‘Bye Bye Barry’ … Thanks for the memories.

Published 22 August 2023

‘Bye Bye Barry’ … Thanks for the memories.

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‘’All good things come to an end” is what Gracemere trainer Jim O’Shea said in the moment of announcing the retirement of his good old mate the 10-Y-O racehorse Barachiel (aka Barry).

It was just five days ago at the race day stalls at Callaghan Park racecourse not long after the now ghostly grey Barachiel had finished last for only the second time in his career of 83 starts.

I had wandered over to Barachiel’s saddling stall to have a chat with Jim and to pat Barry.

The trainer and his horse both portray quiet personae, but I couldn’t help but notice Jim looked a touch solemn.

I didn’t have to ask why as I sensed Barachiel had answered for me when he tailed the field home in the Open Handicap out on the track about half an hour earlier.

Jim then confirmed it when he said ‘’All good things come to and end and that’s his last start Tony, but he has had a great career.”

I know the feeling all too well after training horses myself for 37 years and walking alongside them when they leave the racecourse for the last time.

It is an instant emotive concoction of sadness and joy, but the good vibes created through the horse with you leaving sound and well soon override and prevail, testimony to a job well done and shared.   

That long career of Barachiel’s has been a distinguished one comprising no fewer than 15 wins and another 28 placings with a piggy bank totalling $280,555.

“He’s been part of the family Tony for so long now and he has been a dream horse for us, Di my wife and Stephen my son who own him. Barry or Bazza as he is commonly known to so many people really is part of the family. An absolute gentleman and a lovely old horse”, Jim said patting Barachiel on his last day out at Callaghan Park.

It was at that very Rockhampton racecourse where Barachiel as a dashing dappled grey coated 3-Y-O made his debut on April Fools Day 2017 when finishing second to Redataq.

In keeping with the occasion, I suspect Barry was just fooling around that day.

Two starts later it was no tomfoolery when Barachiel nailed the first of his 11 victories at Callaghan Park while incidentally his initial conqueror Redatq never won another race.

Barachiel always had a fan base from day one and attracted attention as most greys do but over the years his colouring has faded to almost classifying most of his body as white.

 Foaled on September 18, 2013, he was born to be grey as his old man Bradbury’s Luck and his mum, the Canadian Silver mare Angel Song bore that distinguished coat colouring with winning pride.

“You know he (Barachiel, Barry or Bazza whatever you fancy) probably should have won some really good races here with a bit of luck. He was second in a Rocky Newmarket (1300m) and second in the Cup (1600m) the following year (2020). At his next two starts after that he was placed twice in Brisbane. Gee he has been a good horse to us”, Jim said as the nostalgia took over with understandable pride on his part for his kindly horse.

Somewhat laconic and definitely laid back to the point where he could be mistakenly read as non-caring, Barchiel’s 0.2l lengths second to Absolut Artie in the Rockhampton Cup on July 17, 2020, brought out the real Jim O’Shea.

I can attest Jim was reduced to tears that only pride and joy can evoke that afternoon as I congratulated him in the runners-up stall as he greeted Barachiel as if he had won that Cup.

Jim and Bary didn’t have to wait long for their Cup successes though taking out the spoils of the Yeppoon Cup three starts later on September 15.

As time marched on Barachiel, just like a fine wine maturing developed a taste for Cup successes winning both the Middlemount and Gladstone Cups in 2022.

Back at Callaghan Park last Thursday, I too was feeling a tinge of sadness as Jim, Barty and I shared eye contact. 

‘’I am going to miss him, but he leaves the racecourse as sound as a bell just like he was at his first start. You know II have never had an issue with him in all those years”, Jim said.

I didn’t want to hang around and witness Jim and Barry walking off, so I bolted something Barry to the best of my knowledge has never done.

I inquired today with Jim telling me Barry has retired to his paddock at the O’Shea property where he will live the life of Riley until the family decide on options for his next possible career.

“Probably never get another one as honest, loyal and capable as Barachiel” Jim said over the phone. 

Who knows Jim, but I must admit these words from Abraham Lincoln are all so true “Ï can make a general in five minutes but a good horse is hard to replace”.

Happy retirement Barchiel and thanks for the memories – Tony McMahon.

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