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Gunsynd
The Goondiwindi Grey
Foaled October 4 1967
By Sunset Hue from Woodie Wonder

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 third.

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 winner.

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 just that.

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 Sunset Hue.

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 only'.

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 of offspring.

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.

Gunsynd's biggest 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.


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