Takedown – The Long and The Shorts of Winning

Takedown (pic. Lisa Grimm)


The victory of Takedown in Saturday’s Group Two Bowermans Furniture The Shorts at Randwick was a telling mix of the highs and lows experienced in the thoroughbred industry.

For trainer, Gary Moore, it was truly something special and his show of exuberance immediately after the win showed that even after a lifetime of involvement, you never get blasé about winning.

Breeder and part-owner, Antony Thompson, has been around horses from day one too, but the win was bitter sweet in the extreme, given that his Widden Stud had lost Takedown’s prized sire, Stratum, just five days before the race from a heart attack.

“It was a terrible loss … not only a great stallion but a wonderful horse too,” Thompson points out. “Takedown is one of 30 stakes winners (4 Group One) for Stratum and he’s out of the Zafonic mare, Apamea. It’s really quite ironic: the mare hasn’t produced a foal for the last three years but has since been tested in foal to Stratum from one of his early covers this season.

“Stratum is one of five Golden Slipper winners we’ve stood or stand at Widden: Todman, Vain, Marscay, Stratum and Sebring, and Stratum has the distinction of being a Slipper winner who produced a Slipper winner (Crystal Lily) from his first crop. We’ll certainly all miss him.

“As for Takedown, that certainly helped to bring the mood up. He was destined to go to Easter as a yearling but didn’t scope so well, so we decided to race him with (co-breeder) Rob Anderson.

“Gary Moore was just starting up in Australia and the Moores have been really good family friends for a long time and we decided to send the horse to him. It’s worked out very well.”

Moore certainly thinks so and must be awarded first prize for the most high spirited reaction by a trainer in quite some time.

Racetracks are a hotbed of emotions and, while it’s expected that owners will produce their share of hootin’ and hollerin’, trainers are usually a tad more reserved. Not so Moore.

A Champion jockey and trainer, Moore was so taken with Takedown’s success that he raced out on to the track to greet the returning hero. To the joy of the crowd, albeit to the bemusement of assembled media, Moore evaded questions as he took off, jumping and clapping, then scooting down the Randwick turf.

Even 24 hours after the race, Moore was still on a high and has big plans for his charge.

“Dad would be looking down from above and be very pleased with that win,” Moore enthused. “Takedown has previously won three Group Threes (Canberra Black Opal, Schweppervescence, Gold Coast Guineas) but The Shorts was my most prestigious win since I started training in Australia.”

(A son of the legendary Australian jockey, George Moore, Gary was a Champion Jockey in France – piloting Gold River to success in the 1981 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – a Champion Jockey in Hong Kong on seven occasions and Champion Trainer in Macau eight times before returning to Australia two years ago where he has 30 boxes at Rosehill).

“I really think this horse (Takedown) has a tremendous amount of ability,” Moore adds. “He will next start in the (Group Two) Premiere Stakes at Randwick on 1 October and, owners willing, I’ll then take him down to Melbourne for the (Group Three) Moonga Stakes at Caulfield. There’s also another good Group race on Oaks Day that might suit.

“He’s definitely a horse on the way up and we’ll also consider the Longines sprint race in Hong Kong in December – he might be facing the likes of Chautauqua and Buffering in Hong Kong but my bloke is only a 4YO and improving all the time.

“Ultimately, I would like to take him to Royal Ascot for the Golden Jubilee: I know it seems like a big step up, but he has very good gate speed and, having ridden there, it will suit his style of racing.”

Just imagine the reaction if Takedown did take ‘em down at Royal Ascot!

The Power of Passion