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A mistaken purchase defies her critics

By Duane Ranger

Wamuran trainer Steve Benham never once listened to his detractors that insisted his mistaken yearling sales purchase, Hurrikane Special, would never win a race.

That three-year-old filly, who was born with a near-front ‘buck’ knee, won the ninth race at Redcliffe Paceway Sunday gone by 4.1 metres.

It was her first win in 29 starts, and meant Benham could now have the last laugh on his knockers.

“The penny has finally dropped with her, she is getting stronger with every run,” Benham said.

“She’s a quick learner and should have won a couple by now, a lot of people told me she would never win a race with the legs she had.

“But (the thoroughbred) Octagonal had the same knee problem and he won 10 Group One races.

“I’ve had three vets look at the filly, and all three have said the knee might not be nice to look at but it’s definitely okay to race her.”

HURRIKANE SPECIAL

The 56-year-old Caboolture carpet layer said he mistakenly picked out the daughter of Hurrikane Kingcole at the 2018 Redcliffe Yearling Sale for his wife, Janette.

“My mate and loyal owner for more than 20 years – Bob Hunter – put the money up and we went in with him,” Benham said.

“We were after one of the four Hurrikane Kingcoles that breeder Kevin Seymour had presented that year.

“We selected one and inadvertently paid $4,000 for the wrong daughter of Kingcole.

“It was a mistake, and Bob and I thought we might as well keep her because she was a daughter from the first ‘down under’ crop of Hurrikane Kingcole.

“We wanted his offspring because we knew his yearlings had done well in the United States and Canada, winning some big races.

“In hindsight I’m rapt we bought her because sadly Hurrikane Kingcole is no longer with us, but we will be able to breed this from this filly one day.

“We will also be able to do the same with our two-year-old Hurrikane Kingcole filly, who is out of my Cammibest mare named Sookie Go Goes.”

Redcliffe

COMFORT INN NORTHGATE MAIDEN PACE 1780m

Benham has been training standardbreds since December 1992, and rated Hurrikane Special as one of the nicest three-year-old fillies he had conditioned.

“She has a few tricks but adjusts well when taught, I sent her down to Donny Smith’s for a month so she could be trained on the Redcliffe track,” Benham said.

“When I used to take her there she would charge at the entry to the track like a bull at a gate, then Donny took that bad habit away from her.

“She’s only three and has a really nice future; like I said she’s strengthened up nicely and learns quick.

“I think I will win a few more races with her, I’ve got eight horses, including four racehorses – and she’s the best of them.”

Benham received a $1,000 QBRED bonus for Hurrikane Special’s triumph, and said post-race that he thought his filly would go close after her previous couple of runs.

“She’s seldom far away, and has had so many fourths and fifths but she’s now learning to kick on from that,” Benham said.

“She ran a good fourth at Redcliffe last start, and then then before that she had the race shot to bits when clearly in front at the top of the straight.

“Then she switched off and let them past her, and she finished fourth - that run told me she wasn’t far away.

“Perhaps Taleah’s (McMullen) drive was the difference; all the McMullen’s are very good in the bike but Taleah nursed the filly around the track real well - she really ran for her.”

Hurrikane Special drew three and her gate speed saw her in front after 50 metres.

That’s where she remained, pacing the 1,780m mobile in 2:15.6 (mile rate 2:02.6), with sectionals of 31.5, 32.4, 30.7, and 29.7.

Benham has trained three winners this season and 152 in a hobby career spanning 28 years.

He said the best horse that he and his younger brother Michael had trained was the 2001 Fake Left 15-win pacer, Slithering.