ALMOST two years after her life was devastated by one of the worst fires to hit South Australia, popular horsewoman Claire Goble is still putting the pieces back together.
On November 25, 2015, a raging blaze ripped through Goble’s property claiming a house, sheds, gear and fencing, while leaving several horses badly burnt.
Although Goble and her partner Dennis Lyle were able to remove numerous horses before the property was under siege, the swiftness of the blaze prevented them from transferring all the animals.
In fact, while Goble was safely away on a transport run, Lyle was also caught in their home when the fire struck!
“It is a long battle, which is still going on,” Goble said. “We lost all our paddocks as well and are gradually fixing one every now and then when we can.
“We’ve still got a long way to go before the property can get back to way we had it.
“It was horrific and to this day we are still so lucky Dennis is even alive as the flames were rushing at him at 12 to 15 feet high.
“While I was transporting horses away, he was sitting in our house hoping it didn’t catch on fire.
“It was actually passing us by, then the wind changed direction and came straight at us. In a paddock down the road you could see where it got halfway through burning it and then changed direction.
“The horses winning a few races at the moment is really helping out and we are slowly putting things back together as they were.”
Two members of the team lucky to survive the ordeal are in strong positions to give Goble a huge boost when they compete at Globe Derby tonight.
Clarenden Hustler and Clarenden Valour will begin from the pole in their respective Southern Cross Finals, with Goble confident they can play roles in the finish.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way they are going or their draws,” Goble said. “Although he is a three-year-old, this is only Hustler’s first preparation, so he is doing a great job.
“Because of the fire he spent a lot of time in agistment and has had a late start to his career.
“It’s a good draw for him, but there is still the concern of how well he can cover 2230 metres.
“If they go slow he can over race and then doesn’t see out the distance strongly. Hopefully the speed will be on a bit more in the Final and he can get to the line stronger.
“After the Finals Hustler will stay in for a while as we try and win another three-year-old with him before the end of the season.
“Then he will have a short spell before we chase his Vicbred bonus next time in.”
Clarenden Valour will be looking to extract some revenge for his mother when he contest the Two-Year-Old Colts’ and Geldings’ Final.
By Courage Under Fire, the freshman is from former handy mare Clarenden Espirit, which finished second in the 2004 and 2005 Finals.
Clarenden Espirit was also forced to play the bridesmaid’s role in the 2005 Vicbred Final.
“Hopefully he can go one better than his mum,” Goble said. “She was runner-up in two Southern Cross Finals, so it would be nice if he can make it up for her
“It is a strong race and I will be thrilled if he can run a placing.
“Depending on how he comes through the Final, he may stay in work for another couple of races, including the Lordship in a couple of weeks.
“When he heads to the paddock it will be for a good, long spell and hopefully he will come back even better as a three-year-old.”
- PAUL COURTS