“One in a million Stanley” – Article by Tony McMahon

Published 14 January 2022

“One in a million Stanley” – Article by Tony McMahon

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Just a tick short of 23 hours before the $2M Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday, jockey Justin Stanley will be riding at Townsville some 1428km north.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you were thinking so what or better still, what’s this leading up to?

Please don’t become too judgemental but reserve your own conclusions until after the facts are recorded.

Brisbane based journeyman Stanley 40, has only taken the one ride at Townsville on the Benny Crear Rocky trained Tennessee Whiskey in the 5.10pm race.

The race in question is a $20K Class 3 Plate (1609m) with Justin having won on Tennessee Whiskey at its last start leading-up to Christmas.

Come 4pm Saturday, Justin will ride the Sharryn Livingstone trained Bel Esprit gelding Thelwell in the Magic Millions Classic at Aquis Park, Gold Coast.

Thelwell has a real live chance in the big one as two starts back Stanley rode him into second place behind MM favourite Coolangatta in the GR 3 BJ McLachlan (1200m) at Doomben.

In Thelwell’s final lead-up last Friday to the Gold Coast colossus, Justin rode him to a narrow victory on a heavy track over 1000 metres at Corbould Park on the Sunshine Coast.

Rising 70, I have held a myriad of varying roles for over 55 years in the racing industry but in all that time I have never come across a more devoted and dedicated jockey than Justin Peter Stanley.

His remarkable efforts not only in travelling constantly throughout Queensland virtually day in and day out to ride, never cease to amaze me.

Nor for that matter Justin’s resilience, courage and determination to rise again and again after so many serious racing related injuries, makes this old racing scribe admire him all the more.

Forgive me from digressing but that is a given when penning a tale about jockey Justin or Juddo as his mates refer to him, as he is difficult to keep track of.

In all, Juddo according to the informative Racing and Sports, has ridden 1370 winners in a career very much interrupted for long periods through injury.

Recently when he lobbed early one morning at a Callaghan Park, Rockhampton barrier trials session, I asked Justin if he was ever home in Brisbane.

“That’s what my wife keeps asking me’’, he shot back quick wittedly with a characteristic smile.

It was a fair call both ways and nothing has changed since that morning about a month ago.

Back to the facts leading-up to Justin’s ride against the glamour hoops of Australian racing at the Gold Coast on Saturday where he certainly won’t be one bit out of place in that jockey’s room.

Over the past fortnight Justin has barely been home give or take a day or two as he has jetted all over Queensland.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I get tired just writing about Stanley’s travels both in the air and on the roadways.

After riding at Rockhampton on December 30, Justin flew back to Brisbane and enjoyed New Year’s Eve at home.

Not too much celebrating though as on New Year’s Day he rode at Doomben in the afternoon before booting home a winner that night up at Toowoomba,

Then on January 4 he rode at the Gold Coast on the Tuesday before zapping up to Cairns to race ride on the Thursday just two days later.

Then things really got hectic.

The very next day he won on Thelwell at the Sunshine Coast before flying back to Townsville the next morning to ride last Saturday.

No surprises at all that Justin was back at the Sunshine Coast less than 24 hours later for the one ride a placegetter on Rockhampton owned Bauhinia Beans

This week he rode at Callaghan Park, Rockhampton on Tuesday before a sleepover and back at the track early Wednesday morning for trackwork and barrier trial commitments.

While I was tiring from writing about Justin’s journeys, he was race riding at Kilcoy today (Thursday) January 13.

Later, when talking to his manager Don Terry, I took solace in that it isn’t just me that is overawed by Juddo’s stamina to continually consume and brush aside his tireless exploits.

“I don’t know how he (Justin) does it Tony – it’s amazing really”, Don Terry said.

“If he can’t get to the airport within about 40 minutes after his ride at Townsville (Friday) he will have to wait for a later flight back to Brisbane at 10pm”, Don said

A quick nap no doubt in the early hours of Saturday morning in Brissie and then a drive down the Motorway to the Gold Coast – that’s nothing new for Justin either.

Remember back in March, Stanley won the $500K The Jewel at the Gold Coast on Sweet Dolly.

Justin Stanley, may I salute you and wish you the very best of luck – go get em Juddo!

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