Unraced Southerner not going anywhere
NZ HARNESS NEWS
One of Southland’s hottest prospects isn’t going anywhere for now.
Slate, an unraced four-year-old by Changeover, will soon be seen at the races for his Winton breeder, owner and trainer, Des Baynes.
“There has been a fair bit of interest in him from Australia,” said Baynes.
“But I’ve decided I’m not going to sell him at this stage; he’s quite a good horse in the making.”
It’s understood there was even American interest in the half-brother to previous winners Granite and Quartz.
Slate set tongues wagging with an impressive qualifying effort at Wyndham on November 21, attacking the line to win by six lengths in a time better than six seconds under the qualifying standard after sitting last and over-racing for most of the heat.
Baynes, who had already waited four years for the horse to get his ticket, wasn’t about to rush him straight off the races, either.
“He had ten days off after that and I’ve hoppled him three times since coming back in.
“I’m treating him like any other normal race horse and he should be at the races soon.”
The delay in getting the horse to appear in public was a result of a nagging foot issue that derailed his three-year-old season.
“I had him up and going as a two-year-old, but he hurt his foot.
“Then he got a stone bruise that wouldn’t go away.
“So, I turned him out and didn’t get him in until late last season. He’s just progressed this time in.”
Slate isn’t the only nice horse Baynes has on his hands at present, with a juvenile about to qualify and target the Kindergarton Stakes at Wyndham on March 16.
“I’ve got a nice wee Sportswriter there called See Ya Write.
“I’ll try and qualify him next week and go from there.”
He went through last year’s Christchurch yearling sale as Midfrew L’Equipe, and was knocked down to Baynes on behalf of the Test Syndicate for $18,000.
“It’s a syndicate of guys, mates of mine – and I – that have raced a few horses together.
“The gods have been good to us as we’ve had some nice horses – it started off with Poacher (11 wins), then Bettor Buy It (5 wins) and Galactic Star (4 wins).”
Galactic Star was a high-priced sale as a three-year-old three seasons ago and has gone on to big things in Australia for trainers Greg and Sky Bond, winning two Inter Dominion heats and racing in the past two Grand Finals.
In See Ya Write, Baynes thinks he has a horse to carry on the syndicate’s fine record, though he expects to run in to the ‘blue and silver army’ soon enough.
“We have a few two-year-old races down here but generally Mark Purdon wins them when the money is up.”
Baynes has had a fairly quiet racing team to date this season, the frustrating Raffy Roo his only winner from just nine starters.
“He’s drawn one twice now and had no luck.
“Maybe he needs to draw the second line to get some of the money.”
Baynes, perhaps best known as the man that broke in and educated champion pacer of the 1970s, Young Quinn, is working ten at present, which he called a “nice number”