Gunsynd started his final
season on the racetrack as a 5yo in the Warwick Stakes. Gunsynd
lost ground soon after the start but chased hard to finish second in a
dead heat with Royal Show as Nippon won the race. Two weeks later
Gunsynd was the odds on favourite to atone for his first up defeat in
the Chelmsford Stakes. Outsider Turbino jumped straight to the
front and was too strong just holding on from Ricochet who got past
Gunsynd in the straight. Now the reports started - was the
grey horse past his best?
Two weeks later he got his
chance to prove the critics wrong. In the Hill Stakes carrying
topweight of 59kg Gunsynd was last as the field settled into stride.
When asked for his effort Gunsynd charged for home and grabbed Triton in
the final stages to win going away by 3/4 length with Gold Brick third.
It was then on to defend his Epsom title. Under a crushing weight
of 62kg Gunsynd was sent out at 10-1 and started well but soon dropped
back to 11th of the 16 runners. In the heavy conditions he was
still well back by the 800m but started to make ground. Around the
turn Gunsynd raced wide and started to stride down the straight to hit
the lead at the 250m mark. Soon after Triton (59.5kg) made his
challenge and drew about a length ahead but Gunsynd wasn't done with yet
and raised another effort to chase the flashy chestnut. Triton was
in front but Gunsynd was slowly gathering him in stride by stride.
As the pair went to the post they were locked together three lengths
clear of Beaches. For race fans it was so close but Triton had
just held on by a nose from the gallant grey. It was Gunsynd's
first and only defeat over the mile or 1600m distance.
Gunsynd returned to the
winner circle on the final day of the Sydney Spring carnival winning the
2400m Colin Stephen Quality under a hold by five lengths from Dalglow
with a further two lengths to Teazle in the four horse field. The
next day Gunsynd was on his way to Melbourne.
A week later Gunsynd
lined up for the Caulfield Stakes and was sent out the odds on favourite
as racegoers felt their idol was back to his best. Gay Icarus and
Gossiper turned for home in front together from Gunsynd outside Stop the
Show with Triton starting to make ground next. On straightening
Gay Icarus led Gossiper and Triton with Gunsynd mustering speed between
them. Gossiper soon kicked back on the inside but Gunsynd was at
full speed. By the 100m Gunsynd started to come away from the
opposition going on to win by two lengths from Gossiper with Gay Icarus
Seven days later Gunsynd
was back at Caulfield for the Caulfield Cup and this race marked the day
Gunsynd stood out from the rest for the crowds. He had been
receiving fan mail for some time but at Caulfield they announced each
runner in the Cup as the horses stepped onto the track. This
fascinated Gunsynd. He was the second horse onto the track for the
race and the huge applause rang out as he was introduced at that moment
Gunsynd stopped and pricked his ears as he looked up into the
grandstands. It is said that witnesses believed they saw the grey
horse acknowledge the applause by bowing his head before being urged to
move forward by jockey Roy Higgins. This was fine until they
announced the next horse and the applause rang out again. Gunsynd
again stopped and nodded his head but refused to move on the crowd loved
his antics and just cheered even more. When the sound final
receded he moved on to the barriers. In the race itself Gunsynd
was midfield by the 700m as Sobar raced to the front and the grey was
wide trying to make ground. On straightening Sobar had the race in
his keeping in front of Stormy Seas with Gunsynd battling on.
Inside the final 100m Sobar coasted to victory by two lengths from
Stormy Seas with three lengths to Gunsynd and a gap to the rest.
The following Saturday
Gunsynd went to the Cox Plate for his 6th race in 6 weeks. Again
he was fascinated with the public adulation. He strode out from
under the tunnel towards the track and then stopped looking up at the
stands but they remained quiet. Finally he was announced to the
crowd who went mad for the favourite and it was only then that Gunsynd
moved out onto the track. After jumping Gunsynd dropped back to
last and crossed to the rails. By the 1000m he had moved up to 8th
of the 14 runners and was starting to make ground. Around the long
turn Gunsynd and Longfella hit the front from Tauto then All Shot who
was running on followed by Magnifique. But in the straight it was
all Gunsynd as he drew away from the opposition to win from All Shot
with Magnifique third. The crowd went wild and the grey became
Australia's highest stakeswinner passing the record previously held by
Tulloch. A garland had been organised for the occasion but Gunsynd
refused to wear it and backed away everytime they tried to place it on
his neck. So instead it was presented to connections.
Gunsynd's next run was
the Melbourne Cup 10 days later carrying 60.5kg. In a field of 22
he was 13th by the 1600m and moved up to 5th on the turn. In the
straight Australia's favourite horse raced to the leading group but was
soon under siege and although he tried valiantly he couldn't catch the
lightweight Piping Lane who burst through between runners to grab leader
Magnifique and win well. Meanwhile Stormy Seas and Double Irish
joined Gunsynd and looked like flashing past but Gunsynd raised another
effort and was said to be finishing better than anything outside the
winner as he held third place and was gaining on Magnifique. At
the post Piping Lane was 1 1/4 lengths clear of Magnifique with a long
neck to Gunsynd third in a photo. As his number appeared in the
frame the crowd cheered as if the grey had been announced as the race
Four days later Gunsynd
was back for the CB Fisher Plate but while the spirit was willing
Gunsynd didn't show his usual strong finish and raced like a tired horse
finishing fourth behind front runner Scotch and Dry, Stormy Seas and
Gala Red. Gunsynd went for a three month spell before returning
for the Melbourne Autumn carnival.
First up he tackled the
Blamey Stakes over 1600m at Flemington. Turning for home the
favourite All Shot and Gunsynd were together at the tail. On
straightening All Shot kicked clear of the champ but Gunsynd gathered
his momentum to charge past with ease and chase the leader Gossiper.
