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