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By Graham Potter | Sunday, June 5, 2022

“I dreamt of her doing that … but to actually be able to perform like that after all she has been through was just amazing,” said trainer David Vandyke.

David Vandyke was talking about his latest Group 1 winner, Gypsy Goddess, who produced a long, sustained run which carried her to victory in the Queensland Oaks in a manner which can be lauded as an outstanding effort by any standards, In fact, it took the breath away from many of those watching from the grandstand.

“I had dreamt about it,” continued Vandyke, “but, don’t forget, she had never won without the blinkers, so that was a little niggling thought … and also I knew if Willie (Pike) went back from that wide draw, we would be behind some horses that weren’t going to take us into the race.

“She was going to have to do it on her own because she wasn’t going to get the cart forward that she may have got in a smaller or more even field.

“When Willie did make that move and Gypsy Goddess started to round them up so quickly, I thought he had gone too early. I did think he had gone too soon. You know, they still had the straight to get up. I saw her out six deep, without cover, and I thought ahh … I hope she is not going to be a sitting shot.

“But she was full of running and Willie didn’t want to halt her momentum. It’s very rare in a Group 1 race that you see a horse start to make a run under a hold like that.
“Then, over the last 200m, the one on the inside … Barb Raider … he was fighting hard and I thought he was going to test her.

“It was always going to be a challenge on many fronts … but, yeah, she passed them all!

“To win like that was a massive effort.

“She didn’t eat very well on Saturday night. She’s feeling a little dusty. It’s been a long, arduous campaign.

“It was an amazing run. She was really a bit over the hill going into Saturday. I knew she wasn’t as well as she has been, but I was very grateful that I was able to hold her together for The Oaks.

“Emma Lehmann (Vandyke’s foreperson) has been a massive part of that. She loves Gypsy Goddess so much. She spends a lot of time with her.

“The horse really thrives on that one-on-one attention … and that is what she has relied on the last couple of weeks to bounce back.

“Emma has got a great gift to be able to connect with the horse.”

In just seven-and-a-half months, Gypsy Goddess has gone from a Maiden winner on debut (when, incidentally, unwanted in the betting at $26) to a six-time winner (including a Group 1 and a Group 3 victory) from nine starts.

She has also placed three times (twice in Group 1 company and once in Group 2 company) and has banked $972 300 in prize-money.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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