He soon got there and raced past to win by 3/4 length with All Shot
filling third place. Two weeks later Gunsynd went to the Futurity
Stakes and carried the huge weight of 63.5kg into third place behind
favourite Idolou and Tauto.
In the Queens Plate
Scotch and Dry led throughout as Gunsynd chased hard but couldn't catch
the tearaway leader with All Shot third. It was then onto
Gunsynd's final Melbourne appearance the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over
2500m at Flemington. Against 5 rivals Gunsynd raced to a hard held
victory from Battleground with Altai Khan third. After the race he
was presented with a farewell rug and as the speeches were being
conducted he was taken to the edge of the mounting yard where he grabbed
one of the surrounding roses for a moment as the photographers and the
crowd starting snapping away.
Gunsynd returned to
Sydney and trainer Tommy Smith wanted to prepare him for the Sydney Cup
but his new owners who had purchased him for breeding the following
season withdrew the horse. After his Melbourne defeats and narrow
Queen Elizabeth Stakes win they didn't want to see the horse lose form
in handicap races. His first run back was the Rawson Stakes where
Gunsynd was 6th early but was challenging for the lead by the 600m.
Around the turn he raced two lengths clear and continued to gap the
opposition winning by 3 1/4 lengths from Gold Brick with Sharif third.
The Chipping Norton
Stakes over 2100m at Warwick Farm was next and Gunsynd was the
odds on favourite but a New Zealander called Apollo Eleven charged to
Gunsynd and gained the upper hand to win by a long head with 8 lengths
back to Serene Girl in third. A week later Gunsynd had his
official Sydney farewell at Randwick. Before the race he headed up
to the start and 'bowed' to the stands. As the odds on favourite
he raced away to win easily by six lengths from Dalvere and Desert Beau
and as he returned after the race the crowds lined the mounting yard
fences to welcome him back to scale.
The following week
Gunsynd has his final race start in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over
2400m at Randwick. He was the short priced favourite ahead of
Apollo Eleven. By the 250m Gunsynd hit the front but Apollo Eleven
soon ranged up and took the lead appearing that he would go on to win
easily but Gunsynd refused to give in and fought back with all he had.
The pair went stride for stride but the brilliant New Zealander proved
the better edging ahead to win by half a length from Gunsynd with five
lengths back to Gold Brick in third.
Gunsynd retired with 29
wins from 54 starts 7 seconds and 8 thirds but his affect was more than
At Goondiwindi despite
never setting foot in the town to that time Gunsynd had his own window
at the TAB whenever he raced, a lifesize statue was built as a memorial
and the town became a household name. For fans there were songs
written about the grey and the Gunsynd Hcp was run for the first time on
Stradbroke day in 1973. Memorabilia included T shirts, Flags, car
stickers, matchbox covers, postcards and posters. His antics were
renown and Gunsynd would always pose for cameras once he'd spotted one
on raceday. He was named VRC Horse of the Year in 1972 while
Woodie Wonder was named broodmare of the year and interest increased in
55000 people attended
Randwick for his farewell presentation on Autumn Stakes day and after
retiring he did a short farewell tour. A Gunsynd day was organised
at Doomben and Gunsynd took part in an exhibition gallop at Eagle Farm.
He then went to the Goodiwindi races in May 1970 in an appearance which
not only attracted the newspapers but the attention of the national
womens magazines as 5000 attended the day. Gunsynd was so popular
at stud that they had to restrict visits from fans to 'by appointment
Gunsynd is the only horse
to be successful at all of the eastern states metropolitan racecourses.
He won at Eagle Farm, Warwick Farm and Randwick as a 2yo, Doomben and
Rosehill as a 3yo, Caulfield, Flemington, Sandown and Canterbury as a
4yo and finally at Moonee Valley as a 5yo. He won races from 1000m
to 2500m retiring with the record total earnings of $280,455.
Gunsynd was retired to
Kia Ora Stud standing alongside former racetrack rival Baguette and
while he was not considered an outstanding success he has left his mark.
Gunsynd sired the multiple stakeswinners Bensynd (1974 crop), Tsunami
(1975), Midnight Gun (1977), Domino (1978) plus the well performed
Gunfilou (1982). Domino also went on to be a commercial stallion
with Gun Drift and Red Gun also sons that went on to sire larger numbers
Gunsynd's first foal to
be born was a filly called Gundy Gay from the Faux Tirage mare Highly
Gay while his final foal born was a colt produced on November 18 1983
called Silver Stetson.
influence influence on racing was probably through a couple of his
fillies and their broodmare exploits. In his first crop a filly
was born on November 15 she was named Ammo Girl and went on to produced
the Champion mare Emancipation plus her stakeswinning half sister
Appreciation. Emancipation went on to produced Royal Pardon who
later stood at stud in NSW. In 1975 another filly foal called
Candysynd was foaled she is the dam of the stakeswinning Candy Rock,
Spot the Rock and finally Swiftsynd who is the dam of the current public
favourite in Melbourne Le Zagaletta who recently passed the million
dollars in stakesearnings.
In 1980 Gunsynd made a
return to Rosehill where the now near white stallion paraded for the
crowds on Golden Slipper day. It was his final public appearance
away from the stud. The public did get another chance to see the
Goondiwindi grey on August 7 1982 Kia Ora had a parade of stallions and
he reared and pranced for the crowd.
On April 29 1983 Gunsynd
was put down. He had been suffering from inoperable nasal polyps
which had been making breathing difficult leaving the stud with no
further option. He was buried at the stud alongside Baguette who
had died not that long before.