Rebecca Wilson heads in after her recent Nanango win on Havashout (Photo: Ross Stanley)

Gunsynd's GossipSeptember 2, 2020

For much of Rebecca Wilson’s career to date, an eerie quietness has enveloped her workplace.

Thanks to COVID-19, the apprentice – who is indentured to Deagon trainer Michael Lakey – has chalked up six of her seven wins at patron-free racecourses.

During her third day in racing silk, she got off the mark by booting home Fab’s Cowboy at Bundaberg on June 30.

Presently Wilson has an unbowed three from three record on the veteran gelding that hails from Bevan Johnson’s stable at Bouldercombe near Rockhampton.

She followed up a double at Gympie on August 22 with a victory on New Alliance at Chinchilla a week later.

Her impressive Nanango success on Kym Afford’s charge Havashout last month is the only occasion she has been victorious in front of the general public.

Rebecca, with a 36: 7-1-5 form line, has climbed a step on the ladder and her claim has changed from four to three kilograms.

Although she had no racing background, she has always wanted to be a jockey.

Beau Dene Appo, Lakey’s former apprentice, is on the Nanango Cup honour roll alongside his father Lyall and his uncle Bradley.

Wilson should get sound advice if she secures a booking for the $10,250 Fitzroy Hotel Cheers Droughtmaster Nanango Cup on September 12.

The fashion theme for Cup day will be Classic Spring Racewear, and the usual COVID-19 restrictions (as per the August fixture) will apply again.

Meanwhile, Hannah Phillips collected the first on the recent Chinchilla card on Sam’s Allycat for Norma King while Hannah Richardson won the third with Patche Gift for David Reynolds.

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Hearts Warmed By Subzero

Subzero was a cover boy in 1992 (Courtesy: Racetrack)

When Lee Freedman shelled out $100,000 for the colt by Kala Dancer (USA) from Wiley Trade (GB), the Victorian trainer had a crack at the 1990 Magic Millions for two-year-olds in mind.

The grey was related to the Golden Slipper winner Marscay and was a half brother to Confederate Lady, the talented juvenile that Lee prepared.

The circumstances at the Gold Coast during the course of the yearling sales that led to the formation of the ownership quartet were somewhat flukey.

By sheer coincidence, the paths of Freedman and his clients David Kobritz and Angelo Torcasio as well as the local car salesman Alan Brodribb crossed.

On the other hand, another established client in Peter Alpar was the only one who already knew of Lot 241, and he may well have gone solo if the price had been lower.

Brodbribb created the name for Subzero.

He was keen to follow the seven letter superstition: the successful selection combined “zero” from Kalazero on the paternal side with the prefix “sub”.

In September 1990, training began for Subzero, but the location of Freedman’s stable was a temporary hitch.

The noisy Melbourne Show was in full swing nearby and so a more tranquil yard at Graham Salisbury’s place was a temporary substitute.

Naturally, Salisbury, who was clerk-of-the-course at Flemington, salivated at the prospect of hosting a grey and he was soon thinking about a job for the horse when he was retired.

Plan A for “Subbie” was soon abandoned.

His gallops made it clear he was no early comer.

Although, as a stayer, he proved to be the complete reversal, he did prevail twice at Flemington during the last three weeks of his two-year-olds season.

Subzero’s penchant for wet tracks helped him post a 48:6-6-5 record that banked $2,008,000.

At three, he ran second in the VRC St Leger before annexing the South Australian Derby-Adelaide Cup double.

His form in the spring was superb for jockey Greg Hall.

After weight-for-age placings in the Craiglee and Underwood Stakes, a fourth in the Caulfield Cup and a Mackinnon Stakes fifth, the 4/1 chance relished the 1992 Melbourne Cup conditions and proved too strong for Veandercross and Castletown.

Apart from picking up the minor money in the 1993 Sydney Cup, his form tapered off.

Joint problems did not help and the curtain came down after a rearward finish in the 1994 Brisbane Cup.

Naturally Salisbury grabbed Subzero for clerking duties and then, through his patient and extensive tutorship, his mate became a multi-skilled ambassador.

Possessed with the gentle, composed make up befitting a brain surgeon, Subzero weaved his magic in diverse environs ranging from aged care homes, hospitals, educational venues, corporate settings through to some weddings and funerals.

He also made appearances at the 2000 Dubai World Cup.

At age 20, the legendary steed’s life was in the balance when cartilage damage created a crisis. Fortunately Flex Plus, a powdered feed additive, saved the day.

When cancer claimed Salisbury at age 76 in June, an astonishing deeply bonded relationship was over.

On August 29 Subbie, 32, succumbed to heart failure.

Apparently and understandably, during his last two months, the old boy had stared frequently at Salisbury’s house.

It would be fitting if the duo’s massive contribution is recognised with a Hall of Fame induction.


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