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Duncan has long-term vision with smart filly

R1-Dzsenifer-Gary-Duncan-Sean-Cormack-2.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans 

When it comes to promising three-year-old Dzsenifer, it is all about a long-term vision for Sunshine Coast trainer Gary Duncan.

The former Atherton Tablelands-based horseman needed outstanding eyesight to first view the daughter of Scissor Kick down at the Magic Millions sales a couple of years ago.

Just hours after stablemate Wapiti claimed the Group 3 Winx Guineas in 2020 – the Duncan stable and owners quickly plotted a long-term strategy to repeat the dose this year with Dzsenifer.

It all comes to a head this Saturday on her home track as the bay filly shoots for her first taste of stakes racing over a mile.

At the 2019 Gold Coast Yearling Sales, the man they call Jack had his eye on another potential racehorse, before the filly that would become Dzsenifer grabbed his attention all of a sudden.

“I spotted her from 100 metres away actually,” Duncan recalled.

“I was looking at a horse just in front of me and I said to my wife 'just see where they put that horse there, see where she goes.'

“I could see her through the corner of my eye and once I finished looking at that horse right in front of me, we followed her and went and had a look at her.

“I could just tell she was a nice looking filly; she has a nice shape and was a nice looking horse for only $30,000, she was not expensive.

“I did well to spot her 50 yards away with what she has gone on to win so far.”

Dzsenifer has only missed out on being in the money on one occasion from her seven career starts so far, including two wins.

She was desperately unlucky last start in the TL Cooney for 3YOs at Ipswich where she was held up for a run on several occasions in the home straight before rocketing home to finish third.

Before she went for a break late last year, Dzsenifer was beaten a nose by the eventual Group 1 Queensland Derby winner – Kukeracha.

Duncan joked that leading Brisbane jockey Jim Byrne will get one more chance on Dzsenifer this Saturday after he ran into a few dead-ends in the straight at Ipswich before eventually finding clear galloping room.

The experienced trainer has photos in his phone of a then two-year-old Dzsenifer with a blue Winx hat on her head at his barn, just hours after stablemate Wapiti claimed black-type success at Caloundra around 12 months ago.

Between Duncan, his owners, and a few mates, they decided to head down the same path as Wapiti towards the Winx Guineas.

“Here it is now 12 months down the track,” Duncan said.

“That has always been the plan.

“She has been a pretty good horse from day one, we never put her in a maiden, we put her in a metropolitan race straight away.”

Races

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Sunshine Coast | Sunshine Coast Turf Club | 12:53 PM

REED RACING Class 6 Handicap

Prize money

$75,000

OxI93-6A.jpegSunshine Coast Turf Club CEO John Miller believes this year's feature three-year-old event at his club is shaping as an exciting race.

“With the Winx Guineas, it is the original Sunshine Coast Guineas that we renamed a couple of years ago, after Winx started her magical run of victories in, here at the Sunshine Coast,” Miller said.

“We love to have that association with the great mare.

“Apart from her, that has been a number of other smart horses who have won this race and gone on to win Group 1 runs, there is a few ones over the recent years.

“Hopefully we can see another star emerge here on Saturday.”

Ahead of the second edition of the newly named Winx Guineas, Miller thinks there is increased buzz and excitement around the race after adding the champion mare’s name to the title.

Originally from the Atherton Tablelands in the state’s north, Duncan laughs that he should have made the move to Caloundra many a year before he actually did around a decade ago.

“It has turned out good, when I left home, I never thought it would be like this,” Duncan said.

“I thought I would come down for three months as we had a few horses that were good enough to win in Brisbane, which they did and they kept winning and we have never left since.

“It has progressed from there and now we have 50 horses on our books, we just need more stables to fit them in.

“We have got our own farm that we have got horses at now that are spelling.

“It is a great place to train horses here at the Sunshine Coast.”

Dzsenifer’s ownership group is a nod to Duncan’s FNQ roots, with his children, some of which are based in the north, in the connections, as are the Piccone brothers – John and Peter.

The Piccone family are long-time contributors to the racing community in FNQ, serving on the committee of the Cairns Jockey Club as well as breeding and owning several gallopers over the years.

There are also some Sunshine Coast-based people in the ownership group of the promising filly, ensuring there will be happy connections from right around the state if she can salute come Saturday afternoon.

Duncan feels the field assembled for the 2021 edition of the Winx Guineas is a stronger one that Wapiti beat 12 months ago but is confident his filly is in with a big chance.

“It is the same sort of field as the other week at Ipswich and all being fair, she probably should have won last start,” he said.

“She just has to beat the same horses, if she can draw a nice barrier and with a bit of luck, she will be hard to beat.”

Being the daughter of Scissor Kick, Dzsenifer is named after Dzsenifer Marozsán, a German professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for OL Reign of the American National Women's Soccer League as well as the German national team.

 

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