New-found fame for Godfrey

Written By miftah nugraha on Kamis, 28 Maret 2013 | 19.55

THE death-defying tale of a Tasmanian horse rescued from a watery hole has captured the heart of the nation.

Erica and David Norgrove, the owners of 20-year-old retired harness racing horse Flying Godfrey, today said he has bounced back from his recent ordeal but still needed a good bath.

The Mercury revealed his amazing tale of survival today and has since fielded calls from across Australia.

He was stuck in the 4m-deep pit -- most likely a long-forgotten well -- for about five hours on the couple's property in Tasmania's Southern Midlands.

Incredibly, Godfrey has no injuries to show for his underground adventure but he did emerge caked in mud.

The rescue, Mrs Norgrove said, would not have been possible without the help of neighbours John, Maria and Anthony Weeding and friend Isabel Marshal.

"We are so grateful to the Weeding family. Without them, Godfrey would not be alive," she said.

"Since the time we lifted Godfrey out of the hole, he hasn't looked back.

"Once out of the hole we rolled him into a sit position. He sat for about five minutes before he decided to stand up.

"He was a little wobbly, but Godfrey stood up of his own accord. He is a fighter."

If he had fallen head rather than rear first, Mrs Norgrove said, he certainly would not have survived.

He was quickly wrapped in rugs to warm up because he was shivering.

"We still have the rugs on and he is muddy still because we didn't want to stress any further by washing him," she said.

"I have a beautiful new rug for him when he is ready."

The Norgroves moved to their property Eldergrove about three years ago, with the view of restoring the stately home built in the mid-1840s.

"We knew of two wells on the property, which are fenced and/or covered for safety," Mrs Norgrove said.

The one Godfrey fell, however, was an unknown quantity.

"I have spoken to two of the previous owners since and neither of them knew of its existence," she said.

"This well must have been covered over and has not been seen for more than 100 years."

In his heyday, Flying Godfrey didn't exactly set the track on fire.

He had five starts between 1995 and 1997 and most harness-racing participants probably wouldn't even remember him.

He finished his racing career with four lasts and one second last.

But his latest venture may well ensure that his name is never forgotten.

For the time being, he seems almost as popular as Black Caviar.

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