’My heart almost jumped out of my chest’
HORSE RACING: Rockhampton’s Darryn Nufer knew Supergiant could be something special when he watched him blitz The Candy Man in a televised exhibition gallop in March.
The part owner’s excitement was warranted.
The New Zealand-born bay gelding has continued in that winning vein, and now boasts three wins and a second from five starts, with career earnings of $112,000.
His most recent win came on Saturday at Eagle Farm in the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic, in which he edged Ballistic Boy and beat home Chris Waller’s boom horse, Kinane.
Nufer, one of 20 owners with a share in Supergiant, said it was a momentous win – and one that should see the horse’s value skyrocket.
The ownership group declined an offer from Hong Kong after Supergiant’s second placing in the Doomben Guineas earlier this month.
They decided to “roll the dice” and head to the Gunsynd Classic and take on rising star Kinane, whose owners had also knocked back an offer from Hong Kong, reportedly worth $2.8 million.
“What a thrill to win a Group 3 race named after a legend of the Australian turf, ‘The Goondiwindi Grey’ Gunsynd, at your fifth start in a race,” Nufer said.
“I’ve got to say though, I jumped up out of my seat and my heart almost jumped out of my chest when Supergiant and Ballistic Boy hit the line locked together in a photo finish.
“I thought after leading all the way we’d got beat right on the post, because the other horse had the momentum.
“There was one swear word used a number of times, and the wait for the result felt like forever.
“Even after seeing the initial replays you couldn’t tell who’d won it was that close, or at least I couldn’t.
“After Saturday, the offers from Hong Kong have got bigger for Supergiant.
“It’s a nice situation to be in but it doesn’t really help the nerves.”
It was an emotional win for Nufer, who is continuing the legacy of his late father, Ray.
“When we’d won, I’m not ashamed to say that I did shed a tear or two.
“I thought about my dad straight away. He was my racing influence.
“Later upon reflection, it gave me joy knowing that I’d carried something on that I’d shared with dad, not just a love of racing but another memory.
“I remember as a kid, asking dad why he always backed the Kiwi horses when they came to Brisbane each year for the Winter Carnival - he did it religiously.
“His response was: ‘If it’s good enough for Bart Cummings, then it’s good enough for me’.
“Dad said Bart always went to New Zealand to get his good horses because that’s where the best horses come from.
“Over the years that stuck with me, especially when looking at staying races, and it’s probably also why my favourite horses ever were Sunline and Lion Tamer – both Kiwis.”
His dad’s belief has proven true for Nufer.
“As rubbish as 2020 has been in general terms, it’s been okay for me racing wise, winning the Echuca Cup (Victoria) in March with ex-Kiwi horse Hanger, and now my other Kiwi lad Supergiant doing what he has done,” he said.
Supergiant is on target for a possible re-match with Ballistic Boy and Kinane in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2200m) to be run at Eagle Farm on June 6.