A CLOSE finish was an understatement for Wondai jockey Jason Missen after he crossed the line at the Burrandowan races on Tropical Heatwave.
In the third race of the day, Missen felt the pressure from the large crowds behind the fence line, metres away from the edge of the track.
As they set off in the 1000m race Missen got Tropical Heatwave into a good position as they rounded the final bend into the home straight.
With the lead, he thought victory was his.
But Come On Lu Lu, ridden by Melody O'Brien, caught up just as they crossed the finish line.
"It was a really close finish. I thought it was a dead heat," Missen said.
But the judges called Come On Lu Lu had won the race, which stirred Missen.
"I wanted to fight and protest," he said.
"Sometimes decisions go against you, but sometimes they go for."
The race was reviewed on screen and, after minutes of deliberation, the results were confirmed with O'Brien first and Missen second.
"It was decided we were going to leave it with the judges' decision," Missen said.
This edge-of-seat finish was just a part of the parcel for Missen, who returned to the sport this year.
"I had 13 years off because I struggled to ride on a low weight," he said.
"Often you have to get down to below 54kg."
The stresses on his body proved too much with frantic measures of special diets and sauna sessions before races to scrape off any excess weight.
But a more relaxed limit on jockey weight allowed him to get back into the sport after he moved to Wondai 18 months ago.
Since then he has created a stir at the Wondai races, where he rode the winner Blackmore Vale last month.
But the atmosphere at Burrandowan gripped Missen, who had only raced there twice before.
"I just love the crowd; it's what racing is all about," he said.
"It pumps us all up; we get jeered from behind the fence."
Jockey wearing his career on his skin
SUNSHINE Coast jockey Damion McIntosh has paid respect to his career by inking elaborate tattoos on his skin.
"I've got about 18 tattoos all over me," he said.
"Everything I do in my life I put on my body."
Life as a jockey has taken McIntosh from the Sunshine Coast overseas to race in some of the world's most prestigious meets in South Korea, Mauritius and New Caledonia.
"South Korea is a multi-million dollar scene," he said.
"I got asked to work for the KRI - Korean Racing Industry - to break in horses."
With this such a big part of his life he has several tattoos dedicated his time overseas and horse racing.
With horse-shoes, Korean sayings and a few of his own designs, McIntosh does stand out in the field.
"I got them (the horse tattoos) when I was in my apprenticeship when I was 16," McIntosh said.
"Certain ones did hurt. I've got a horse on my side. It took three hours, and I sat there gritting my teeth."
But the pain is all worth it, he said, as it reminded him of the years of dedication put into the sport.
"I started as a jockey when I was 12; I'm 35 now," he said.
McIntosh managed one win and a second as his best finish at the weekend.
Local track knowledge delivers results
MORE than three decades spent in the racing industry gave Burrandowan trainer Tom Moloney an edge but not enough to win.
With only two horses entered he was feeling uncertain how they would go against the hundreds of other entrants.
His hours of work were put to the test in the first race as his 11-year-old bay, Famechon Baroness - ridden by Alannah Badger - made its way around the track in the first race of the day.
Despite Badger's best efforts, Famechon Baroness finished sixth.
But he did have better success in the fourth race with his second horse Yamanners just out from a spell. He gambled on the 1200m race with jockey Shannon Apthorpe, who had never ridden Yamanners before, to finish third.
Moloney followed his father's footsteps into the world of racehorse training.
"My father, Mick Moloney, always had horses," he said. "He used to be quite successful.
"(And now) I've been doing it for 30 years."
His father taught him to "stay where they're good enough".
With this helpful tip Moloney has had success across the state travelling within four hours of his local track.
Race one >> 1st Arma De Fuego, ridden by Nathan Evans Race two >> 1st Dr House, ridden by Hannah Phillips Race three >> 1st Come On Lu Lu, ridden by Melody O'Brien Race four >> 1st Take No Notice, ridden by Damion McIntosh Race five >> 1st Moss Tank, ridden by Shaun Bayliss Race six >> 1st Writtenintherain, ridden by Danielle Daniel Race seven >> 1st Red Beretta, ridden by Lyall Appo
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