Sunday History Photo / Au

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 05:19
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Gunsynd (4 October 1967 – 29 April 1983) was a champion Australian Thoroughbred racehorse who won 29 races and A$280,455 in prizemoney. In his seven starts over one mile (1,600 metres) he was only once defeated, by half-a-head in the Epsom Handicap.
Foaled in 1967, at The Dip Stud, at Breeza, New South Wales, Gunsynd was by the grey racehorse, Sunset Hue.
G. McMicking formed a syndicate with three others from his home town of Goondiwindi consisting of A. Bishop, J. Coorey and A. Pippos and purchased Gunsynd as a yearling for A$1,300 at the 1969 Brisbane sales. He was affectionately known as the Goondiwindi Grey because his owners came from Goondiwindi and he was a grey in appearance.

Originally trained by Bill Wehlow, and later by Tommy Smith, Gunsynd raced from 1969 to 1973. As a four-year-old, under handicap conditions, Gunsynd won four major mile races - the Epsom Handicap, the Toorak Handicap, the George Adams Handicap, and the Doncaster Handicap, and, at five, was narrowly beaten by Triton in the 1972 Epsom Handicap. In the Doncaster Handicap, he carried 60.5 kilograms to victory, and, in his second Epsom Handicap, was second with 62.5 kilograms. He then won the 1972 Cox Plate, was third, with 60.5 kilograms, to Piping Lane in the Melbourne Cup, and was named Australia's champion racehorse for the 1972-1973 season. Gunsynd was a favourite with the crowds due to his grey coat and his tremendous will to win, and was one of the best grey horses in the history of Australian racing.
According to Roy Higgins, who rode Gunsynd more than did any other jockey, you could attribute the horse's enormous popularity mostly to his colour and his pattern of racing. After settling towards the rear of the field, his grey coat made him easy to follow as he swooped home with a late run. The late racecaller Bert Bryant was famous for heralding a Gunsynd swoop with the announcement: "Here comes the Goondiwindi Grey!" Then there was Gunsynd's courage. He was bred to run 1000 metres but his favoured distance was 1600 metres, as indicated by winning five races over a mile and finishing second in his other race at the distance. Yet he won up to 2500 metres and famously finished third in the 1972 Melbourne Cup while carrying 60.5 kilograms. Higgins this week remembered the roar of the Flemington crowd when Gunsynd received the nod for third place after a photo finish. "You'd swear he'd won," Higgins said. "They knew he'd given his all."

Gunsynd's run in the 1971 Sandown Cup was the final run of a long campaign. After transferring to the Smith stable early in his four-year-old season, he had six races for wins in three premier mile races - the Epsom, Toorak and George Adams handicaps - a second in a Rosehill flying and unplaced finishes in the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup. The Sandown Cup was his seventh race in two months. Higgins said Sandown's spacious track and uphill straight suited the grey's swooping style. After starting 7-4 favourite, Gunsynd won comfortably. "I've always said Light Fingers was my favourite horse, but Gunsynd was the most fun," Higgins said.

Gunsynd was named the VRC Horse of the Year in 1972 and inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. In 1973 Tex Morton recorded a song The Goondiwindi Grey (The Gunsynd Song), written by Nev Hauritz and Brian Wallace, as a tribute to him. A statue in his honour was erected in his hometown of Goondiwindi, and in 2004, he was the only animal named in the "Queensland Icons" list.
It's interesting to see how the prize money differs these days - when Gunsynd won in 1972, the Cox Plate was worth $32,000. Today the race is worth $3 million overall.

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Reply By: On Patrol & TONI - Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 09:18

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 09:18
I fondly remember him, I think that I bet on him as a youngster & when he won I was bitterly dissapionted by the small payout on my bet. I Didnt understand odd's that well in those days haha.
AnswerID: 494104

Reply By: Witi Repartee - Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 20:15

Sunday, Sep 02, 2012 at 20:15
Crikey Doug, is there any subject you're not fascinated by. Very enjoyable and thanks.,
AnswerID: 494143

Reply By: Member - Judy and Laurie - Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 09:04

Monday, Sep 03, 2012 at 09:04
Hi Doug,
So enjoy your sunday history segment , well done , will look forward to the next few as we will tune in while we are away on a trip
Thanks Judy

AnswerID: 494154

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