By Brad Gray
A horse’s name so often dictates his or her cult following but luckily for the large group owners in BMW Australian Derby (2400m) favourite Gingernuts, he is also an extremely talented race horse. It’s the best of both worlds.
Blair Alexander coordinates the New Zealand-based ‘Te Akau Gingernuts’ who were responsible for naming him.
“Given he was red we threw some names around but in the end Gingernuts won out, named after an iconic New Zealand biscuit. It’s cheeky but appealed because of its simplicity and quirkiness,” said Alexander.
“It was a whole process. We threw names around at the pub and by email and got it down to semi-finalists.”
Among those in the running were ‘Eddie Redmane’ and ‘Red Sheeran’. It’s evident the owners not only have a knack for clever names but also owning fast horses with Group Two winner Hasselhoof the first foray into racing for many of them.
“There’s a few owners who don’t really know what it’s like to lose as between the two horses they have a winning strike rate of over 50%.”
A group of 30 will fly out of New Zealand on Friday heading for Randwick and you won’t miss them on track as they’ll be sporting bright orange ‘G-Nuts’ caps.
— Blair Alexander (@ballex21) March 22, 2017
“Over half of the syndicate are first-time owners so the races on the day are only just part of it. We wanted to capture the entire experience and the idea was to have some gangster-style hats for when he was racing,” explained Alexander.
“Gingernuts couldn’t fit on the cap, it was too long so it was for the same reason we had ‘Hoof’ on the Hasselhoof caps.”
Gingernuts is currently the $3.50 favourite with TAB for the classic staying feature on Day 1 of The Championships, and as the market suggests, Alexander would be surprised if he wasn’t in the finish.
“Given how much racing he has done in eight weeks we are just hoping he has some petrol in the tank but he is going to be hard to beat.”
“He has shown he can slog it out with the best of them on heavy but his New Zealand Derby win on a Good 3 was huge,” said Alexander, suggesting that Gingernets was even better suited to a drying track.
It’s been a wild ride for Te Akau Gingernuts who a little over a month ago were cheering on a rank outsider in the Avondale Guineas at Ellerslie.
“He really came out of nowhere.”
“He was just so relaxed. He would eat grass behind the gates and we needed to wake him up. As he has shown, he has enormous athletic ability. It’s been a racing thing and he has just needed time.”
Gingernuts winning the Rosehill Guineas