In the Archives: Melbourne cup win dream come true for Benalla teen strapper

By Meg Saultry


Strapping the Melbourne Cup winner in last Tuesday’s race that stopped the nation was a dream come true for one former Benalla teenager.

Growing up locally, Natasha Boucher moved to Melbourne in February to work as a strapper in the stables of Mark Kavanagh, who prepared cup winner Shocking.

And seeing the four-year-old galloper pip overseas visitor Crime Scene by a narrow margin after coming from a seemingly impossible position brought Boucher to tears.

Natasha Boucher

“I just cried, I was just so emotional,”” she said.

Boucher said she had a premonition on race day that something special would happen.

“I had a gut feeling when the race started,” Boucher said.

But the 19-year-old strapper said she did have a moment of doubt during the grueling 3200 metre race.

“Mid-way through the race I was worried,” she said.

“He was three horses wide and I didn’t think he had anything left in him.

“But at the 300 metre, I saw him coming, and head for home… and win,” a euphoric Boucher said.

“He is such a relaxed, easygoing horse and, even with the noise of the crowd, he didn’t get stirred,”

The former Benalla Pony Club rider said she received a replica Melbourne Cup trophy commemorating Shocking’s amazing win.

Coo-ee: Building mistakes

“I’ll keep it at home, in a safe, glassed box,” Boucher said.

Completing her Year 12 studies last year, the former Benalla College student said she had planned to take 2009 off as a gap year and start university next year.

“I think I’ll put uni on hold for now and see what happens with Shocking,” Boucher said.

These plans include taking Shocking to race at the Dubai World Cup meeting in March next year.

Meanwhile, Boucher was still on cloud nine, the elation numbing her badly bruised foot, caused when Shocking trod on her while parading after the cup.

“I’ll forgive him, it’s worth it,” she said.

“He’s an amazing horse, I love him to bits.”

Also in the Ensign this week in 2009:

● Benalla’s Executive Hideaway Motel won the award for best Golden Chain Motel in Victoria.

● Belinda and Tim Fraser welcomed new arrival Mary Jane on October 25.

● Bernard Briggs Kindergarten students visited the Benalla Fire Station as part of an excursion.


Year 12 VCE student Emma Mason believes the old saying “life wasn’t meant to be easy” is a fitting way to describe the 1994 VCE end-of-year exams.

Emma Mason

The fact that she had two exams on the same days, on Wednesday, Thursday and Monday, didn’t make things any easier.

“It made things pretty hard having two exams on the same day, but I suppose one good thing is that I finished on Monday when most people don’t finish until Friday,” she said.

Emma had seven exams including (2) Further Maths, (2) English, Biology, Chemistry and Physical Education.

After her last exam on Monday Emma said she was relieved.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that I have finished my VCE, but now we have to wait around until December 14 to find out our results,” she said.

Emma believes the Benalla College teachers were one reason why she managed to keep on top of all the stress and pressure during the exams.

“The teachers basically told us that we could ring them at any time during the night and they really wanted us to do as well as we could,” she said.

Emma, who would like to study Human Movement at RMIT, said she was happy with the way her exams went.

“It’s hard to tell how I went but I think I did all right,” she said.

Emma originally had her eyes set on physiotherapy, but said she would be rapt to get into human movement.

“Last year the cutoff point was 130, but there is a new system of marking this year, so I will just have to wait and cross my fingers that I get in.”

Also in the Ensign this week in 1994:

● Australian Defence Industries’ new $150 million ammunition factory in Benalla started production.

● Strong winds toppled a giant Moreton Bay fig tree in the Benalla Gardens.

● Benalla Tae Kwon Do sensation Jessica Harvey on the October Sport Star of the Month award after winning the blue belt middle weight Australian Championships.

● Benalla Demons signed triple Barooga premiership coach Glenn Carroll for the upcoming season.


Bill Sammon, who won the senior best and fairest, and Trevor Harding the reserve XVIII best and fairest, of the Benalla Football Club for 1969, share last week's Ensign-Heinz weekly award.

Bill and Trevor receive a gift hamper, together with a basket, Bill for his wife, Trevor for his mother, from the co-sponsor the Heinz Co.

Equal in status, as far as weekly awards are concerned, both will also become eligible for participation in the Sportsman of the year award for 1969.

The winner will be announced at a gala function at the Chiswell Pavilion on Friday, February 6.

Bill, who was recruited by the Demons in 1965 from Thoona in the BDFL, has played 85 games with the Benalla first 18.

He is one of a select band of players who has never appeared in the reserves.

This year he appeared in 17 games, missing the second game only, because of injury.

He has played in many positions with distinction. In the season just completed he was seen to advantage ruck-roving and on the half-forward flank.

Before playing with Thoona, he was a star at Assumption College, Kilmore.

A serious knee-injury almost brought his football to an abrupt conclusion a few years ago.

At about the same time several VFL clubs sought his services.

In the summer months Bill is a keen cricketer. He plays for Bungeet and occupies the position of secretary of the Lake Rowan Cricket Association.

Very popular on and off the field, Bill is held in high esteem within the BFC. Next season should see him join the ranks of centurions and gain his life membership of the club.

Also in the Ensign this week in 1969:

* Benalla Festival Queen Lynette Horsburgh presented Brian Gould with an award for winning the "Sun Tour" (pictured).

* A Violet Town man was sentenced to four weeks in Gaol for acts of violence.

* The Masked ball was due to bring several opera stars to Benalla.

* Benalla councillors approved a donation to the Commonwealth Games.

* More than 2000 people attended a clearing sale just outside Benalla.

* Benalla Rotarians held a "Rural Urban Night".