Mate emulated and now to go one better

Paul Gordon wanted to emulate his mate Colin Fache and now that he’s done it, he is ready to take the next step.

The Cambridge trainer celebrated his biggest success when he prepared Khemosabi to win last Saturday’s Listed $65,000 Waikato Stud Opunake Cup. It was his fourth win as a trainer and easily surpassed the previous one he had with Khemosabi and the two with Golden Sabre.

Gordon, who works at Paul Smithie’s Monovale Farm, was born and raised in Taranaki and begin his thoroughbred education working for the late Malcolm Smith when he was training at New Plymouth.

“That’s why winning this race meant so much to me,” said Gordon. “I’m a Taranaki boy and a mate of mine, another former Taranaki boy, is Colin Fache. He won the Opunake Cup and I was talking to him during the week and told him I’d love to win it, too.”

Fache, who trains in Te Aroha, won the 2007 Opunake Cup with Kenadaad, who later went on to contest the Group III Winter Cup at Riccarton, but finished only 10th in the feature.

Now Gordon is chasing the Winter Cup on August 4 and he has a good chance to shade his old mate. Gordon says Khemosabi is on track for the trip south.

“He was a bit tired after the race, but he’s bounced back,” said Gordon. “He’s jumped up 10 rating points for his win last Saturday, but I’m not complaining. He was lucky to even get a run in the Opunake Cup being on 82 (points).”

Khemosabi was on the ballot and Gordon took the gamble of a start, electing to head south instead of Ruakaka, where the horse was also entered. And with Jonathan Parkes in the saddle, Khemosabi annihilated a good field, leading throughout and racing away in the home straight to win by five and a quarter lengths.

Part of the prize for winning the Opunake Cup is free transport to Riccarton via Taranaki Horse Transport. But Gordon won’t be taking up the full offer.

“I only want to get down there a couple of days before the race,” said Gordon. “The float goes down earlier in the week so he’ll fly down on the Thursday morning. He’s not the easiest horse to work so it’s best to do as much as we can back here at home.”

Khemosabi has now won five of 21 starts and earned over $113,000 in prizemoney. This latest win would have been noted with interest by former Cambridge trainer Paul Duncan, who is now training in Queensland.

Duncan prepared Khemosabi for a couple of wins before the horse went to Sydney to be trained by Joe Pride. Khemosabi won first-up at Randwick for Pride on a heavy track then the improved footing didn’t suit the horse.