Five Cox Plates on display at Goondiwindi

Five Cox Plates on display at Goondiwindi


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Phillip Bate analyses news from the Queensland racing scene.

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FIVE Cox Plates were on display recently at Goondiwindi – four won in succession by world champion Winx and the other by home-town hero – the Goondiwindi Grey Gunsynd.

The special occasion occurred when Winx senior co-owner Peter Tighe and wife Patty were guests of the Goondiwindi Race Club at a special function at the local racecourse – Gunsynd Park – on Friday, November 30.

There’s an amazing link between Winx and Gunsynd who both won Cox Plates, Doncasters and Epsoms. Winx is part-owned by Richard Treweeke while Gunsynd was part-owned by Goondiwindi grazier Germaine ‘Winks’ McMicking whose wife Jean Treweeke has a family connection with Richard Treweeke. Coincidently, Richard Treweeke was responsible for submitting the name Winx probably not realising that a distant relative was married to a man nick-named ‘Winks’! 

‘Winks’ McMicking is forever linked with the iconic ‘Goondiwindi Grey’ Gunsynd as it was ‘Winks’ who liked the pedigree of the Sunset Hue/Woodie Wonder colt and convinced three others – Bill Bishop, George Pippos and Jim Coorey – to buy the yearling colt for $1300 in Brisbane. All-up Gunsynd won 29 races which earned him entry into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame and at the time of his retirement in 1973 Gunsynd was Australia’s record prize money earner at $280,455.

Some 45 years later, Winx is currently co-champion world’s best horse with 29 consecutive wins (22 at Group 1 level) and earnings of more than $22.9 million – a remarkable return on the $230,000 she cost owners Peter Tighe, Richard Treweeke and Debbie Kepitis at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Peter and Patty Tighe with Phil Percival (centre) at Gunysnd Museum, Goondiwindi.

Peter and Patty Tighe with Phil Percival (centre) at Gunysnd Museum, Goondiwindi.

Along with the four Cox Plates, Peter Tighe brought a plethora of Winx memorabilia including books and caps for sale with proceeds donated to the Jockeys’ Benevolent Fund.

Club president Geoff Makim was ecstatic after the night claiming it to be one of the best presentations the club had hosted. “We had Peter Moody and the Black Caviar story last year and during the year we had the Melbourne Cup visit. Both were great nights but what other town could boast having five Cox Plates in the one town on one night. The four that Winx won and of course our very own Gunsynd trophy on display in the Gunsynd Museum cabinet,” he said.

During an interview, Peter explained his fascination with grey horses after racing what Peter referred to as his own version of Gunsynd – Make Mine Magic, a grey gelding trained by Alan Bailey. MC Graeme Scheu quipped “Then you have certainly come to the right town if you like greys!”

Earlier in the day Peter and Patty were given a fully guided tour of the Gunsynd Museum by historian Phil Percival.

“The town should be proud of the job they have done in preserving the memories of the great grey horse Gunsynd,” Peter said. “Not many towns can boast a champion and story like that and certainly can’t boast a museum like the one I saw today. I would like to thank Phil Percival for taking the time to show us through,” he said.

Winx world's most popular horse

CHAMPION Australian mare Winx has been voted the winner of the 2018 Secretariat Vox Populi Award in a global online poll, reports Blood Horse.

The brainchild of Secretariat's owner, Penny Chenery, the award recognises the horse whose popularity and racing excellence resonated best with the general public and increased recognition of Thoroughbred racing worldwide.

Winx, who extended her winning streak to 29 when claiming an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate in the spring, was the top choice among US voters as well as international fans from a record 60 countries. The Chris Waller-trained mare beat an outstanding field that included Triple Crown winner Justify, dual Arc winner Enable, and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Accelerate.

"Racing certainly offered many historical and heart-warming stories in 2018," said Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery. "And, once again, the 'voice of the people' spoke very clearly. The fact that both the American public and voters abroad were not limited by international borders is a wonderful testament to the growth of the award and the winner's global appeal. Winx represents everything Mom envisioned when she created this award and reaffirms her notion that a beloved horse will captivate fans and draw interest to the sport no matter where they race," she said.

‘Better’ results in Doomben double

THE ‘boom’ times at Doomben on Saturday, December 16 last year have been superseded by ‘better’ results at the equivalent meeting last Saturday, December 15. Either way it was fantastic news for the Queensland breeding industry courtesy of home-based sires Spirit Of Boom and Better Than Ready.

