AFTER a lifetime in the beef industry, Terry Ginnane, co-owner of Landmark Harcourts in Leongatha, is widely acknowledged as an authority on commercial cattle.
But he’s the first to admit he doesn’t know a whole lot about picking a good racehorse.
However, after the success he’s been having in recent times, as a part owner of some of racing legend Darren Weir’s best horses, he’s finding out first-hand what it takes to have success at the top level.
Last Saturday, at Flemington, that extended to winning one of the top weight-for-age races in the country with Humidor, the $1.5 million Australian Cup, which is the autumn equivalent of the Cox Plate in the spring.
And it did so by running down 2016 Caulfield Cup winner Jameka in the straight with the excellent sectional time, over the final 600 metres, of 0:35.52.
First prize is $900,000 plus trophy, which Terry has been taking care of for the past few days.
“We’re having a lot of fun,” said Terry this week, who with former Leongatha and Hawthorn footballer, Mick Johnston and his wife Alise, is a part-owner of the up and coming four year old gelding.
“Make sure you say I only own a small share.
“I’ll have blokes ringing me up asking for money,” he said with a laugh, sharing his success, and a drink out of the cup, with patrons at the Inlet Hotel in Inverloch last Sunday night.
“The only reason I’m in the horse at all is that I sell Darren Weir’s cattle. He says to me, I’ll look after the training if you look after my cattle.
“And, as with everything he does, he produces pretty good Angus cattle as well,” said Terry this week.
“It’s just been a great thrill to be involved.”
Terry said the New Zealand owners of Humidor came across to Melbourne last year for a shot at the Emirates Stakes during the Melbourne Spring Carnival which is when Darren Weir approached them for a 50 per cent share.
“We were involved with a couple of his other horses; Palentino, Kenedna and Tosen Stardom and he said ‘why don’t you join us with this one’, so there’s not a lot of science in it as far as I’m concerned.”
Terry was watching the race from the mounting yard at Flemington when Humidor let down a withering finish over the final stages to catch the frontrunners in the shadows of the post.
“We’ve had a fourth and a couple of seconds this time in, including two seconds at Group Two and Three level, so it was on the cards but you never know.”
By winning Saturday’s Group One feature event, Humidor joins the likes of Makybe Diva 2005, Lonhro 2004, Northerly 2001/2003 and Saintly in 1996, and has put himself in line for some of the classic events on the Australian racing calendar, not the least of which is the Melbourne Cup.
“We’re on the fourth or fifth line of betting for this year’s Melbourne Cup but the problem is that if he keeps on winning, he’ll get a big weight which makes it tough against some of the world’s best stayers.”
It’s a nice problem to have.
But it’s not out of the question, says Terry.
“We’re going up to Sydney for the BMW at Randwick on the 25th, providing he recovers well and then we’ll wait and see.”
The daunting task of taking on boom mare Winx in this year’s Cox Plate could also be on the drawing board, who knows.
For now though, its back to work for Terry, possibly with a trip up to Gelantipy for the Annual Calf and Weaner Sale next Monday, March 21 but he’s bound to be casting forward to what might happen next with Humidor.
“It’s unbelievable really but we’re having a lot of fun,” he said this week.
It was almost too much fun for one day when Kenedna loomed up in Race Five at Flemington, before holding on for a gallant third… even that would be enough for many hard-bitten racehorse owners.
Australian Cup success for local identities