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Monday, October 12, 2009

Goondiwindi, Queensland

Goondiwindi is situated on the Queensland and New South Wales border and is marked by the McIntyre River. But the town is most famous for the thoroughbred racehorse Gunsynd.

Looking across to New South Wales

Gunsynd - the Goondiwindi Grey, was one of the most loved horses ever to race in Australia. He was famous for his courage, he never gave up and usually ran under crushing weights. Just when everyone thought he had no chance, when he heard the roar of the crowd cheering him on, he would respond by trying his heart out. And that's why everyone loved him.

As a yearling, when he was being transported to the sale yards, he knocked his leg which left a nasty lump. In 1969 four good friends from the little Queensland town of Goondiwindi were also going to the Brisbane sales and were having a beer in their local, the Victoria hotel. They were ‘Winks’ McMicking, George Pippos, Bill Bishop and Jim Coorey. They wanted to try their luck at the local country races so they got together and put in $1000 each in the kitty and set off for the sales.
Winks McMicking had actually tried to buy Gunsynd's full sister 12 months ago and was disappointed when he missed out on the bidding. Winks had sought professional advice about the lump and was told it wouldn't be a problem. He then spent a good part of the day telling everyone who would listen that the lump on his leg could be a serious problem. Not surprising then when his lot was called, there weren't many bidders and the price was knocked down to $1,300.

Victoria Hotel
When Tommy Smith took over as trainer he had 32 starts for 17 victories and only one unplaced run. The following spring he won the W.S. Cox Plate, and ran a magnificent third in the Melbourne Cup under a staggering 60.5 kilos.

Tommy Smith

He was a very affectionate horse and would stand perfectly still while children crawled all over him. They even wrote a song about him - The Goondewindi Grey. Sadly he suffered from cancer and was humanely euthanized at the age of 16.