Last year first season sire Spirit Of Boom triumphed when son Ef Troop and daughter Outback Barbie scored the Listed black type double – the Phelan Ready Stakes for 2YO colts and geldings and the Callaway Gal Stakes for 2YO fillies. This year it was the turn of Better Than Ready to replicate the double with The Odyssey winning the Phelan Ready and Better Reflection winning the Callaway Gal.

Home-bred Eureka product, Spirit Of Boom ended last season with 19 winners of which five won black type. Although bred in NSW, Better Than Ready was trained in Brisbane before being syndicated to stand at Lyndhurst Stud, Warwick, where he served books of more than 130 mares in each of his first three seasons and is expected to cover around 230 mares this season.

Syndicate manager Richard Foster – who runs a boutique stud at Yarramalong, Kalbar – said Better Than Ready has already sired six winners in Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Rockhampton from just 16 starters. “This is very gratifying considering around half of his first crop are still to be named,” he said.

A son of USA Group 1 winner More Than Ready (also sire of Golden Slipper winner Phelan Ready), Better Than Ready was pin-hooked for $120,000 at the 2010 Magic Millions weanling sale then resold for $140,000 at the 2011 Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale. He was then entrusted to Brisbane trainer Kelly Schweida who prepared him for eight wins and three placings from just 16 starts. Four of the wins were at Listed level in Sydney and Brisbane while he placed third in the Group 1 BTC Cup at Doomben and fifth in both the VRC Newmarket and Doomben Ten Thousand.     

Having acquired elite success with Better Than Ready, Schweida took great delight in preparing The Odyssey to be both his sire’s first individual winner on Saturday, October 20 and first black type winner in the Phelan Ready. The colt is owned by a group of women, including Schweida's wife Vera, which makes him eligible for the Millions $500,000 Women's Bonus. A $30,000 purchase at the 2018 Magic Millions yearling sale on the Gold Coast, The Odyssey is from the lightly raced Snitzel mare Jessica’s Hope. Unfortunately for long-term Darling Downs breeders Tony and Ruth Thomas, the 9YO mare died in January this year in foal to Widden-based stallion Star Turn.  

Ready to buy yearling

ROCKHAMPTON trainer John Wiggington went to Magic Millions in March specifically to buy a Better Than Ready yearling.

Racing Queensland webews reports Wigginton usually has around six to eight horses in work – mostly tried horses – but really wanted to buy a young horse.

He found a filly bred by Better Than Ready syndicate manager Richard Foster, Yarramalong Stud, Kalbar that ticked all his boxes – right sire, strong physique and bargain price at $20,000.

From the unraced Canny Lad mare Miraposa – making her a half-sister to three winners – the filly was named Better Reflection and demonstrated her potential with a six lengths win in 1050m 2YO maiden at Rockhampton in early November having earlier won an 900m trial by five lengths. The dominant win was all the incentive her trainer and co-owners needed to target the Listed Callaway Gal Stakes at Doomben in preparation for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic in January next year.

While many of the filly’s connections are first-time owners, veteran country jockey Nigel Seymour, who’s ridden the filly throughout, ticked another box in a stellar career. “For all the horses I’ve ridden in Queensland this is my first winner in Brisbane,” Seymour said.

Boom Group 3 success in New Zealand

QUEENSLAND-bred 3YO gelding Spirits Aubeer has become Spirit Of Boom’s first international black type success by winning the Group 3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Auckland’s Ellerslie racetrack in New Zealand on Saturday, December 8.

Aushorse webnews reports the 3YO did little to impress in his only two starts last season, but resumed with a comfortable win in September, another win in October, a third in November and now a Group win.

Trained by Nigel Tiley, Spirits Aubeer becomes the seventh individual stakes winner for second season sire, Spirit of Boom, and is about as ‘Queensland’ as you can get. Bred by Eureka Stud, Cambooya, from its winning Iglesia mare, Friendly Glow, Spirits Aubeer is related to Group 1 Metropolitan winner The Verminator and multiple stakes winner Liberty’s Gem.

Also bred by Eureka Stud, Friendly Glow has produced a full brother to Spirits Aubeer which will be offered at the 2019 Inglis Sydney Classic Yearling Sale, while the mare is currently in foal to Aquis Farm’s first season sire, Jukebox.

Spirits Aubeer was sold as a yearling in New Zealand for $55,000 as a means to ‘spread the brand’ according to Eureka Stud’s Scott McAlpine.

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