Trainer in first win
YEARS down the track, young Rockhampton racehorse trainer Stephen Rundle will always look back with fond memories on the Rockhampton Jockey Club's 2011 Winter Racing Carnival.
For instance Stephen will be able to show proof that he entered Harvzee for the $100,000 Rockhampton Cup (1600m) albeit ambitiously, but all the same the name is indelibly printed on the weight sheet.
However, for Rundle, the first day of the 2011 carnival (last Saturday) will always have special significance.
While indeed satisfying, Rundle felt more relieved than anything after moody gelding Harvzee provided him with his first career winner.
Actually, the partners – Harvzee and Rundle – both shed their racing maiden status through winning the $7500 Maiden Handicap (1400m).
It has been a rather onerous task for both with the win coming about at Harvzee's 15th race start and at Rundle's second season into training.
“At last I've got the monkey off my shoulder,” was how Rundle described the win.
“I've had my share of placegetters but I have been so frustrated at not being able to train my first winner. I didn't think it was ever going to happen. It is very relieving to finally have broken through and especially with this horse (Harvzee) as he is quite a handful,” Rundle said.
A second-hand (tried horse) so to speak, Harvzee has his share of behavioural problems.
“When I first got him you couldn't get in the stable with him without the risk of being kicked or eaten. He's improved somewhat but still can get very cranky and impatient,” he said.
Even before last Saturday's win, Harvzee, bred in the purple being by glamour sire Flying Spur from the Snippets mare Montesantos, was his usual cantankerous old self.
“He gives you only three minutes to saddle him up before he starts kicking and biting at you. I suppose it is not all that bad now that he has won,” Rundle said.
Raced by Rundle's wife Michelle together with locals Ian Weatherall and John and Jordie Murphy and some southern friends, a less gifted horseman would despair of Harvzee's tantrums.
Rundle, 34, was highly respected throughout Queensland in the equestrian field before branching out into thoroughbred training in 2009.
He and Michelle, the proud parents of Hamish, 2, and Olivia, just five weeks, live at Barmoya where they conduct an educating (breaking-in) and spelling complex – Eldnur Lodge.
Currently, Rundle has five race horses in work and is hopeful he won't have to endure such a long wait before his next winner.