Gympie crew bask in homegrown hero’s Cup success
The Melbourne Cup trophy is likely to make a surprise show-and-tell appearance at a Gold Coast primary school on Thursday for a grandparents' day celebration after Vow And Declare delivered a fairytale finish for a big group of Queenslanders at Flemington.
A syndicate of everyday Queenslanders from Gympie celebrated the horse's nailbiting Melbourne Cup win on Tuesday - the first by an Australian-bred horse since Shocking in 2009.
Noosa-based breeder Paul Lanskey has just two mares on his books and one of them - the former Brisbane-trained Geblitzt - is the mum of Vow And Declare, which blitzed a field made up of 22 internationally-bred horses out of 24 runners.
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When Lanskey could not sell the future Melbourne Cup winner as a yearling, he instead offered shares to family and friends.
He kept a share for himself and partner Helga Hueston and his sons Tom and Joe.
He also offered a portion of the horse to his nephew Anthony Lanskey, the principal of Gympie State High School, who brought in his sons Lachlan and Ben, and also good mates Kort Goodman and Bob Leitch, who is Gympie's deputy mayor.
Raise a glass to this guy, Australia. Paul Lanskey bred VOW AND DECLARE, offered it at #InglisClassic through the draft of @KitchwinHills and today he WON THE MELBOURNE CUP!! Congrats Paul. You. Are. A. Star. 👌 pic.twitter.com/SD9CwPEFI6— Inglis (@inglis_sales) November 5, 2019
The main shareholder in the horse is Geoff Corrigan, who sat as a Labor MP in the NSW parliament from 2003-2011. Corrigan is based in Camden, NSW, but has a date with his grandchildren on the Gold Coast this week.
"They have their grandparents' day on Thursday (at school) and I imagine the Melbourne Cup will be making a show and tell," he said.
For Paul Lanskey, it was a dream come true, particularly as he's been able to share it with so many family members.
"It's just an unbelievable thrill. Never in a million years … I don't even know too many people who have runners in the Cup," he said.
"To be here and be part of it and have such a good horse. Gee he's a tough horse. He was headed and I thought we were gone, a place will have to do, but he just fights back.
Lanskey has been breeding for 15 years, but only has a couple of mares, with Geblitzt calling Widden Stud in the Hunter Valley home.
"She has a Star Witness filly going to the Magic Millions and has a filly at foot by Shalaa and has just been served by American Pharoah," Lanskey said.
"I will have to try and keep a filly along the way, because it's a real top family."
For Leitch, a prominent coach of junior rugby league sides for many years in the Wide Bay, it was all too much.
"It was a very explosive end to it and all the emotions come out at once," he said.
"I am very much lost for words. Gympie's loving it mate. They're all on!"
Anthony Lanskey was more composed as his boys tried to come to grips with how fortunate they had been to buy into a Melbourne Cup winner with their first foray into ownership.
"I don't think it's sunk in. It's the dream of a lifetime," Anthony said.
"I spoke about how our family has been involved in racing for years. Grandad's brother Freddy was a trainer in Cairns and was training into his 90s.
"For the family, this is just incredible to have a horse that Paul bred. I am unbelievably proud and I'm sharing it with my boys."
Corrigan first became associated with trainer Danny O'Brien when he bought into Vow And Declare's older brother Lycurgus.
"I had a bit of good fortune with investment and I said to my wife I'd really like to get a horse," he said.
"Lycurgyus was passed in and Danny bought him, but I'd sort of fallen in love with him. So I chased up Danny and got a share in Lycurgus, then when his brother Vow And Declare got passed in I (bought into him too)."
Asked to compare the exhilaration of Melbourne Cup success with his time in parliament, Corrigan was able to draw a fitting analogy.
"It's just like waiting for a vote to come in on election day. I was in a very close margin seat, so I used to have to wait until 10 or 11 o'clock at night waiting to see if I got back into parliament. This was pretty close too!"