Jul 12, 2011

THE Capricornia Yearling Sales was the catalyst for a fairytale story come true again yesterday when Bonny The Viper, an unwanted yearling, won the $134,000 2YO Classic (1200m) at Callaghan Park.
Ridden by Caloundra teenage apprentice Cassie Priest, who retained the ride as reward for tireless help to Bonny The Viper's trainer Garnett Taylor earlier this year, the Garrison Savannah filly dashed away to beat favourite Sweet Reward (x Private Agenda).
Private Chat, another of the Private Agenda breed, held third placing.
Rewind the clock a year and Bonny The Viper, now with four straight wins and the undisputed Queen of Central Queensland juvenile racehorses, was walked out of the Capricornia Sales ring after being rejected by so-called good judges.
Her elderly Rockhampton breeder Phil Hughes, a stalwart of the Central Queensland breeding industry, bought her back for just $4000.
“I was just shocked. Nobody wanted the Garrison Savannah breed last year. Now everybody is chasing them. A year makes a big difference,” Hughes said.
That is almost certain to be reflected in the sale prices of the two Garrison Savannah yearlings on offer today, lots 19 and 21, when the 2011 edition of the Capricornia Yearling Sales are conducted by Magic Millions in Rockhampton.
Taylor could hardly contain his elation after the win yesterday.
“I've been nervous all week. I really thought she could win, as she had improved since her win in Rocky (third straight) a few weeks back. It's a great feeling,” he said,
It's a high Taylor has tasted before, having won the race three years ago with Falverosa.
Just like the Cinderella race result it was – considering Bonny The Viper has now won almost $115,000 in stakes – there were two special qualities that surfaced post-race.
Taylor originally wanted his daughter Alisha, who returned from injury a fortnight ago, to ride Bonny The Viper in the Classic but in an unselfish act, the top teenage apprentice rejected his offer.
“Alisha said: ‘No Dad. Cassie has ridden Bonny twice for two wins and knows her so well and it would be not fair to take her off,'” Taylor said.
“Alisha was right, but it was just the father in me coming out. Cassie was fabulous to me when I took Bonny and 35 horses to Caloundra for two months after the January flood.
“Alisha broke her ankle there and Cassie volunteered to ride my horses and arranged for other work riders to do the same. I owed her and really I'm so pleased for her sake.”