From teenage dag to Boss of the Cup
As Glen Boss attempts to make history at Flemington in the Melbourne Cup, his former master Kaye Tinsley still admires how the kid who walked into his stable as a poorly dressed raw teenager with stars in his eyes went on to become the superstar rider he remains today.
Boss rides Sir Dragonet in the Cup and a win would put him on level footing with Harry White and Bobby Lewis as the most successful jockey in the Cup's history, having won three times on Makybe Diva from 2003-05.
The Cup sits alongside a cavalcade of big race wins, which comprise 92 Group 1s here and abroad, as well as Australia's newest and richest races, The Everest and Golden Eagle.
He has become one of Queensland's greatest ever sportsmen in a career now spanning more than 30 years.
But Boss started his career in country Queensland before transferring his indentures to Tinsley on the Gold Coast in the late 1980s.
He established himself in the top three or four riders in Queensland before setting his sights on the big smoke, breaking through for his first Group 1 win on Telesto in the 1994 Chipping Norton Stakes.
"I couldn't speak more highly of him. What he's achieved, he's achieved himself," Tinsley said.
"Sometimes you don't have to be on the best horse, it's what you do for that horse and that's what's happened to Glen. He can make things happen.
"And he was prepared to work at it. I tell you.
"He would be the hardest worker I've ever had. He never stopped."
But oddly enough, riding feats aren't the first thing that leaps out in Tinsley's memory when he reminisces about his star graduate.
It's his first day at the races after joining the stable.
"His dress. How he was dressed to go to the races. My wife (Lorraine) pulled him up," Tinsley said. "She wouldn't let him go out the door looking that way. Our apprentices had to be well dressed.
"She ended up taking him shopping, buying all the appropriate gear. It's funny, because right to this day, he's the flashiest dresser of them all."
Lorraine takes up the story.
"He thought he was going to a disco I think, instead of the races," she said.
"He became a very dapper dresser after that.
"He was always a man on a mission. He knew what he wanted and where he was heading. He worked very, very hard for it."
Tinsley, 78, saddled his last runner in 2007 and is now happily enjoying retirement on the Gold Coast.
He and Lorraine, or 'Chic' as she is known, have watched proudly as the Boss career played out in such spectacular fashion.
Boss lived with the couple during his apprenticeship and it was clear early on he had the dedication needed to make it to the top.
"He was pretty raw, but you could see the talent early on and he always did things properly. Nothing was ever half-hearted," Kaye said.
"If you sent him out to dig a ditch, you could hear the oomph he was putting into it. He always put his whole heart into everything he did."
Success south of the border took perseverance though.
"He was always ahead of himself all the time. He knew where he was going and to his credit, he got there," Tinsley said.
"But the first time he went to Sydney to ride, nothing went right for him.
"He came back to Queensland, then went back to Sydney again. He probably went back three times.
"He said 'what am I doing wrong?' I said 'you're trying too hard.' When you try too hard you get into all sorts of trouble. I said it will happen for you and it will come.
"He started to relax and I think it was the third time he went back, he started to make it."
Grand-slam winning jockey Chris Munce was an apprentice in Brisbane the same time as Boss and got the better of him when Jezabeel fought back to beat Boss' Champagne in the 1998 Melbourne Cup.
"We joke about it now that I taught him how to win one," Munce said.
Like Tinsley, Munce is not surprised Boss reached the top of the tree.
"Glen was an ambitious, confident rider. He kept on improving, which is what jockeys have to do," he said.
"Some can be good at a young age and not improve, but Glen was the sort of rider who just kept getting better.
"He stuck his neck out and backed himself when he went to Sydney.
"Once he had his confidence going, he was up and away."
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Originally published as From teenage dag to Boss of the Cup