A win at Moonee Valley last Saturday was a ray of sunshine for former Kiwi jockey Matthew Enright and his partner, Tegan Hearps.
You’ve Been Had, trained and part-owned by Enright’s sister, Lisa, scored a decisive win over 1000m and news of the plight of the couple’s nine-year-old son, Ryder, was made public with thoughts and best wishes immediately going out to the plucky youngster and his family.
Midway through last week Ryder was diagnosed with leukaemia and is in Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital undergoing a course of chemotherapy.
“It all happened so quickly,” Lisa Enright said. “He showed symptoms of having a cold then further blood tests revealed he has leukaemia.
“He was sent straight to the Royal Children’s Hospital and had his first lot of chemo last Friday.
“It’s come as a shock to us all. He’s a little go-getter, always out and about.
“He's got a big army behind him and we're all there and we'll all help get him through."
Enright paid an emotional tribute to her nephew in a trackside interview after You’ve Been Had, a six-year-old son of Reward For Effort, made it five wins and a second from eight starts when coming from a handy position three-wide to win the Gecko Sports Handicap last Saturday.
“I bought this horse as a weanling and Ryder has been part of this horse’s life since he was six months old,” she said.
“He’s followed him through and he hadn’t missed one of his races. On the screen saver of his iPad is the horse. He absolutely loves him. This one is for you my little mate.”
You’ve Been Had will get a further opportunity to boost Ryder’s morale when he returns to Moonee Valley late next month.
Matthew Enright made his mark as a successful jockey in New Zealand, riding for 16 seasons from 1984-85 with 13 Group or Listed wins among his 437 victories.
He won the 1991 Gr.2 New Zealand Cup (3200m) on Carlton King and another of his highlights was the 1991 Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) on Konig, trained at Foxton by his father, Dave.
Enright later trained for a few seasons from Foxton before shifting to Australia where he continued to race ride then train.
Cranbourne Cup winner Majestical and Seymour Cup victor Tiakinui are among the successful horses Enright has trained.
Enright took to Facebook to update their many friends that Ryder is in good spirits and “fighting on like the trooper he is.”
And in a touching reminder to everyone he wrote: “Keep us in your thoughts, give your loved ones an extra kiss today remembering you never know what’s around the corner.”
A gofundme page has been set-up for Ryder. To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/fight4ryder
-NZ Racing Desk