Browne and Wood combo strike in St Leger

If Cambridge trainer Chris Wood has a horse racing in Queensland, it’s a good bet that he will be looking up former Kiwi jockey Damian Browne.

Browne was successful on the Wood-trained Guns At Five in last Saturday’s $50,000 Dixon and Dunlop St Leger at Trentham. It was his first ride on the son of Duelled and he rode a perfect race, guiding the
four-year-old to a half-length win over Chaparrone.

“It was a top ride,” confirmed Wood. “It’s only the second time Damian has ridden for me. The other time was years ago at Riccarton when he rode Strong Suit and he won on him, too.”

That win on Strong Suit, who was part-owned by Wood, was actually 19 years ago, at the March 12, 1993 meeting at Riccarton. Strong Suit then  went on to win a race in Australia.

Guns At Five is also Australian-bound, but just when he will cross the Tasman is uncertain.

“I bought him for Ken Biddick in Melbourne and he’ll eventually be heading off to be trained by Matthew Ellerton (and Simon Zahra) at Flemington,” said Wood. “The plan was to go over after this race, but Ken is
now keen for me to take him over and give him one run then bring him back then get him up again and send him over. But he’s been up for a while and it mightn’t be a good idea to take him right now. I’ve left it up to him and he’ll email me through what he wants to do.”

Guns At Five was originally trained at Hastings by Sue Thompson-Brown and was second on debut before joining Wood’s stable last February. After a couple of early placings for Wood, he broke through for his
maiden win at Gisborne over 1600 metres last November.

He then completed a hat trick of wins in January.  The winning streak started over 2000 metres at Matamata on December 21 then he won over 2200 metres at Woodville on January 7 and captured the Virginia Turner Summer Cup (2400m) at the Wellington Cup meeting.

Guns At Five’s next two starts resulted in an eighth at New Plymouth and a sixth of nine in the Nathan’s Memorial Handicap at Ellerslie. “He got shunted back at New Plymouth and got going when it was all over,” said Wood. “And in the Nathans he struck a wet track. He needs good ground.”

Guns At Five got conditions to suit last Saturday and came with a strong burst centre track to win in the style of a stayer sure to win more races.  Browne was impressed with the performance and says he won’t be hard to place in Australia.