By Bruce Stewart
The win by Heisenberg in the re-run of the Central Otago Cup has led to a very generous donation by the horse’s connections, owners Ross and Angela Gordon, trainer Robert Dunn and the horse’s regular driver John Dunn.
The race was originally run at Omakau but had to be abandoned when champion driver Ricky May suffered a major medical incident and was flown to Dunedin Hospital in a critical condition.
The Group Three feature race was re-run yesterday at the Young Quinn Raceway at Wyndham and was won by Heisenberg in a very quick time.
Robert Dunn explained that after the race Ross Gordon rang him and said he and Angela wanted to express their appreciation for the care Ricky May received on the 2nd January at Omakau.
“Ross, Angela, Johnny and I decided to donate four and a half thousand dollars of the Cup winnings to charity. $1,500 to the helicopter trust fund for picking up Ricky, $1,500 to St John who were great on the day and $1,500 to Team Teals Ellie Barron (who performed mouth the mouth on May). Ross wanted to do that and I said to him that Johnny and I would come on board as well.”
Driver John Dunn was trailing May in the race at Omakau and saw the incident unfold. He managed to pull his horse back and warn trailing drivers.
John Dunn wasn’t on hand yesterday when Heisenberg won. The horse was driven by stand-in driver Tim Williams who took the talented pacer to the front and held out a game Nandolo by half a neck.
“Yep he’s much better in front with the pace on. He will learn to use the speed he’s got in other ways but he’s one of those horses that likes getting into his own rhythm. He used to be a devil of a horse to run in and out and it made it difficult for Johnny to drive. He’s far better when he concentrates so that’s why we’ve got the hood on him. He runs a lot straighter with that on but the only thing is it sets you up for horses that swoop off your back,” said Robert Dunn.
The winning time of 2-52.4 for the 2400 metre mobile was a new track, Southland and New Zealand record.
“He’s racing more genuinely this year. We possibly gelded him later than we should have. He was always a horse with potential, but he was green.”
Yesterday’s win was the horse’s sixth.
Dunn said Heisenberg is likely to join his Auckland base at some point later in the season and this time should be better the Auckland way round.
“He struggles a bit in Auckland. He tended to get in a little too much on the turns. But it was just because of his racing manners early on. I’m sure when we bring him up for the Taylor Mile and the New Zealand Messenger he’ll be much better.”
The Art Major gelding was bought at the 2017 Auckland Sales by Gorton and Dunn – then named Viva La Vida.
“Ross changes all of his horses names. He’s generally got a reason. We both loved the horse on type, he looked racy and we thought he might make a young horse. Ross has a good eye for horses which he’s developed. He actually comes from a horse family. His mother and father Don and Carol were one of the very first preparers at the yearling sales. They prepared yearlings for I reckon a half a century. On his mother’s side is champion horseman Felix Newfield and also Kevin Chapman.”
Ross and Angela own Telfer Electrical and have three branches in Christchurch and outlets in Nelson, Cromwell, Timaru, Dunedin and Invercargill.
“They bought the company just over twenty years ago when it was small and they’ve turned it into a very successful business.”
The Gordons have been very good clients for Robert Dunn over many years. They’ve owned and raced The Fed Express (5 New Zealand wins – bred by Ross’s parents Don and Carol), Code Black (2 New Zealand wins and 17 Australian wins), Robbie Burns (10 New Zealand wins and 1-49 USA) and Henry Hubert (7 wins).
“I’ve had their horses for years and we’re still waiting to get our first Group One winner. The one we thought was going to be the bees knees was a horse called Say My Name (6 wins from just 18 starts). He’s was exceptionally talented but had ongoing bone issues.”
The Gordons also own up and coming Above N Beyond.
“He’ll be aimed at the Derbies. We think he could be a real player in the three and four year old races. He’s a horse with a lot of upside.”
And as the Yearling Sales approach Gordon and Dunn will be having a close look at the full brother to Heisenberg who’s in the ring early on 17th February at the Auckland Sales.
“He’ll be on our list.”
Bred by Chris and Tina Barlow of Highfield Bloodstock and named Crusader, you’d have to say this may be one horse if Ross and Robert buy him that may not get a name change considering they’re all Cantabrians.