Taking over Tullymorgan
WHERE does the world's greatest sprinter go for a holiday?
Half way between Tullymorgan and Lawrence, that's where.
Takeover Target, the 2004 Ramornie Handicap winner bought in 2003 for $1250 by Queanbeyan taxi driver Joe Janiak, has been spelling at Nick and Angela Hammond's agistment property Toofrook for the past nine days.
Tomorrow the rising 10-year-old will leave the Clarence Valley, heading back into training before resuming racing on another overseas jaunt.
“Joe has been threatening to send him here several times now,” Angela joked.
“He is a lovely horse, good to handle. You can tell that when he was younger he would have been a handful, but he is a rising 10-year-old, which is old for a race horse.
“He is pretty casual, especially for someone who has met the Queen. He is definitely a rock star, he loves the attention.”
Angela said the size of the gelding was very misleading, but its talent was not.
“He looks much bigger in races than he really is, he looks huge, but he isn't that big, he is muscularly built,” she said.
“He had leg problems when Joe bought him and it is quite extraordinary to think that he has won more than $5.5 million.
“It says a lot about Joe as a trainer.”
However, it hasn't all been lucerne and lollipops for Takeover Target.
“When he came he had a small cut on his hind leg so the first week it was a case of changing his bandages and dressing, but other than that there has been no other requirements,” she said.
“Joe is such a relaxed person, he just said, 'no mate, he'll be right, just don't let him get fat'.”
And of course no racing royalty is safe from some friendly jokes.
“He went for a gallop one day, head down, but he threw a shoe so we had to get the farrier out,” she said. “Once he was done, he (the farrier) tried to sell him to a lady as a second-hand race horse. He nearly had her convinced too until she worked out it who it was.”
Currently Toofrook has 15 spellers aside from Takeover Target.
“We started operating seven years ago with six paddocks,” she said. “There were a lot of trainers who said it wouldn't work.”
Now they have 26 paddocks and they have now branched out into foaling.
So what does it feel like to have royalty roaming her property?
“A horse is a horse, but plenty of people play guitar, but they aren't Santana,” she said.
Record: 19-6-4 from 37 starts
Career earnings: $5,525,950
Major wins: Ramornie Handicap (2004), Salinger Stakes (2004), Lightning Stakes (2006), Newmarket Handicap (2006), King's Stand Stakes (2006), Sprinters Stakes (2006), Doomben 10,000 (2007), KrisFlyer International Sprint (2008).
Racing awards: Australian Champion International Performer (2006-2008), Australian Champion Sprinter (2006), World's Highest Rated Turf Sprinter (2006).