November 3, 2023
The livery sported by the 2023 Wondai Cup heroine Vinasta is emblazoned with the logo of KO Racing, an ownership group put together by Kobie O’Brien.
The adventurous Rockhampton racing fan decided to take on the syndication of racehorses in 2019 when he was in the shadow of the post of graduating as a teacher.
O’Brien, who gained vital experience and confidence through his association with trainer Tom Button, has chalked up a number of success stories.
The venture started positively – the first horse to salute for KO Racing was Bevan Johnson’s charge Froze.
‘Frosty’ cost O’Brien a mere $500, but his 60 assignments for a 11-12-11 form line picked up more than $100,000.
KO Racing and the Gerans’ yard went close to feature glory when Nikau Spur (NZ), ridden by Ben Thompson, beat all bar Military Gamble in this year’s Toowoomba Cup.
Meanwhile, the $750,000 Little Dance at Randwick on Melbourne Cup Day is another chance for a major success, courtesy of the team’s newcomer Without Revenge (GB).
On September 30, with Sunshine Coast mentor David Vandyke applying the polish, the Muharrar gelding filled second berth in the Lismore Cup.
The effort by the bay that had scored at Lingfield and Newmarket qualified the northern hemisphere bred galloper for the bulging purses (a final’s slot depends on the balloting order).
Gary Geran’s display aboard Vinasta at Wondai was masterful.
The I Am Invincible mare, prepared at Toowoomba by his wife Kylie and son Corey, did it at both ends.
She wasn’t allowed to loaf from the outside gate and had quickly crossed to be a handy second to the favourite Portnoy.
Gary was content to park behind the pacemaker before launching a claim in the run to the home bend.
The eight-year-old cleared out and had eight lengths to spare on the mirror.
Vinasta, after posting two wins during her time in Tony Gollan’s stable, has added nine more with the Gerans.
She was runner-up in last year’s rich Country Cups Challenge, and because of her Wondai triumph she now gets an opportunity to go one better in December’s renewal.
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The Feminine Link
Aptly at Wondai, the Memorial event for the sisters Monica Ryan and Kathleen Hoult was taken out by Tiffani Brooker’s mount, Summer Star.
Deagon trainer Jason Edwards pulled the right rein when he decided to give the Going Fine gelding a crack at a sand circuit. The bay’s four placings on soft surfaces and a victory in heavy going indicated that he might appreciate the softer feeling of a non-turf course.
Brooker also booted home Best Song and Viva Americana, the lightly raced mare by American Pharoah (USA) that was on debut for the Glenn Richardson team.
The ex-Victorian lived up to a promising Caloundra trial an then successfully backed up for Brooker at Gympie last Saturday. The distance was again the metric half mile.
The chestnut literally has a hands-on owner in Wayne Ronald, a Victorian equine chiropractor who makes regular trips to Queensland to service a large number of thoroughbreds.
[UPDATED with correction]