Riding horse produces 11th breeding success for Gavin Turner 

By Duane Ranger 

Swannanoa horseman, Gavin Turner, has now bred nine more winners than he has trained – all thanks to a 1996 Caprock mare he purchased as a riding horse for his daughter, back in 2006.

Gaving Turner with Rosie’s Rocket

“I bought Rosie’s Rocket (Caprock – Excella Vance – Vance Hanover) for my daughter Emily to ride. I noticed the mare never raced, but had left two foals previously. She was a spritely 10-year-old back then and had her papers available.  

“So, we decided to put her in foal to Man Around Town and Patrick Star (2007 Man Around Town – Rosie’s Rocket gelding) was born in December 2007. That horse later went on to give me my first breeding win at Westport (December 26, 2011). 

“I bred five more foals out of her before she left her last foal for us in 2017. She’s still in the back paddock and looks good for 26,” Turner said. 

That 2017 foal, the Turner trained, owned, and bred Sir Monty notched up his first win in his 50th race-day start in race three at Addington Raceway last Sunday (July 9) – the Bev Little MR40-45 Memorial Pace. 

It was Turner’s second training success after Rollin Thunder (13-year-old Tinted Cloud – Rosie’s Rocket) won on the Motukarara Raceway grass on November 20, 2016. 

The Turner-bred and owned brown gelding was one of the favourites that day, unlike his youngest half- brother, who was the 10th favourite of 12, and returned $39.20 to win. 

Sir Monty won easily by two-and-a-quarter lengths thanks to a lovely Sam Thornley passing lane drive. 

“Sam gave him the run to suit, and he obliged. It was a top drive. I was rapt because it’s been seven years since my last training victory. It’s been a long time between drinks. 

Smiles all round – Gavin with Sam Thornley in the winners circle

“It’s a great feeling owning and training a winner, but when you breed them it gives you more satisfaction knowing that you decided on the stallion and then produced, reared and trained him to win,” said the Quality Assurance Technician at Kaiapoi-based Hellers Products company. 

It’s been just under three years since Turner bred his last winner. That was when the Tim Vince trained Mister Slick (Mister Big – Rosie’s Rocket) won the last of his eight races at Cambridge Raceway on September 10, 2020. 

“He won more than $60,000 and did a good job for winning four races for me before being sold to Tim Vince where he then won another four races. He’s obviously the best horse I have bred. He won eight aces and my other three breeding wins have come via Patrick Star, Rollin Thunder, and now Sir Monty. 

“I like Sunday racing and so does ‘Monty’ so I think that’s where he will line up next,” Turner said. 

Turner said he enjoyed breeding from Rosie’s Rocket so much, that he has now also bred a weanling from 14-year-old Sundon – Oh Gee Anna (Gee Whiz II) three-win mare, Annabelle Lindenny. 

“The Ashby family had bred the first five foals out of her before I put her to Royal Aspirations in early 2022 and Willie B King was born on Christmas Day last year. 

“He looks great, and I have high hopes for him like all breeders do.  Annabelle Lindenny’s first foal, BJ 

Lindenny (2014 Majestic Son gelding) won seven races and then his full brother, Anna’s Boy (2017) won five races. 

“Now that Rosie’s Rocket is retired I would like breed again one day, but I think my wife, Sarah, is happy about this weanling, even though she’s not really interested in horses. 

“Why? It keeps me out of the house and out of her way,” he joked. 

For the record: 

The first two foals out of Rosie’s Rocket, which were not bred by Turner – Spirit Of Shard (2001 Spirit Of Zeus gelding), and full-brother, Grant Lea, won four and five races in New Zealand before going on to 25 ($283,428) and 19 ($196,917) respectively in Australia.