By Duane Ranger
Gold Coast businessman, Greg Mitchell, loves his current Queensland-Trotter-of-the-Year, Our Overanova so much, he’s now gone and bought her little half-sister.
“I’ve been keeping close eyes on the family, and this horse, for a while now. Her name is Smokey Nova and she is a grey 5-year-old Monkey Bones mare. Like Our Overanova, she will be trained by Grant Dixon at Tamborine. She will have her first Queensland start next week," Mitchell said.
“I also tried to buy her older (Pegasus Spur) half-brother Flyanova from New Zealand a while back, but he failed the vet test. It will be nice to have another grey trotter going around, but we bought her primarily for breeding purposes. Anything else she does is a bonus."
In June 2013, Mitchell (G.M.S. Racing) paid $14,000 for the then named one-win Monarchy gelding, Overanova. He has since gone on to so far win 53 of his 140 starts and $406,509.
The son of Monarchy is a Listed Classic and Group winner, and he also holds two track records at Albion Park.
The 140-race veteran went a 1:59 mile rate when trotting 2:41.8 for the 2,138m stand on September 19, 2015.
Then just over two years later (December 16, 2017) he went a 2:00.3 mile rate when setting a new mark of 3:20.8 for the 2,647m standing start.
The bay gelding started from 40m behind that night and just got up by half-a-head. The 9-year-old's fastest mile is 1:56.2.
"He's still toughing it out off long marks. He's a quality trotter who has put plenty of smiles on our faces. Hopefully 'Smokey' can win a few for us as well, but don't think she will be ever as good as him. However, if she leaves us some nice foals one day then Sharon and I will be happy," Mitchell said.
“Our Overanova has been so good to us and we absolutely love him. That’s why I have bought this mare, so I can always have a part of his family with us. He’s special,” said Mitchell who has also imported other top-liners like Devil Dodger and Alleluia."
Our Overanova is the third foal (of eight) out of the five-win 21-year-old brown Sundon - Kayla Novander mare, Kayla Nova.
Smokey Nova is foal six. She was exported to Australia from New Zealand as an unraced 2-year-old in November 2015.
The striking grey had her first race in Australia at Ballarat on Boxing Day 2016. She has now had 30 starts for one win one (Ballarat, October 2017) and four placings. She finished ninth at Tabcorp Park Menangle in her last start on March 5.
"I've been watching her race in New South Wales and Luke drove her last start. I spoke to him and then Shannon (Hoffman) put her on the market," Mitchell said.
"I gave him $6,000 for her."
It’s not the first time Mitchell has imported a grey mare from New Zealand.
“My wife Sharon loves grey horses and now lightening has struck twice. In 2015 (June) we bought Millicent from New Zealand. She's not from the same family as 'the Novas', but she is also by Monkey Bones and out of a (three-win) Gee Whizz II mare, Black Onyx," Mitchell said.
When he bought her, Millicent had won five races in the South Island. When she retired in September 2016, the newly named Sharon’s Millicent had won 16 of her 87 starts, placed 18 times, and banked $99,675.
"I named her after Sharon because of her love of greys. We are now breeding from that mare and we have a rising 2-year-old Brylin Boyz bay colt and a Majestic Son weanling bay colt," Mitchell said.
“She missed to Majestic Son this year," said Mitchell who has owned and bred standardbreds for 12 years.