A superb drive by Kyle Harper saw the diminutive stallion Major Rush take out the 2019 Grafton Electric’s Northam Pacing Cup last Saturday night and in so doing he realised a long-held ambition for the horse’s trainer Graham Gilbert.
“I had always wanted to win a North Eastern Derby, which I did in 2012 with Roguenrich, and a Northam Cup so now I have the double”, he said following the win.
Major Rush was having his third start in a Northam Cup, after finishing fourth in 2017 and third in 2018, and he settled three back on the fence before Harper eased him into the one-wide line at the 400 metre mark before making his run turning for home.
Major Rush grabbed a gallant Major Catastrophe in the shadows of the post to win by a head with Destined To Rule a similar margin back in third place.
Major Rush just makes the 14.0 hand mark when measured in brand new shoes and weighs just 360 kilograms but what he lacks in size he makes up for in heart and character.
Now an eight-year-old, Major Rush has had 156 starts since he began racing in 2013 as a 2yo and he has now won 15 races with a further 36 placings taking his earnings to $161,282.
Bred by Graham and his wife Wendy, Major Rush’s dam Windsong is a half-sister to former Australian 3yo Filly of the Year Innocent Eyes.
“Wendy wanted to have Windsong served by Art Major but he was fully booked and we had resigned ourselves to the mating never happening,” Graham recalled.
Following the devastating Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in February 2009 there was an appeal for funds to assist victims of the fire and Victoria’s Alabar Stud Farm donated a service to Art Major to be auctioned as a fund-raiser.
“Wendy was determined to get the service and she just kept on bidding until eventually she topped the auction and Windsong was inseminated with Art Major’s semen later in 2009”, Graham said.
Major Rush was born when the Gilbert’s were living between Toodyay and Gidgiegannup so he can almost be claimed as a local. Major Rush now calls Myalup home, after the Gilbert family moved to the South West, but Graham still has a soft spot for Northam where he was a member of the Northam Harness Racing Club.
“He is still a stallion but you wouldn’t know it,” Graham said fondly. “He is an absolute gentleman and a pleasure to do anything with.”
He [Major Rush] is an absolute gentleman and a pleasure to do anything with.Graham Gilbert
LOCAL WINS THE VILLAGE KID SPRINT
Trainer Ray Williams may not have had a runner in this year’s Northam Cup but he still had a share of the spotlight when the New Zealand bred 5yo Dreamy Nights took out the 2019 Village Kid Sprint. Dreamy Nights brought up his seventh win in 12 starts in this State since being imported from New Zealand early in 2018 by a large group of owners which include well-known Northam businessmen Phil Eaton and Peter Morris. Ray Williams trained the 2014 Northam Cup winner Balleybofey and in December 2018 he and his son Grant Williams entered the history books with a pair of Group One wins on the same weekend.
On the Friday night at Gloucester Park Ray Williams took out the Group One WA Mares Classic with Millview Sienna and the next day at Ascot Grant Williams and his wife Alana won the Group One Kingston Town Classic with Arcadia Queen.