By Duane Ranger
Barb Barry has waited nearly half century for a potential star to come along, and now the Cornubia horsewoman thinks she has finally bred, owned, and trained a pacer better than her 1996 Holmes Hanover mare, Bonnie Shelia.
“She was the best racehorse I had bred, up until now,” Barry said.
“Bonnie Shelia won 16 races, including seven or eight in a row but it’s just a shame she had bad feet, because she would have won a lot more.
“She left two foals – the second of them being the 2008 six-win Blissfull Hall mare, I’m A Bonnie Sheila - who is the mother of Sheza Bonny Sheila.
“SBS is a real sweetheart, I’ve never ever had a Group winner before but potentially I think she might be the closest to it I get.
“Her older half-brother, and only sibling so far - Ginger Micky (by Flightpath), ran fourth in the Breeders Challenge Final at Menangle last June.”
Sheza Bonny Sheila and Adam Sanderson dealt to the four colts, two fillies, and one gelding, by an increasing 14.6m in Saturday’s $20,000 Garrards 2YO Classic.
The brown daughter of Betterthancheddar paced the 1660m in 2:00.1, which equated to a 1:58.4 mile rate.
It was just her third start after running second to My China Doll and Talent To Spare at Albion Park on March 10 and 17 respectively.
Sanderson had the race won at the start after he blasted the filly off the gate from barrier six, resulting in a slick 28 second first quarter.
Her remaining sectionals were 31, 29.1, and 28.4.
“She races under my husband Graeme’s (Haggar) name, and I’m down as the trainer,” Barry said.
“He’s always liked the trots but runs our businesses these days, we’ve got three in work and she is by far the best of them at this stage.
“After she finishes racing one day, I’m sure she will make a good broodmare, herself.”
The 58-year-old trainer was very confident her pride and joy would go close on Saturday night, especially after the way she was tearing around on the morning of the nine-race meeting.
“She was squealing and running around like she knew it was race-day and when I left home I thought she would be hard to beat,” Barry said.
“She’s such a lovely horse to do anything with, but on race-night she was in charge, she was leading me around and that’s why you never tell a filly what to do - you always ask them.”
The 58-year-old Barry also paid a tribute to Charlie Cini, Jason Carkeet, Paul Diebert, Sanderson, and sponsors, the Garrard family.
“Charlie doesn’t break many in any more, but he did a couple for me including this girl - he did a real good job and he’s one of the best horsemen going around,” Barry said.
“Jason and Paul also did a lot of the early prep with her, it was just a shame Paul was committed to another drive when she made her race debut, otherwise he would still be on her.
“But I can’t take the drive away from Adam now. He’s done everything that has been asked of him and he’s really starting to get to know the horse really well now. He was really impressed with her after the race – and so was I,” Barry said.
“There would be no races if it wasn’t for sponsors like the Garrards Because they do so much for the industry, we often take them for granted and without them we would all struggle.”
Barry said Sheza Bonny Sheila has earned a little break and would now be spelled for 10 days.
“She will target the Breeders race in late May and she’s done all that we have wanted from her so far this term,” Barry said.
“Ten days will be just enough before she starts piling on the water again.
“I tell you she’s the best eater and most natural pacer I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around horses for more than half a century.
“But you can’t get too carried away in this game, it only takes one little incident and you can be back to square one again.”
Meanwhile, the McMullen siblings, Peter and Narissa McMullen, recorded the individual highlights of the meeting when winning two races apiece.
Peter won behind favourites, Timeless Appeal ($2.60) and Glenferrie Hood ($1.90), in races four and five, with both horses trained by McMullen’s wife, Chantal, and Wayne Graham, respectively.
Narissa drove the less fancied Ron Sallis trained Major Currency ($9) and the Stephen Cini trained Macey Jayde ($8.40), winning the first two races on the programme.
Overall, nine different trainers won the nine races in front of another spectator-less crowd - a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.