Gee String, a horse that has had to overcome more problems than most, repaid his connections for their perseverance with a return to the winner’s stall at last Saturday’s Wanganui meeting.
The six-year-old Niagara gelding brought up the fourth win of his career with a decisive 1-3/4 length victory in a $40,000 Rating 75 race over 1200m, his first success since he took out a Rating 65 race over the same distance at Otaki back in February.
Gee String is owned by Napier accountant Paddy Murphy and his wife Gill Bradshaw-Murphy and they bred him out of the Exploding Prospect mare Gee Baby, who was the winner of five races.
The couple have leased out racing shares in Gee String to some of their family members as well as a group set up by the horse’s Woodville trainer Shane Brown.
Paddy Murphy’s sister Glenys, who also lives in Napier, has a racing share along with Murphy’s son Paul, who lives in Perth.
Gill’s mother, Barbara Caryl also has a racing share as well as her daughter Vicki Spellar and they also live in Napier.
Although he is now a six-year-old, Gee String has been lightly raced and last Saturday’s win came at only his 21st start.
“He deserved to win another one as he is a horse that has had that many problems,” Paddy Murphy said this week.
“He was a nervous horse as a youngster and also had hoof problems early on,” Murphy added.
“We got him over that and then he started rearing up in the stalls when the gates opened and so now he races in a brow-band which seems to help.”
Gee String looked close to another win when finishing a close second, beaten a half-head, behind the talented three-year-old Duncan Creek over 1200m on his home track on September 21.
However he then turned in an uncharacteristic poor performance when a distant last of seven runners over 1200m at Hastings on September 30 but was found to have suffered from cardiac arrhythmia.
Gee String bounced back from that run with a good third over 1000m at Tauherenikau on November 12 which was his final lead up race before Wanganui last Saturday.
“He’s been a pretty consistent horse really as from 21 starts he has now had four wins, five seconds and a third and he’s weighed in most times,” Murphy said.
“We’ve worked out that if he goes into the barrier early he tends to rear up when the gates open so now the starter puts him in last.”
Gee String jumped away well for jockey Lisa Allpress last Saturday and settled sixth in the early stages before moving up to third behind the tearaway pacemakers Amend and Charmario approaching the home turn.
The two leaders dropped away quickly once in the home straight which left Gee String clear in front. He was a sitting duck to be run down but kept up a strong gallop to the line to comfortably stave off the opposition.
Murphy said he is unsure where Gee String will start next saying the horse has now reached open class.
“He’s an out and out sprinter so Shane (Brown) will probably try and find another 1200m race for him,” Murphy added.
Awards night after the races
This year’s annual Hawke’s Bay/Poverty Bay Thoroughbred Racing, Breeders, Owners and Trainers Awards will be held in conjunction with a Christmas dinner for members and guests of Hawke’s Bay Racing.
The awards function, sponsored by Bramwell Bate Lawyers and Vets One, will again be held in the Cheval Room at the Hastings racecourse and will follow on from the conclusion of the Hawke’s Bay twilight Christmas at the Races race meeting at Hastings that day.
A highlight of the evening will be an address by special guest speaker Joe Schmidt, this year’s assistant All Black rugby coach, former Ireland rugby coach and a racing enthusiast. Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be Andre Neil.
Dinner will consist of a buffet meal and dessert plus a beverage package. There will be a cash bar for purchases of spirits.
Tickets are available at $99 per person from hawkesbayracing.co.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The award categories for the 2022-23 racing season are:
- Chouxmaani Investments Three-year-old of the Year (points)
- Thoroughbred Breeder of the Year (wins)
- Thoroughbred Breeder of the Year (points)
- Thoroughbred Breeder of the Year by NZ-bred progeny (points)
- Broodmare of the Year
- Group & Listed winners
- Owner of the Year (points)
- Trainer of the Year (wins)
- Trainer of the Year (strike-rate)
- HBPB Trained Horse of the Year (stakemoney)
- HBPB Owned Horse of the Year (black type performances)
Jimmysstar reaches bigger heights
Former Hastings-trained Jimmysstar made it two wins from two Australian starts with another highly impressive performance at last Saturday’s Cranbourne meeting in Victoria.
The four-year-old Per Incanto gelding scored a runaway 2-1/4 length victory in a $190,000 Class 3 race over 1500m, which followed a 1-3/4 length win in a Rating 70 race over 1300m at Bendigo on November 1.
