Con­fi­dence re­mains key for Ginger­nuts

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - DEN­NIS RYAN

Less than two months ago Ginger­nuts was a vir­tu­ally un­heard of mem­ber of Mata­mata’s largest train­ing op­er­a­tion.

Now he’s be­ing lauded as the star of the New Zealand three­year-old stay­ing crop and after adding Satur­day’s Rose­hill Guineas in Syd­ney, he’s chal­leng­ing Aus­tralia’s best for transtas­man brag­ging rights.

The turn­ing point in the chest­nut geld­ing’s ca­reer was a lowly 1600-me­tre race at Te Teko in late Jan­uary. His win that day cat­a­pulted him into the Avon­dale Guineas at Eller­slie when he put up an ex­tra­or­di­nary per­for­mance, botch­ing the start and giv­ing all of his ri­vals a start, then rac­ing past ev­ery one of them in a stun­ning Derby trial.

A fort­night later he fronted up as one of the lead­ing prospects for the $1 mil­lion New Zealand Derby and duly de­liv­ered with an­other dom­i­nant per­for­mance. The bonus was that, un­like many of his con­tem­po­raries, he had not en­dured a search­ing fea­ture race cam­paign through the sum­mer and his legs were still rel­a­tively fresh.

He there­fore bounced through his big Eller­slie dou­ble and landed in Syd­ney last week ready to show the lo­cals what he was made of in Satur­day’s Gr. 1 Rose­hill Guineas. The heavy Rose­hill track held no fears as Opie Bos­son rode an ice-cool race, let­ting Ginger­nuts stroll along at the rear of the field be­fore set­ting him alight around the out­side, hit­ting the lead mid­way through the run home and waltz­ing away for an­other easy win.

His share of the A$600,000 stake took his earn­ings past $1 mil­lion for the 35-strong syn­di­cate that paid $42,500 for him 16 months ago. The bankroll was $30,000 lighter after con­nec­tions had to pay a late en­try fee for a New Zealand Derby start, and this week an­other A$44,000 cheque will be needed to get him into the Aus­tralian Derby on April 1, but no-one would be com­plain­ing when there’s a stake of A$2 mil­lion on of­fer for the Syd­ney clas­sic.

The back­ground to Ginger­nuts is rac­ing’s lat­est rags to riches story, one that shows yet again that all horses are equal when they line up on race­day. To his credit, Te Akau prin­ci­pal David El­lis was the one who se­lected the plain geld­ing with the now quirky name at the 2015 Karaka Ready to Run Sale. The com­bi­na­tion of train­ers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards and sta­ble jockey Opie Bos­son are mak­ing their wor­thy con­tri­bu­tion and giv­ing the en­thu­si­as­tic bunch of syn­di­cate mem­bers and sup­port­ers wear­ing their tan­ger­ine and blue ‘‘G-Nuts’’ caps such an in­cred­i­ble ride.

Jamie trav­elled with Ginger­nuts to Syd­ney and is now en­joy­ing his own amaz­ing ex­peri- ence, hav­ing sad­dled up a horse for an Aus­tralian Group One vic­tory and now look­ing for­ward to an­other in the ul­ti­mate three­year-old clas­sic.

Asked the other day what was the se­cret to Ginger­nuts’ in­cred­i­ble emer­gence from ob­scu­rity, Jamie had a sim­ple re­ply: ‘‘Con­fi­dence.’’

All those who have ob­served the un­likely hero from his Te Teko win on An­niver­sary Day to his transtas­man Group One dou­ble can now tip their cap to that one word with the power to turn an also-ran into a cham­pion.

SUPPLIED

Ginger­nuts takes his New Zealand Derby form to Syd­ney as he and Opie Bos­son com­bine again for an easy win in the Rose­hill Guineas.

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