Former jockey and SKY Racing presenter Bernadette Cooper rode winners for Darryl in her earliest days in the saddle.
She remembers as a 17-year-old apprentice, just granted her metropolitan licence, being nervous to take a ride for a trainer with as much respect and success as Darryl had built up over the years.
As a young anxious Cooper walked up to Darryl in the mounting yard pre-race, the experienced horseman made the emerging rider feel at ease with just how cool, calm, and collected he was.
She described him as warm and also with the ability to have a joke with a sharp sense of humour.
“It was a big deal to ride for somebody like Darryl Gollan because he was so well respected,” Cooper said.
“He was one of the big guns as a trainer and was respected by the whole racing fraternity.
“What I loved about riding for Darryl was that he was a realist, he never got too carried away with the excitement of a win and the same when there was a poor ride because of circumstances in the race.
“He was a marvellous horseman and was well before time in terms of supporting women riders, we are talking 30 years ago, and women riders were still finding their way.”
While Darryl battled illness for long periods of his life before his passing, Cooper remembers how he humbly took pride and pleasure in all of Tony’s record-breaking achievements as a trainer over the last decade or so.
Tony’s feats and standing in the racing industry within Australia is Darryl’s legacy, Cooper says.
“He was such a people person, his owners adored him,” the former rider said.
‘Darryl gave Tony a leg up, but Tony has gone on with it himself.”
Tony lives by the motto “the harder the work, the luckier you get” – which Darryl passed on to him many a year ago.
“Everything I know, I learnt off dad,” Gollan said.
“Particularly the horsemanship side of things, he was a terrific horseman, he grew up basically on horseback on the Western Downs on a dairy farm.
“He was on horseback his whole life and I learnt a lot about the animal from my father.
“With my father being in pubs, I learnt a lot from him about how to treat people and look after people, particularly your staff, who are loyal to you.
“He was always a father figure to a lot of people who worked for him at different times, he treated people and horses kindly, and I learnt so much from him.”
His old man was a champion two-year-old trainer in Toowoomba.
Now known as the Pat O’Shea Plate, Darryl prepared the winner on eight different occasions dating back to 1988, including one year when he trained the first three past the post.
“I am pretty sure he did not teach me everything he knows, particularly with his horsemanship and his skill to identify young horses and get them ready to win straight away,” Tony laughed.
“I have barely been able to train a two-year-old winner all year, I am sure he would want to give me a kick in the bum about that.”