Thinkin’ Big wins the Gr.3 Gloaming Stakes (Lisa Grimm)
A little history for you … when Rain Lover won his second Melbourne Cup in 1969, he became the first horse since inaugural winner, Archer, to capture successive Melbourne Cups: 107 years apart.
However, it only took another six years before the feat was repeated via the Bart Cummings trained, Think Big in ’74-75: a somewhat unexpected turn of events as Think Big hadn’t won a race since his Cup win 12 months earlier and was sent out a 33/1 pop.
Queensland property developer, Peter Dunn, well remembers the upset result of 1975 and, as a long-time racing ‘tragic’, is a firm believer that you always need to think big.
That’s why Dunn and his wife June had little hesitation in naming this High Chaparral colt, Thinkin’ Big, who lived right up to his moniker on Saturday by capturing the Group Three 360DMG Gloaming Stakes over 1800m at Rosehill Gardens.
Bred by Dunn’s Dodmark Thoroughbreds and racing in his white and bottle green livery, the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott trained, Thinkin’ Big, was having just his fourth outing in the Gloaming, having won two at two and finishing third at Randwick in July.
“People have asked me if he’s named after So You Think who is by High Chaparral too and who also won a Gloaming (along with two Cox Plates and eight other Group Ones),” Dunn reveals. “However, he’s definitely named with the ultimate big race winner in mind, Think Big, in the hope that he can emulate the feats of his namesake because High Chaparral is a proven sire of stayers (eg. 2017 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling) while Thinkin’ Big’s mother, Nothin’ Leica Cat could run two miles on her head.
“We used to race quite a few horses but scaled back in recent years and currently have six in work: three with Gai and Adrian, plus horses with Bjorn Baker and Shaun Dwyer at Bendigo.
“We’ve had a bit of success over the years and Nothin’ Leica Cat was second in the (Group One) Queensland Oaks and ran fourth in the (Group One) Australian Oaks, but Thinkin’ Big will hopefully go all the way.
“Nothin’ Leica Cat is our only mare now and she’s been based at Coolmore since 2010: we sold her first foal, Stampede, who is a full brother to Thinkin’ Big and he has gone on two win six races including a Group race in Brisbane, but we have kept the rest. She is currently in foal to American Pharoah and will be covered by him again this spring.”
Thinkin’ Big is next due to line up in the Group One Spring Champion Stakes over 2000m at Royal Randwick on 6 October before heading to Melbourne for the Group One $2 million Victoria Derby over 2500m at Flemington on 3 November.
Thinkin’ Big has also been entered for the Melbourne Cup where he is currently weighted on 49 kilos (Thinkin’ Big’s granddam, Nothin’ Leica Ripa is by the Gai Waterhouse trained, Nothin’ Leica Dane who won the 1995 Victoria Derby before finishing second – with 47.5kgs – to Doriemus in the Melbourne Cup four days later).
“Gai and Adrian are exceptional trainers and strategists so we’ll be leaving it entirely up to them, but we have our fingers crossed that a High Chaparral can win two Victoria Derbies in a row (Ace High won in 2017) and two Melbourne Cups in a row,” Dunn enthused. “And while the Gloaming has been won by some very good horses over the years like Ace High, Dundeel, So You Think, Tie The Knot, Lord Revenir and even Kingston Town, none have gone on to win a Melbourne Cup.
“But hey, you’ve gotta be Thinkin’ Big!”