By Julieanne Horsman
It was after “about 10 coffees and five steak sandwiches” at the 2015 Inglis Scone Yearling Sale that Wade Slinkard put his hand up and made a bid.
He’d gone there to help his son-in-law choose a horse, and when he hadn’t bought anything, Wade decided he couldn’t waste the trip.
“It was right at the end of the sale, I was cold and I’d had enough, but then this balanced, well put together little filly came out,” he said.
“She was small but a very racy type and since it was our wedding anniversary that day, I bought her as a present for my wife, Doreen.”
Wade secured the filly by Spinning World from Tennessee Star for just $5,000 and appropriately named her Our Anniversaire.
“I wanted to call her Our Anniversary but that was taken so I added a French twist and voila,” Wade joked. When he took her home there was plenty of interest from friends who wanted to get involved. Despite planning to keep half, within a week Wade and Doreen had just 2.5% left for themselves.
Our Anniversaire never showed anything brilliant as an early two-year-old but always worked well. Little did anyone know she would pay for herself after a single start and have earned ten times her purchase price within six starts.
She debuted as a three-year-old at Hawkesbury last November, finishing second to My True Love, who has since placed in two Group races.
“We were surprised at the tenacity she showed in her first race,” Wade said. “She’s got a competitive streak.”
Our Anniversaire’s will to win was on show at her most recent start in a Benchmark 65 Handicap over 1500m at Hawkesbury in June. She had slipped to the rear at the turn for home, but fought back, pushing her way to the front to win in a photo finish from Adaboy Ross and Balius.
“It was a gusty win,” Wade said.
Our Anniversaire now boasts a record of two wins and three seconds from six starts. The only time she finished outside the top two was at Kembla Grange at the end of her last preparation.
“She’d had enough,” Wade said. “Forget about that one.”
The filly will be put to the test in the Pro Rata ATC Membership On Sale Benchmark 67 Handicap (1400m) at Warwick Farm on Wednesday. She’s up against four other last start winners and it’s her first metropolitan race but Wade is confident she will hold her own. “Whatever she does, it will be her best,” he said.
“She’s drawn barrier 8 so will need a bit of luck in the first 200m to slot in.
“I’d like to see her in the box seat but I don’t think she has enough gate speed.
“The drop back to 1400m will help her though since he hasn’t raced for five weeks and she will appreciate apprentice jockey Brock Ryan’s 3kg claim.”
Wade has been training on a small scale for more than 40 years. His early wins include the Deniliquin Cup and most significant the Pago Pago Stakes, Listed Neville Selwood Stakes and Group 2 Linlithgow Stakes.
He currently has 15 horses in his care and with the help of Doreen, trains them from the family farm at Wilberforce which is equipped with stables, a half mile track, walking machine and swimming channel. The horses go to Hawkesbury Racecourse to gallop.
Doreen is a skilled horsewoman having working as a jillaroo as a young woman. She and Wade met while working on a property in the Riverina in the early 1970s. She is now a published author and her new novel, For The Love Of Patrick, will be released on 31st August.