Kimber’s King Eyes Wagga Gold

FIVE year old galloper Corleone King, trained at Young by Gary Kimber, will go around the sentimental favourite for Friday's Ladbrokes Wagga Cup Final (525m).

Adam Dobbin

22 May 2019

FIVE year old galloper Corleone King, trained at Young by Gary Kimber, will go around as the sentimental favourite for Friday night’s Ladbrokes sponsored Graeme Hull Memorial Wagga Cup Final (525m).

64 year old Kimber, who trains Corleone King alongside partner Vicki, was tragically caught up in a horror car accident back in May 2016, leaving the Young-based trainer with numerous broken bones and brain injuries, confined to Westmead Hospital for 8 ½ months, two of which in an induced coma.

“After going through what I’ve been through I’ve learnt to take whatever happens on the chin, the family and the dogs have given me plenty to look forward to over the past few years,” said a resilient Kimber.

“Vicki and I share the work here with the dogs but to be truthful I get by far the easier of it – just don’t tell her that!”

Last Friday night at Wagga, Kimber landed the opening heat of this year’s Wagga Cup with Corleone King, the son of Smooth Fancy and Mary Corleone leading all-the-way in a slick 30.32, his 26th career victory.

The remaining two Cup heats on a terrific card of racing went the way of Frank Hurst’s star littermates Good Odds Meghan and Good Odds Buddy, ultra-impressive running 30.10 and 30.14 respectively at their Wagga debuts.

And to give you an idea as to the longevity that Corleone King has displayed throughout his 87 start career, the veteran galloper, who celebrates a fifth birthday on Wednesday, debuted way back in December 2016, five months prior to Good Odds Meghan and Good Odds Buddy even being whelped.

In fact, just two of Corleone King’s rivals in this Friday night’s Cup decider were born at the time of his race track debut.

“I hide his birth certificate away – he doesn’t need to know how old he is, he’s still younger than me,” chuckled Kimber.

“When I had the accident Corleone King went down to Dave Geall in Victoria where he won his first 12 races. He’s won another 14 since he’s been home. He’s a fast dog, he’s a good dog and he’s a smart dog. He knows the routine inside out at home and on race day it’s all business – he’s a mighty chaser. But I mainly put his longevity down to the TLC Vicki gives him and the others, they are just adored and respond well to that.”

While Corleone King has been the kennel star for Gary and Vicki, the entire litter continue to be wonderful money spinners, so far winning 55 races.

Included in that list is Strickland, third in last year’s Wagga Cup behind Gunshot Ridge.

“The whole litter have been very good to us but we’ve had some issues with the girls along the way – as you do,” added Kimber with a wry smile.

“Sadly we lost their mum Mary (Corleone) about 10 months ago now. She got bitten by a brown snake out in the yard, we were just making plans to breed a second litter with her as well.”

Kimber ventures to Wagga this Friday night with a handful of hopefuls, and whilst on face value box six doesn’t look ideal for Corleone King in the $10,000 to-the-winner Wagga Cup decider, his trainer is remaining as optimistic as possible.

“He really gets going after about 50m; he lost the first turn in his heat so I reckon he can find a few lengths on the clock if he handles the turns better,” added Kimber.

“He likes Wagga but he loves Goulburn – he ran second in the cup here. Being drawn wider on Friday should mean he can run into the corner and with the better chances drawn around him, it probably evens things up. Whatever happens will happen, he’ll be doing his best, his first section should have him thereabouts.

“I’ve got a few good assets here but without doubt my best asset is my partner Vicki. She was a horse enthusiast and the way she is with the dogs and the affection she gives them is remarkable. And they thrive and respond to that.”

Click here for Friday night’s Wagga fields and form