SEVENTY years ago a 6-year-old Queenslander of lowly breeding who had done all his early racing at Toowoomba embarked on a new career in Sydney in early December (1945) that saw him become an immortal of Australian racing.
He was Bernborough and after being unplaced first up he went onto string together in ten months fifteen successive wins, all stakes class races ranging from 1200m to 2100m. They included the Villiers, All-Aged Stakes, Warwick Stakes, Rawson Stakes and Hill Stakes, the Doomben 10,000 and Doomben Cup in Brisbane and the Newmarket, Futurity and Caulfield Stakes in Melbourne.
Chasing his sixteenth successive win under a massive10stone 10pounds (68 kg), he finished fifth after troubled run in the Caulfield Cup. A fortnight later he broke down in the Mackinnon at Flemington.
Purchased by Hollywood movie making mogul Louis B. Mayer, Bernborough became a competent sire from use in Kentucky. Very few of his offspring were exported, but one who did was Hook Money, a tough sprinter and handy sire in Ireland.
Three of Hook Money’s daughters were Shandon Belle, winner of the Irish One Thousand Guineas; Gay Wendy, successful in the Epsom Nell Gwynn Stakes and dam in Australia of stakes winners Shifway (sire), Biscawong (sire) and Fifine; and Grove Hall, two wins at a mile in England, dam of seven winners and ancestress, among many of Swiss Maid (won Newmarket Champion Stakes-Gr.1), Don Orazio (Italian Derby) and Al Akbar (Success Express New Zealand Group1 winner and sire).
A significant branch of the family at this time is one established in New Zealand by Grove Hall’s daughter Petwood, a Petingo winner at 2000m in England. Used at stud in New Zealand, Petwood produced stakes winners Getting Closer (10 wins, two Group1s, the Railway in Perth and Doomben 10,000, sire) and Instrumental (9 wins, Listed successes Sydney and Brisbane).
In addition Getting Closer’s minor winning sister Row of Mapperley produced nine winners, including Volkster, a Volksraad winner only once in 23 starts, but placed five times up to 2400m in Melbourne, who has gone on to produce five winners. The best of them by far is Volkstok’n’barrell, the game winner by a short head over the Zabeel Victoria Derby winner Preferment in the Group1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on Saturday.
It was the Donna Logan, New Zealand trained gelded Volkstok’n’barrell’s sixth win in nine starts, his first in Australia and at Group1 level. Earlier efforts included win in the Great Northern Guineas-Gr.2 and a second when favourite in the New Zealand.
His success is very pleasing for the God of New Zealand breeding, Sir Patrick Hogan, as Volkstok’n’barrell is from the first crop of Tavistock, an aspirant fill the shoes of Zabeel at Hogan’s Cambridge Stud.
Remarkably for a horse who himself was a leading New Zealand sprinter, Tavistock is by the Sadler’s Wells Irish Derby, French Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Montjeu (shuttled briefly to New Zealand) and from Upstage, an England foaled mare by English Derby winner Quest for Fame.
Quest for Fame shuttled to Australia between1993 and 1999 and then became a permanent resident.
Also, Upstage is a half-sister to the dam of the Zabeel two-times Moonee Valley Cup winner Precedence. He has contested the last four Melbourne Cups with the best effort being sixth last year