Southern Cross University Sport and Exercise Science student and elite athlete Aaron Stubbs has made history as one of the few people to have raced a horse – and won.
Aaron made his historic win against the racehorse Bonboneire Lady this week at the XXXX Gold Grafton Racing Carnival’s WHK Ramornie Handicap Day, one of country racing’s biggest race meetings.
On a heavy track he said was “full of holes and covered in long grass”, Aaron ran the 115 metres in 12.4 seconds under handicap conditions. The horse ran the distance in 13.1 seconds.
Aaron, 18, from Lismore, won the $40,000 Stawell Gift sprint race earlier this year and hopes to represent Australia at the 2010 Olympic Games in London.
Aaron said he believes the late Kevin Irvine – the Australian rugby league great and one of the game’s fastest wingers who himself was a record-breaking professional sprinter – was the last person to race against a racehorse in Australia.
Irvine lost the race which was against a racehorse named Gili, at the Kembla Grange racecourse in Wollongong back in 1963.
“I was pretty happy with the time I ran and to win one back for the human race,” Aaron said.
“The crowd was right behind me cheering and I could hear my dad yelling throughout the race ‘Go boy go! Go! Go! Go!’. I always hear dad cheering me on through all of my races. He and mum are my greatest supporters.
“I was just focused on the finishing line and not the horse. As soon as you can hear the horse, the race is over.
“After the race I was called on to do a lap of honour, so I was pretty exhausted at the end of it all.”
This has been a great year for the Aaron. Prior to posting one of the most impressive victories in the history of the Stawell Gift, he was a star of the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in West Australia where he represented Queensland’s Kurrawa club.
He scorched the sand to win both the Under-19 and Open Beach Sprints and anchored Kurrawa to victories in the Under 19 and Open Beach Relays.
He has kept up to the mark by competing in recent Queensland track and field meets and has recently clocked 10.73 seconds for the 100m, qualifying him for next year’s National Track and Field Championships and putting him well in sight of being chosen for Australia’s 2010 Olympic team.
“And in the meantime, it is back to hitting the books for my university studies,” he said.
PICTURE: Elite athlete Aaron Stubbs charges for the finish line, well in front of his racehorse rival, Bonboneire Lady, for the historic man versus thoroughbred match. Photo courtesy of Grafton Daily Examiner.