Foote's Barleaner finally gets something to shout about
He may be getting on in years but there's plenty of life in this Barleaner.
Like all Barleaner's there's always a good story attached.
That's the case with a 6-year-old gelding about to make his race track debut.
At an age when most racehorses are getting ever-closer to the retirement paddock this bloke is just getting going.
Cambridge trainer Ben Foote is putting the finishing touches on the Danroad gelding with the quirky name in readiness for the Mount Shop 1400 at Pukekohe on Wednesday.
So where has Barleaner been all this time?
He had a few maturity issues so Dannevirke owners Barry and Helena Beatson popped the horse in the paddock and let nature run it's course.
"I put him out on the hills but I didn't forget about him," Barry Beatson laughed. "I nearly did but not quite.
"After a couple of years I thought I better do something with him and then I decided I'd been mucking around with him long enough and sent him to Ben."
Beatson had spent countless hours riding the "big, tall, skinny" horse around the farm leading young horses off him.
And where did the name come from?
Beatson's son Sam is a mate of Foote and the "boys were leaning on the bar at the sales" when they spotted the yearling "with a nice, long walk" in the parade ring.
The youngster out of a mare named after the French wine growing region Steingrubler, was knocked down to the beer drinking bidder for a thousand dollars.
"Sam rang me and said he had bought me a horse," Beatson said. "And when he told me what he cost I said 'that's my kind of horse, send him down'."
It's been a long time between drinks but the gelding hinted that patience may be rewarded when Foote sent him to the Cambridge trials a few weeks ago.
The "big, tall, skinny" horse has obviously strengthened with time and put his opponents to the sword by three lengths without being tested by jockey Zy Nor Azman.
If he takes that form into Wednesday's race a Steingrubler riesling may be in order.
Before that happens he has to get past his 7-year-old stablemate Supagroove who is having just his second start.
"He had a few problems as a young horse too," Foote said. " But one of his owners Ross MacKay really liked him and wanted to keep him.
"He had a few preps then won a trial but was tripped up by a wet track on debut."
The old-timers could be worth a gold coin in Wednesday's quinella.