Jimmysstar started out in the Hastings stable of Guy Lowry who produced him for a second and a dominant win on the opening day of the Hawke’s Bay Spring carnival in September.
A majority share in the gelding was then sold into Australian ownership, headed by Ozzie Kheir and John O’Neill, and he was transferred to the stable of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace.
The horse’s co-breeders and former owners Sam and Catriona Williams, from Little Avondale Stud, have retained a share.
Drawn barrier eight in a nine-horse field, Jimmysstar jumped quickly from the barrier last Saturday and settled just behind the leaders, three-wide but with cover.
Rider Craig Williams hooked him out wider into clear air coming up to the home turn, and Jimmysstar swooped around to stake his claim.
After taking a few strides to balance up and build momentum, Jimmysstar quickly hit top gear and accelerated clear of the opposition.
“He’s got good ability, but is still very, very raw,” Williams said.
He got a bit wobbly under pressure coming around the turn, but in the end, he was very dominant. He’s a horse with a lot of upside and is definitely one to stick with.”
Jimmysstar is by Little Avondale’s headline stallion Per Incanto out of the Zed mare Anniesstar, who was the winner of five races including the Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m).
Guy Lowry is now preparing a three-year-old half-sister to Jimmysstar, by Time Test, who is likely to have a jumpout at Waipukurau early next week.
Swayzee chasing another big prize
New Zealand Trotting Cup hero Swayzee, part-owned by the Hastings pair of Lester Drake and Neville Jackson, is now back in Australia where he is contesting this year’s Inter Dominion Championships in Brisbane.
The first heats in the series were staged at the Albion Park track last night, with the next two rounds on December 5 and December 9 and the Final on December 16.
Swayzee confirmed his emerging greatness by coming across from his New South Wales base to Christchurch to become only the third Aussie-trained pacer to win the famous New Zealand Cup, the others being My Lightning Blue in 1987 and Arden Rooney in 2015.
The five-year-old gelding downed the New Zealand favourite Akuta in the $750,000 Addington feature over 3200m on November 14, scoring by 2-1/2 lengths.
It was the horse’s 18th win from 45 starts and he is now unbeaten in nine starts for trainer Jason Grimson.
Drake and Jackson share in the ownership of Swayzee with Grimson and New South Wales businessman Mike Boots.
Uncertainty surrounded Swayzee’s Inter Dominion campaign when Grimson scratched him from the Group 1 NZ Free-For-All three days after his Cup win but the trainer was happy with the horse’s condition following an arduous trip.
Swayzee was flown from Christchurch to Auckland, then had another flight from Auckland to Sydney before facing a road trip from Sydney to Brisbane.
“Jase (Grimson) has been really happy with him since he’s been back home,” the horse’s regular driver Cam Hart said.
Grimson, a revelation in Australian training ranks, is trying to become the first trainer to win three successive Inter Dominion finals with different pacers.
He burst onto the scene at his home track when rank outsider Boncel Benjamin won the 2021 Sydney final on protest, then won the Melbourne final last year with I Cast No Shadow.
This year’s Interdominion Pacing Championship sets up a rematch between Australia’s two best pacers after Swayzee upstaged his younger half-brother, Queensland sensation Leap To Fame, in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 22.
It was Leap To Fame’s first defeat of the year and came in dramatic circumstances when he copped a flat tyre in the last lap, which eventually wrapped around the wheel and seized it in the home straight.
Leap To Fame is the $2 pre-post favourite for the December 16 final, ahead of Swayzee at $3.80.
More highlights for Ormsby
Waipukurau racehorse owner Michael Ormsby has celebrated more black-type victories in the past couple of weeks.
Ormsby is a shareholder in several Te Akau syndicates managed by Karen Fenton-Ellis and has enjoyed plenty of success in recent years.
He is a member of the Te Akau In Vogue Syndicate which owns Fashion Shoot, winner of the Group 3 $120,000 Canterbury Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton on November 15. He also has shares in the Te Akau Campionessa Syndicate that owns Campionessa, winner of last Saturday’s Group 2 $225,000 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe.
Adding to his great fortnight another horse Ormsby has a share in, Perfect Scenario, scored a fresh up win in a $75,000 open sprint over 1400m at Riccarton on November 18.