Darren Weir once gave the owners of Gotta Take Care a choice – get rid of the horse or send him jumping. Their persistence through 52 flat starts over six years for 11 wins was rewarded yesterday when the nine-year-old claimed a famous victory in the feature Galleywood Hurdle at Warrnambool.
In a remarkable training feat, Gotta Take Care won the $101,000 Galleywood just five days after winning a staying race on the flat at Flemington. The Galleywood win was Gotta Take Care’s seventh victory over jumps from 15 starts, taking his career prizemoney to more than $871,000.
Weir laughed as he recounted his advice to Melbourne brothers, Ian, Graeme and Philip Wood, who bred the gelding from a dam they paid $10,000 for 15 years ago.
“He was a slow horse until he went jumping,” Weir said.
“True story. He won an 1800 metre maiden at Mildura (in March 2009) and I said ‘you’ve got two options, you either get rid of him or jump him’. He went jumping. That’s what jumping does to them. It makes them faster, better and maybe got him switched on. That’s a terrific advertisement for jumps racing that horse.”
Gotta Take Care is now a favourite of Weir’s. His career victories are the most by any horse the Ballarat-based trainer has prepared.
“Eighteen, it’s a good effort, obviously to stay sound as well. He’s just an absolute ripper to have around the joint.”
Weir said Gotta Take Care was popular in his stables, especially with foreman Angela Taylor-Moy, who treated him like a pet.
He said the win, his second in the Galleywood, eight years after his first, meant a lot because of the horse’s spot in the hearts of people like Taylor-Moy, Irish jockey John Allen and the Wood brothers.
“He’s a ripper, he’s bomb proof, he’s got a great girl looking after him in Angela. She would have got a big thrill out of that. And a good bunch of owners.
“They have been with us for years from day dot when I was at Stawell. It’s great to return a good favour for them and get a nice horse. It’s an absolute pleasure to train this horse, and he’s just a winner.”
Weir said Taylor-Moy painstakingly cared for Gotta Take Care’s troublesome feet and did all the early morning work on him while Allen did all the work over jumps.
“Angela and Johnny, they do all the work, I just watch them.”
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