Patience pays off for McGowans
By Garrick Knight
It’s been a long road to the winner’s circle for In My Shadow, victorious in a maiden at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
The rising five-year-old headed a stable quinella, along with Corbaux, for their Pukekohe trainers, Dave and Clare McGowan.
A painful cross-firing injury meant he raced only once as a three-year-old and it’s been time and care from his trainers that have seen him eventually make it back to the track.
“He had really high speed and qualified in a good time as a two-year-old,” Clare McGowan told HRNZ.
“But he was really weak in behind and used to crossfire and that would make him frightened of running home in a sprint.
“Then he jumped on his quarter so we gave him plenty of time to grow up.”
Nearly two-and-a-half years after he qualified, he’s cleared maidens, and the McGowans now expect him to go on with it, though probably not with them.
“He’s going to be a nice horse in Aussie, I think.
“We’d love to keep them all, but the logistics of it, when you breed you a few, you have to let them go.”
The McGowans bred In My Shadow in partnership with their good friends, Jill and the late Dennis Smolenski, best known as the owners of former champion mare, One Dream.
“Jill and Dennis used to look after the dam (All My Dreamz) when they were at Stonewall Stud broodmare up here.”
The Smolenskis since returned to Christchurch and Dennis sadly passed away last year.
The couples also bred from In My Shadow’s granddam, Corzanello, who has been a bit of a broodmare gem for them with Group 1 winner Corzin Terror (AU $513,219) among the six winners from her seven foals of racing age.
“I used to work for Noel Taylor and as a leaving present, he gifted me Corzanello, who is a daughter of Rear Window,” said Clare.
“All My Dreamz was the first foal we bred from her and she had a lot of speed, which she passed on to this horse and his half-brother, Bettor My Dreamz.
“Mark (Purdon) and Natalie (Rasmussen) bought Bettor My Dreamz from us at the sales and he won a few for them, but now he’s here in Pukekohe with Ray Green, on his way to Aussie.”
Corbaux, an Art Major daughter of former good mare Precious Mach, boxed on well for second and a win looks close at hand for her.
“She’s never really had a draw to suit.
“I’m not sure if its her or her owners that have bad luck, but she never seems to get a decent one.
“She’s a lot stronger now and I think if you reversed the draws the other night, it might have reversed the result.”
It’s been a transitional season for the McGowans, Friday night’s win just the fourth of the term, but there are high hopes for the upcoming seasons.
They’ve been pushing to kick the ‘rejuvenators’ tag that they’ve been stuck with for quite some time.
Hard to do when Clare is an in-demand equine physical therapist and Dave is widely-regarded for the love and care he shows all their horses.
“We used to do a lot of rehabbing and we sort of got stuck doing them.
“You’d have thought One Dream ($899,487) might have turned that around but it didn’t; we seemed to be the ones owners would called if they had a sore or angry horse.
“So, we’ve really concentrated in the last year or so on bringing through a number of young horses.
“There’s 24 in work – including some we’re educating for other trainers - and we’re quite happy with what we’ve got there.”
The race team is rather light at present, and Le Girl will soon further reduce that when she is retired to become a broodmare.
Adelle was recently dispatched to Australia where she underwent an ownership restructuring upon joining Gavin Lang’s stable.
She’s three from three for him with Clare still maintaining a share in the ownership.
“She’s flying over there, which is great for us because we bred her and still have the family to breed on with.”
In what was coincidental timing, to celebrate their quinella the night before, the McGowans hosted their staff and clients on Saturday morning for a bit of a get together thanks to the HRNZ Stable Shout promotion.
“It was really nice to get everyone in and make them feel part of the team.
“They’re not just our owners, they’re all good friends, and a morning tea was a great way to bring them all together.”
It was some rare downtime for Clare, who works relentlessly doing her equine therapy for many stables, including Tony Herlihy and Nigel Tiley.
“I cannot keep up with it, it’s unbelievable.
“I could do double the work I currently do, such is the demand, but I’m already working until 7pm most nights to satisfy my existing clients.
“Nigel said to me the other day that they’ve only had one bowed tendon in their entire team since I started working with them a few years ago, and that was a horse that got kicked in the tendon.
“Hearing things like that make it all worthwhile.”