Former rodeo rider Fry bullish about Sofin

SYDNEY Aug 24 2016

A bull rider from Bowraville is confident one of the two horses he trains can match it with racing's heavyweights.

Bush trainer Shannon Fry is getting ready to make the 5-1/2-hour trip with Sofin for the Listed Premier's Cup at Rosehill on Saturday.

The northern NSW town's most famous sporting export is South Sydney rugby league star Greg Inglis.

It will be western Sydney where Sofin will try to give the town with a population of a little more than 1000 further glory.

Fry, who has been training for about 10 years, was on the verge of retirement after losing his training facilities at Bowraville racecourse.

But Sofin convinced him to continue.

"I was not far off hanging the reins up and I said to the owner 'this little girl is showing a little bit of ability - let's just stick it out and see how she goes'," Fry said.

Persistence has paid off with Sofin - $6000 at a Patinack Farm dispersal sale - earning more than $125,000 for owner Byron Fegan.

While on the rodeo circuit riding bulls and horses, Fry rode trackwork for local trainers to pay his competition entrance fees.

"Ten years ago I started getting back into the trackwork and fell in love with a couple of young horses I was riding work for and the rest is history," he said.

Fry said his rodeo experience made him concentrate on horses' mental focus in racing.

"Rodeo riding is a high adrenaline sport for people and racing is a high adrenaline sport for horses," he said.

Sofin was Fry's first city winner during a midweek meeting at Warwick Farm almost two years ago.

She was his first Saturday metropolitan runner when a creditable fourth at Rosehill on August 13.

He is bullish about the chances of knocking off horses trained by Chris Waller, John O'Shea and James Cummings to give him his biggest win.

"Every trainer and owner is quite confident or you don't put them in the races," Fry said.

"But provided we get her in one piece we're just happy to go down - it's a big eye-opener down there for a fella like me."

Fry, who is also Sofin's track rider, farrier and strapper, says the size of his stable makes him cherish any success.

"They're no world-beaters but they're your world-beaters," Fry said.

The trainer says Sofin lives in the stables 20 metres from his house and he loves her to death.

"You find yourself sometimes at 10pm at night wandering down to give them a pat," Fry said.

"They're more like my pets than anything."

Matt Coughlan - AAP

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