The first of fifteen barrier trials at Rosehill Gardens last Friday (July 19th) generated more hype than any race run in Australia over the weekend.
How fitting it was that the winner of Saturday’s Hinkler Hcp should be almost “airborne” in the closing stages. The race is named after one of Queensland’s most famous sons, legendary aviator Bert Hinkler who in 1928 brought great acclaim to his country, to his state, and to his hometown of Bundaberg.
Todd Pannell was so busy trying to coax Despatch over the line on Saturday, he may have forgotten for a moment that he was one stride off his first Group 1 victory. By the time he arrived back at the mounting yard gate, he was fully aware this was the dream he’d been chasing for more than half his life.
There wasn’t a trace of racing in Kevin Kemp’s background, but he was besotted by horses from the moment he first sat on a pony. Most of his mates owned ponies and those kids would be out all day, every day. “If I got home before dark, Mum and Dad would wonder what the hell was wrong”, recalled Kevin.