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McGoverns travelling beautifully in third Central West stint

21 May 2024

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Shane McGovern celebrates a Barcaldine victory last year. Pictures: RLR Photography.

By Jordan Gerrans

Regarded by some as "gypsies” of the racing industry, the travelling McGovern barn appear to have unearthed a serious Outback Racing Showcase contender for 2024.

The husband-and-wife team of Kim and Shane McGovern produced stable newcomer Reformist at Hughenden on Saturday afternoon, claiming the ORC heat in dominant fashion.

It was the bookend of a red-letter day for the Kiwi clan as Shane snared four winners in the saddle while Kim prepared three.

All of Kim’s victories were ridden by Shane and the hoop picked up another for fellow Longreach trainer Richard Simpson.

The 66-year-old rider is on the comeback trail after a lengthy injury lay-off which made the quartet of triumphs even more sweeter at Hughenden.

“With three of them being our own, it was great,” Shane said.

“We took five horses to the races on Saturday in the truck and four came back winners.

“It was a very good day for the stable. I missed all last year with injury so it was good to be back riding. It is a big boost to get a few winners straight away.”

The nomadic McGoverns are staying at Simpson’s property and took his galloper from Longreach to Hughenden for the races on Saturday.

Kim McGovern Next Racing
Shane McGovern Next Racing
Richard Simpson Next Racing
Reformist

Shane’s haul included victories on Reformist, Plums Akimbo, Clogs and Bitontheside.

Shane is one of the most prolific riders in the Sunshine State this season, boasting a strike-rate of 25 per cent for winners and 40 for placings.

The well-travelled hoop reckons he has not ridden four winners on one program since he did so on the picnic circuit in Victoria over a decade ago.

The New Zealander has ridden across multiple states in Australia, including collecting a city winner in Victoria.

Kim and Shane travel around Australia as they please and prepare their team of horses wherever they land.

They are in their third stint at Longreach and plan to stay for the remainder of the 2024 racing campaign.

As the Central and North West racing seasons slow down over the summer months, that is when the McGoverns usually relocate to their next location.

“We get around Australia a bit – people call us gypsies and the rest of it,” Shane said.

“We have a horse truck and a caravan – we can travel anywhere so that is what we do.

Shane McGovern rides at Barcaldine last year. Pictures: RLR Photography.

“I ride out West mainly so I thought we may as well come out and stay for a bit.”

Before lobbing in Longreach, the team also spent a lengthy period of time at Yeppoon in Central Queensland.

They have been in Longreach for the last couple of months and plan to stay until the back end of 2024 before making a call on where their future lies.

Shane says they would like to race across Western Australia at some stage so that could be the next option.

Before all that happens, the Outback Racing Showcase Final looms large for the stable.

The Outback Racing Showcase series consists of six heats before a $30,000 Final at McKinlay in late June.

The annual ORS is a popular series in the bush.

To be eligible to compete in the Final, a horse must have earned points in a minimum of one of the six heats and a horse must have competed in a minimum of three events at country level in Queensland over the last year.

Reformist winning at the Gold Coast Polytrack for Peter Quinlan and Paul Hammersley earlier this year. Picture: Greg Irvine - Magic Millions.

Reformist put his name up in ORS lights with a striking win at Hughenden on Saturday over 1400 metres in an Open Handicap.

The seven-year-old gelding set a new track record in the process in his dominant victory on Saturday.

Shane is of the belief that there is plenty more in the tank of the former Peter Quinlan-prepared galloper.

The McGoverns spent just $3,000 on the son of Dissident, with Saturday being his second start under their banner. 

“He has settled in very nice,” the rider said.

“I have not tapped him with the stick yet. Setting the track record the other day, I was telling the wife that I did not feel like we were going that quick but we must have been.

“He still has another gear to go to.”

The ORS heats continue early next month at Tambo before the last two heats are hosted at Mount Isa and Longreach.