West Australian jockey Paul Harvey rose from humble beginnings to be one of Australia's leading jockeys.
His success in the saddle earned him the nickname of 'The Pontiff' by punters who follow his mounts closely. Harvey has won almost all the major races in West Australia, and occasionally hopping over to the east to clinch a few Group 1 titles as well.
Many call Paul Harvey the undisputed leader of the Perth congregation of jockeys with 12 jockey premiership titles to his credit since 1995. Harvey started his career as an apprentice in Melbourne, but the West Australian jockey chose to continue riding on his home turf with astounding success.
Born in Midland in 1970, Paul Harvey began riding at a young age, before moving on as an apprentice to his uncle, Bob Harvey, the age of 16. Among his most notable victories early on were the 1998 Railway Stakes, Goodwood Handicap, and WATC Derby.
He also won the Kingston Town Classic four times in 2000, 2001, 2004, and 2007, the Railway Stakes in 2001 and 2004, the 2005 WATC Derby, the 2002 Australian Cup and the 2004 Victoria Derby.
Paul Harvey 's dominance of the West Australian racing track earned him the nickname of 'The Pontiff' by punters. He also has several Group 1 winners in the eastern states which included the VRC Derby astride Plastered, the SA Oaks on Irish Darling, and the Goodwood Handicap on Spectrum. In the Australian Cup he rode Old Comrade to victory.
Some of his recent accomplishments have been the 2007 WA Guineas, while 2009 produced a number of victories including the Belmont Sprint, Sires Produce Stakes, the Gold Pinjarra Cup and the Supremacy Stakes. Earlier in 2005 he won the Asian Beau Stakes on Wild Target.
A fractured left leg left Paul Harvey out of contention for two months in 2009, while he was at the top with 14 Group 1 wins in the season, missing the Magic Millions carnival. Four of these wins came from the eastern states, including two at Flemington.
The injury occurred when he fell of his mount during track work, forcing him out of the upcoming Ascot meeting as well. During the 1996-97 season, Paul Harvey broke the record set by Rod Kemp for most city winners, ending the season with 114 winners. In the same season, he also scored the most victories by an Australian jockey, with 165 wins.
On the contrary, Paul Harvey has a modest start to his career with only two wins in the 1986-87 and eight city wins over the first three seasons. Despite all his triumphs, the champion jockey stays shy of the spotlight, keeping his emotions to himself even after a victory.
For the most part, Paul Harvey remains choosy about his mounts, preferring to drop a race if he feels the horse isn't capable of doing well. In just a month of the reopening of Ascot in October 2010, Paul Harvey had already clinched 16 city winners from just 32 rides, leading the race for his 13 th premiership title with a total of 26 winners for the season.
However, he went on to finish the season with 32 wins, 16 second places, and 8 third spots from 118 starts, behind William Pike. For many trainers, Paul Harvey is considered the best jockey in modern times.
Dale Verhagen has been Harvey 's manager for over 16 years, to whom the jockey gives a lot of credit for his success, which also includes his wife Janelle.
With a career still going strong, Paul Harvey is all set to blaze the track once again in 2011 with an impressive career record of 400 wins from 1664 starts, with 260 second places, and 180 third places to his credit.
Verhagen believes this could be a different story in the year to come. 'The Pontiff' continues his social duties as an Ambassador for 'Celebs Who Say No' campaign by Bravehearts, representing the WAJA in a campaign against child sexual abuse.