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By Graham Potter | Saturday, July 31, 2021


On the back of a successful 2020/21 season trainer David Vandyke can look to the new season with more than a bit of confidence.

Vandyke finished in fifth place in the Brisbane Metropolitan Trainers’ Premiership … an improvement of two places from his 2019/20 effort.

There are some significant statistics in that 2000/01 Metropolitan record which highlights both Vandyke’s consistency and his focus on a return on investment for his owners.

Firstly, Vandyke’s winning strike-rate was 24.5% … a full 5.4% better return that the Toby and Trent Edmonds training partnership who had the second-best strike-rate in the top ten list of trainers at 19.1%. Only two other trainers got over 18% … the Steven O’Dea and Matt Hoysted training partnership (18.6%) and Premiership winner Tony Gollan (18.4%). No other trainer in the top ten got to 15%.

Vandyke also held the top spot out of the top ten trainers when it came to place-strike percentage where his return of 56% was no less than 11% better than his nearest rival from the top ten list of trainers … making it a significant gap back the rest.

Vandyke also featured in the top five trainers in both the Sunshine Coast and the Ipswich Trainer’s Premierships.


The stable secured seventy winners in the 2000/01 season.

This figure was made up of thirty-five individual winners and no less than twenty of those notched up more than one win for the season.

Weona Smartone won that numbers race, winning five races, with Orbisyn, Dissolution and Boblee all landing four wins. Both Weona Smartone and Orbisyn remained unbeaten over the season.

Other multiple winners were Amiche (2 wins), Chauffeur (2), Cloak (3), Desert Lord (3), Dolly Spartan (2), Express Fantasy (2), Golden Mean (3), Good Chat (3), Iamican (2), Joy To All (3), Karaka Lad (2), McCovey Cove (2), Skins (3), Splendoronthegrass (2), Toorooloo (2), Weboughtazou (2).

The single race winners were Bering Sea, Bombay Rocket, Cotton Fields, D’Clone, Dubai Dreaming, Hold The Line, Jakkelberry Finn, L’Cosmo, Maleeka Blues, One For Betty, Keefy, Rotator, She’s At Regatta, Spirit Of Romance, Still Reigning.

Track-wise, the breakdown of the seventy wins came at five different venues – Sunshine Coast (23 wins), Doomben (21), Ipswich (13), Gold Coast (7) and Eagle Farm (6).


Arguably the most talked about horse to race for Vandyke in the 2020/21 season was Orbisyn.

The chestnut gelding began his career as a three-year-old on March 3 over 1100m at Doomben where he strolled in by 2,25 lengths in a Maiden Handicap on soft going.

The comfortable margin of victory was to become a pleasant trend as wasted little time in catching up for a relatively late start as he proceeded to win his next three starts. Those wins came in a Class 2 event of 1200m at Ipswich (which he won by 4.80 lengths), in another Class 2 win over 1200m at the Sunshine Coast (which he won by 6.30 lengths) and a Class 3 Handicap over 1350m at a midweek at Doomben (which he won by 2.25 lengths).

That means in a three month burst of rapid fire from March 3, 2021 until June 2, 2021, Orbisyn went from an being unraced four-year-old to a four-time unbeaten winner by a combined margin of 15.60 lengths over distances ranging from 1100m to 1350m at four different tracks … incredibly without ever being fully extended!

No wonder big money offers to purchase came rolling in … and bookmakers were sent scurrying with Orbisyn suddenly appearing as a $34 chance in the market for The Everest.

Owner / Breeder Jan McMillan and trainer David Vandyke are a good match as both share a main focus of interest … and that is putting the horse’s best interests first.

"There is no way I'd send him overseas, absolutely no way,” McMillan told Punters.com.

"I knocked back a million dollars for his mum (Another Syn), so I wouldn't take anything like a million for him. As someone who breeds horses, you can spend your whole life waiting for a horse like him to come along.

“Sadly, Another Syn died last year, so Orbisyn is the last foal out of that grand old mare.

Another Syn (Mukaddamah – Just Cruising), a four-time winner, was a half sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Seachange who was twice New Zealand Horse Of The Year – in 2006/07 and 2007/08).

"Rich Enuff was standing at Glenlogan Park, where I've sent many of my mares for breeding, so I sent Another Syn to Rich Enuff and ended up with Orbisyn

"I'm not a punter. I just like racing and I've got a really nice horse that I want to race. I want to see him race as a four, five and six-year-old - that's what I'm in it for," said McMillan.

While Orbisyn has had it easy in competition, the same cannot be said for those handling him behind the scenes during his first preparation. While not quite a problem-child, Orbisyn has made no secret of the fact that he has a mind of his own.

“He likes things to be his way,” said Vandyke “It has really been a challenge meeting him in the middle. You see that in him going to the barrier and going in. You cannot have someone on his head. He has to think about it and it has to be his own idea.” (Orbisyn was actually issued with a pre-race barriers warning from stewards after his March 3 debut).

“Once in the gates, and when they open, he just loves it.

“He will go to the paddock now, I think for my sake more than his,” said Vandyke, speaking after Orbisyn’s fourth win. He has caused a few sleepless nights. The barrier staff, the clerk of the course, the stewards, everyone has been involved with helping us with this horse, full credit to all of them.”


In terms of number of wins, Weona Smartone topped the scoreboard for the stable for the 2000/21 season.

Weona Smartone was brought along slowly early on, having no less than four trials (two of which he won) before making his debut on December 13, 2019. He felt her lack of race experience of that occasion, racing very greenly throughout to finish fifth, a little over three lengths behind the winner.

That would be his only run as a three-year-old as he was then given a long break from action. Another trial win on August 25, 2020 showed that the son of Shamexpress was primed for his comeback and he duly reappeared on September 11, where he had little difficulty in claiming his Maiden win, coming home by a decisive 4.75 length margin.

Four further wins followed in succession … in a BM 65, in a Class 3 Plate for three-year-olds, in a BM 72 and then in a BM78 … so that he completed his 2020/21 season with five wins from five starts, taking each step up in class in style while winning from 1000m to 1200m showing his versatility by saluting on good, soft and heavy going.

That winning sequence came from September 11, 2020 to June 2, 2021 after which he was put out for a well-deserved spell.


Being such a competitive industry no result is ever guaranteed but, in essence, all of the above serves to suggest that, as in previous years, the David Vandyke stable has a solid springboard from which to launch their challenge into the new 2021/22 season.

More articles

David Vandyke
David Vandyke
Orbisyn (above and below) doing what he does best ... winning
Orbisyn (above and below) doing what he does best ... winning
Orbisyn and his connections
Orbisyn and his connections
Weona Smartone (above and pictured with connections below) topped the leadership board for the Vandyke stable recording five wins in an unbeaten season
Weona Smartone (above and pictured with connections below) topped the leadership board for the Vandyke stable recording five wins in an unbeaten season
Cloak was one of several runners to put three wins on the scoreboard for the season
Cloak was one of several runners to put three wins on the scoreboard for the season
Rotator receives an appreciative pat from David Vandyle after winning at Eagle Farm

Photos: Graham Potter
Rotator receives an appreciative pat from David Vandyle after winning at Eagle Farm

Photos: Graham Potter
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