Alexy’s 11yr-old birthday present.
By Jonny Turner
Most 11-year-old boys get an Xbox game, a new bike or something similar for their birthdays.
Not Alexy – but, he is no ordinary 11-year-old.
Instead, he got oats, chaff, a big drink of water and a cheque for $4,125.
And the veteran, trained by Denis O’Connell, deserved all of them.
Just a day after his official birthday the Waikouaiti iron horse showed there was still plenty of zip in his legs and will in his heart when scoring his 10th win in his 282nd start.
“He is sound and happy and when I have been jogging him lately he has been running around like a 2yr-old,” O’Connell said.
“He was driven well and he finished strong, I was just so proud of him.”
Alexy was forced to sit parked for the first lap of the 1980m of race 9, before driver Jessica Young-Grant found cover in the one-one.
His rivals had their chance to run Alexy down, but the 11-year had too much pep for them as he went on to win comfortably by two lengths.
The veteran was the toast of Waikouaiti and the pride of the O’Connell family following his victory.
Alexy is raced by his trainer alongside his siblings - brothers Daniel, Gerald, Eugene and his wife Pru, as well as O’Connell’s sister, Joan Braam.
“It is wonderful for the family, they are just so proud of the old horse.”
Sunday’s win took the veteran past $100,000 in career stakes.
Alexy has racked up those dollars by racing in each season since his career began as a 2yr-old in 2012.
Alexy’s formline was patchy before he went a sound race for fourth for Kerryn Tomlinson in his previous start in a heat of the New Zealand Junior Driver’s Championship.
“You would normally write a horse off like that, but not him,” O’Connell said.
“But, strangely he seems to go well at this time of the year – coming out of winter and leading in to spring.”
“He seems to get a bit of a spring in his step, himself.”
Alexy comes in to the new season after having a quieter than usual past 12 months.
The Courage Under Fire gelding had 26 starts last term, compared with 41, 48 and 44 in the three season prior.
The pacer, who was bred by his star sire’s Sydney owner Greg Brodie, sits second behind Danke on the list of most all-time starts since records have been collated.
Alexy started his racing career when stepping out at Reefton in 2012 for trainer Mark Jones and driver Regan Todd.
The pacer had stints with Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett, Bruce Negus, Nora Bishop before rejoining Negus.
O’Connell took over the training of Alexy in 2016.
The 11yr-old spent time with Darryn Simpson and Nigel Chalmers before heading back to O’Connell late last year.
Seven of Alexy’s ten wins have come for the Waikouaiti trainer.