Day At The Track

Reward for Al's heart of gold

09:00 AM 30 Jun 2020 NZST
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Somebeachsomegift
Cassie Saunders and Milly the stable dog with rescue horse Somebeachsomegift

A Queensland harness racing trainer is being rewarded for his kindness after stepping in and saving a horse more than 1500 kilometres away.

Respected horseman Alistair Barnes said a six-year-old pacer "caught his eye" as he was browsing over an Echuca saleyards catalogue obtained by his partner Cassie Saunders.

"There was a well-bred thoroughbred mare being offered for sale and Cassie was interested in it," Barnes said.

"But I just liked everything I saw about a pacer that was listed, a horse which was named Somebeachsomegift (Somebeachsomewhere - Ulanart (Perfect Art) -he'd only been to the races on 11 occasions and won the Southern Cross 3YO final in Adelaide and also won at Mildura, although admittedly, it was back in 2017!" Barnes said.

"After making a few phone calls I was told the horse had broken down and had been virtually retired, but a girl I spoke to, who had a fair bit to do with him, was quite upset that he was at the saleyards," he said.

"She was in the middle of moving house though and had nowhere to put him, and I promised her I'd rescue the horse and get him up to our place. It was in my mind I might be able to get him back to the races because over the years we've done pretty well at patching up horses with bad legs."

Alistair and Cassie are based at Tallegalla, near Marburg, 60 kms from Brisbane, where they prepare a small team of pacers, including brilliant last start Redcliffe Gold Cup runner-up Northview Hustler.

Barnes said after navigating the logistics of purchasing Somebeachsomegift and having him transported north to Queensland, he found him to have a bad tendon as well as stifle issues.

"But I was confident with time and patience I could patch him up and told the girl that when I was finished racing him, she could have him back," he said.

"It turned out that he was one of the easiest horses to fix up that I've ever had!"

But when the pacer was ready to go to the races, Barnes encountered another hurdle with Somebeachsomegift having been deregistered.

"That took ages to sort out. I had Harness Racing Victoria helping me and the stewards were terrific, along with the Harness Racing Authority. My parents Geoff and Lorraine, along with a close family friend, played a big role in sorting it all out. Their work behind the scenes was awesome," he said.

Somebeachsomegift finally made it back to the races in May, nearly three years after he last raced. But, after scoring an emphatic sprint-lane victory at Albion Park (1:57.9) last week, the pacer is now repaying Alistair and Cassie's persistence.

To watch the video replay click here

"We got there in the end and he's rewarded us, with the win and three placings from eight starts in a pretty short time. He's sound as a bell, now, and should keep racing consistently. I'm just elated because later the horse will end up having a nice home."

And Cassie and her thoroughbred from the saleyards?

Well she was also a successful purchaser and is now the owner of a well-bred broodmare by High Chaparral, a former Irish champion racehorse who won 10 of his 13 race starts.

"We've booked her into Tassort, a first-season sire who had just two starts for a five-length debut win in the Golden Gift followed by a second in the G2 Silver Slipper Stakes," Cassie said.

"Al got lucky-so hopefully I do as well," she laughed.

Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

 

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