Tragic end for Gobou
VIRTUALLY unwanted as a yearling before developing into a top class racehorse, Gobou the Rockhampton sprinter dubbed the "one-bid wonder" has died following a freak accident at the Gracemere property of his saddened owner Margaret Garland.
Gobou died on New Year's Eve when he reared up, lost his footing and went over backwards as he was about to be taken for a swim.
He is reported to have struck his head on impact from the fall and died instantly.
"It's nearly killed me. Gobou was like a member of the family to us - he grew to be a real pet," Margaret Garland said yesterday.
"It will take a long time to get over.
Garland's appraisal that "he was an unlucky horse. We never saw the best of him", is indeed apt as Gobou, a late-maturing horse was in some ways his own worst enemy.
Extremely popular with a broad-base following, Gobou was a powerful, strapping gelding, big in size, spirit and in heart.
He proved quite challenging and a handful as a youngster and sustained more than his share of injuries during his short but brilliant racing career.
The seven-year-old gelding, (Snaadee-Ibby Dibbs), trained by the father-and-son team of Jack and Clint Garland, raced just 17 times for 10 wins and four placings for $94,050 in stakes.
On the back of five consecutive wins at Rockhampton's Callaghan Park Racecourse culminating on June 12, 2009, Gobou had raced his way into prominence for the prestigious Newmarket Handicap there a fortnight later.
However, within minutes of his scintillating win that afternoon, he wrecked his and the Garland family's aspirations of a Newmarket dream win when he dumped his jockey and galloped back to the enclosure and skidded over, suffering serious leg wounds.
Aided by the best of veterinary care and plenty of TLC, Gobou made a triumphant return to racing first-up at the same track in November that year.
A year after his winter mishap, Gobou almost delivered the Garland's a belated dream Newmarket win when he beat all but Baqaba in the 16-strong running of the 2010 feature on June 24.
Gobou developed some niggling leg problems which restricted his subsequent career with his last win on July 29, 2010.
He last raced in May last year, but he was gearing up for a comeback to racing in the next two months at the time of his mishap.
Gobou entered the life of Margaret Garland on March 26, 2006 at the Gold Coast, when upon instinct she bought him off one bid for $2000 at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
"I just couldn't leave him in the ring," she often said.
"Nobody wanted him so that's why I bid."
Over the subsequent five years, Gobou gave Margaret one hell of a ride, fuelled by memorable wins which will always provide a special resting place for him among her treasure trove of memories.