Queensland's Own Welcome to the best coverage of racing in Queensland Queensland's Best
Horse Racing Only
www.horseracingonly.com.au Horse Racing Only logo
Home Racing Queensland National International Blogs Photo Gallery Links Contact Us


By Graham Potter | Thursday, October 27, 2022

Life is good for trainer David Vandyke.

There is just no downside to his position of having runners in both the $10 million Golden Eagle and the $3 million Nature Strip Stakes, which are carded as consecutive races at Rosehill card on Saturday.

Fair to say though that, win lose or draw, the excitement of that particular sixty minutes of racing for the astute trainer and the connections of Gypsy Goddess and Weona Smartone will have hairs standing on end.

And, like his horses, Vandyke is ready for that moment.

“I don’t get nervous unless I have a short-priced favourite,” said Vandyke, “and both of my horses are at double figure odds, so the pressure is off.

“But, gee, yes … I do feel fortunate to have a runner in the two biggest races in Sydney on Saturday.

“Both horses race in Bob Jones’ colours. Both horses come from New Zealand … so that formula is working. We get over there and buy two or three from Karaka each year.

“We’ve sold a couple to Hong Kong. We’ve got these two running … and we’ll looking forward to Saturday … the excitement of it all.”

Just about every article mentioning Gypsy Goddess’s preparation has referred to Vandyke’s decision to take Gypsy Goddess to the Gold Eagle first-up as being unusual and audacious … but the trainer merely shrugs off that commentary.

“People can read into it what they like,” offered Vandyke. “That’s up to them.

“I’m doing it that way because that’s the way I want to it that way and I’m doing it with the owners’ blessings.

“She’s coming off a Group 1 win (in the Queensland Oaks over 2200m on June 4) … 1500m is obviously not an ideal distance for her, but we are hoping she runs well fresh and I want her to be as fresh as possible for the 1500m trip.

“I want her ready to sprint … and I think if I’d have given her a lead-up run, it might have taken that edge off her … particularly being a stayer.

“So that freshness is what we have got on Saturday.”

“It’s going to be a tough contest. It’s a cracker field!

"Whoever wins it will probably have some luck in the running,” volunteered Vandyke, “because in a field of twenty over 1500m, you are going to need some luck.

“She’ll only have the one run and then go back to the paddock and we’ll look forward to her next year.”

That’s patience personified … which has always been one of Vandyke’s finest traits.

Gypsy Goddess will take a proud record of six wins and three placings from her nine starts into the Golden Eagle … with two of those placings coming in Group 1 company when third in the Vinery behind Fangirl and second in the ATC Oaks behind El Patroness.

Weona Smartone, who lines up in the Nature strip Stakes, underlined his right to be there when he finished a close-up third in the Sydney Stakes last time out.

“I originally wasn’t going to take him down for that,” admitted Vandyke, “but I was asked to nominate Weona Smartone … and I did that.

“As things turned out Gypsy Goddess and Weona Smartone were able to travel down together which was good for both of them as company as they get on very well.

“They are down there getting all kinds of specialized attention from Emma (Lehmann).

“Emma is our travelling foreperson. She is in a league of her own. She is outstanding with the horses and we are very fortunate to have her on board in situations like this.”

Gypsy Goddess is current quoted as an $19 chance for the Golden Eagle. Weona Smartone is at $18.

More articles

Gypsy Goddess and Emma Lehmann (above and below)
Gypsy Goddess and Emma Lehmann (above and below)
Gypsy Goddess and Willie Pike
Gypsy Goddess and Willie Pike
Weona Smartone (with Kyle Wilson-Taylor in the saddle)

Photos: Graham Potter
Weona Smartone (with Kyle Wilson-Taylor in the saddle)

Photos: Graham Potter
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best