Gorky Park Gets an Update
Life as a stallion is not always what it seems.
Though thoroughbred stallions are not known for sustaining long term relationships, they usually attract a good number of admirers each spring.
But not Gorky Park, the sire of Wellington Cup winner Gorbachev. The 15-year-old son of Montjeu served just one mare last spring. Fittingly, that mare was Gimmeawink, the dam of Gorbachev.
As a $360,000 yearling buy who mixed it with the best of his generation, Gorky Park might feel that he has been unfairly rejected by eligible broodmares.
He began his stud career at Paxton Park, at Cambridge, but has spent the last three seasons at Wayne Carter’s property at Tauranga, after Paxton Park ceased to operate as a stud.
“He’s available and he’s very keen,” Carter said this week. “He’s led a pretty monastic life here, only serving about 14 mares. He keeps looking wistfully over the fence and thinking that there’s something missing from the picture. But there’s not a lot I can do to help him.
“I think he’s been well under-utilised, though part of that might be due to him being here [rather than at a more prominent stud property]. But he’s never had a lot of mares.
“He’s in good health and is good to handle.”
Gorky Park won as a two-year-old and as a three-year-old was the runner-up in the Victoria Derby, behind Efficient, and ran third in the Group I BMW and fourth in the Rosehill Guineas and Alister Clark Stakes. He was also a listed winner at three and won the Ramsden Stakes over 3200m at Flemington as a four-year-old.
However, he did not race as a five-year-old and then had four starts over the following two seasons. It meant that he went to stud as an eight-year-old, when his deeds as a young horse were no longer fresh in the memory of broodmare owners.
He served 111 mares over his first six seasons but in more than 20 cases no returns were received for the mares and only 54 live foals have been recorded.
He has had only 22 individual runners, with eight winning. He has had three individual winners in New Zealand this term, with their five wins all coming at 2000m or further.
He was imported to New Zealand by Henk Smit, who now owns the horse in partnership with Taylor. “I became interested in the horse because I had supported him myself when he was at Paxton Park and liked the horse,” Taylor said.
“But I’ve got a few around me now, so I didn’t send any of my mares to him last year, but I will this year.”
One of Gorky Park’s true supporters has been Manawatu farmer Kevin O’Donnell, who bred and part-owns Gorbachev.
O’Donnell bought Gimmeawink, a Carnegie mare, when she was carrying Gorbachev and has sent the mare back to Gorky Park twice since. He has a Gorky Park yearling from the mare and Gimmeawink was tested in foal to Gorky Park the day before Gorbachev’s Trentham triumph.
“The fact that she was in foal to Gorky Park was one of the things that originally attracted me to Gimmeawink,” said O’Donnell, who prefers to breed stayers rather than sprinters.
O’Donnell is the major shareholder in Gorbachev and races the five-year-old in partnership with Whanganui owners Paul Bardell, Joe Huwyler and Brian O’Dea.
O’Donnell has never bred or raced horses on a big scale but has had a lifelong interest in horses and racing and Gorbachev is not his first major winner.
He was also a part-owner of Distinctly Secret, who won 10 races and earned more than $1.8 million in stakes. Distinctly Secret’s wins included the Kelt Stakes and Awapuni Gold Cup (twice) and he was twice placed in a Caulfield Cup.