From Guineas Winner to Steeplechaser?

Media Release - Thursday February 1
A young horse who can easily clear the gates at Macedon Ranges farm Miranda Park took out the Listed Hobart Guineas on Sunday.

Wolfendale, bred at Miranda Park by Virginia Frith and trained by Darren Weir carried out a successful raid on the $100,000 Tasmanian race and is now being set for the Tasmanian Derby.

The lightly raced three-year-old secured the stakes victory by half a length under the ride of Dean Yendall over the 2100 metre distance.

Retained to race by breeder Virginia Frith, Wolfendale is owned in equal partnership with Miranda Park's owners Gary and Helen O'Meara.

"I have no illusions of grandeur, but he is a little ripper and has been a good investment in the end," Gary O'Meara said.

Wolfendale was bred out of the Carnegie (Ire) mare Skibo, who Virginia Frith's mother raced with much success in New Zealand, and is sired by former Eliza Park stallion Astronomer Royal.

"I bred quite a few to Astronomer Royal, and I particularly liked this colt, so I purchased half of him as a yearling," Gary said.

"He was only small, but when he would gallop up the hills with his group, you could see him putting in. He does the same in his races, he stretches his neck out and truly tries."

"Our farm is the perfect set up for yearlings to grow and develop, as the hills allow the colts to expel some energy and lay down good, solid bone.

"I broke him in on the farm before I sent him off to Weiry to train. From all reports he hasn't blown them away, but he may just be one of those horses that doesn't show much in trackwork, but on raceday he can step out and surprise everyone."

Wolfendale (pictured far left leading his mates on a merry run up the paddock) is a true product of Miranda Park, as his mating, foaling, rearing and breaking was all done at the farm. He even happily returns to Gary and Helen to spell.

Wolfendale had won two of his three previous starts, and now brings his near perfect record to three wins and a second from just five starts, with $93, 825 in prize money.

"He has now returned to Weir's Ballarat stables to be prepared for his attempt at the Hobart Derby on the 9th February, but unfortunately he will come up against his stablemate and toughest rival, in Civil Disobedience," Gary said.

And once his flat racing days are over, O'Meara has high hopes that he may make it as a talented steeplechaser.

"He can jump like a stag, as I remember him easily clearing a gate here one day," Gary said.

"I'm thinking down the track now he is proven to stay and has won on a heavy nine; coupled with his natural jumping ability; he potentially may be a very handy steeplechaser."

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