s about today,” Hyeronimus said.
“I’ve had some big wins for Gai and Adrian, but Gai hasn’t been there, so it’s very rewarding to be able to win a Magic Millions for them and have Gai and Adrian there.’
Hyeronimus is a country boy at heart
Born in Queensland, Adam Hyeronimus kicked off his career in country NSW, growing up in Cowra before enjoying a promising career that has taken him all over Australia.
He got his basic tuition from Cowra trainer Kevin White before he spent the first part of his apprenticeship with Robert and Luke Price at Nowra, followed by a short stint with Kevin Moses at Randwick.
Moses found Hyeronimus a full-time position with John Shelton at Grafton before he eventually joined the Tulloch Lodge team with Waterhouse and Bott.