Courageous performance by God’s Own 2YO, Captain Oates, to take out the Macaulay Ford Handicap over 1100m at Riverton on Saturday (3 April).
Trailing the leader into the straight, Zman Zulkifli (great name!) urged the flashy bay to the lead and then held off all comers over the final stages.
Trained by Sally and Ben Gordon, Captain Oates was sold at last year’s New Zealand Horses in Training Sale.
Captain Oates is a half brother to four winners, including Sydney sprinters Resplendent Bay and Second Choice, and is out of the Clay Hero mare, Silently Yours, a 7-time winner of $284,721.
In turn, Silently Yours is a half sister New Zealand Derby-G1 winner St Reims, plus the LKS Mackinnon Stakes-G1 winner and Melbourne Cup-G1 runnerup Champagne.
An outstanding family, Captain Oates is also closely related to 2009 Yallambee Classic-G2 winner Champagne Harmony. Eliza Park stands God’s Own (below) in conjunction with Yallambee Stud.
The second crop of God’s Owns have sold well on both sides of the Tasman with $100k yearlings sold on the Gold Coast and at Karaka, while Eliza Park sold a cracking God’s Own colt to Amanda Skiffington for $95,000 at the Melbourne Premier.
Captain Oates is named after Lawrence Edward Grace Oates, a member of the ill-fated South Pole expedition team led by Captain Robert Scott.
A cavalryman and natural horseman, Oates was left with a gammy leg after being shot in the Boer War and it was his job to look after the ponies in the bid to reach the South Pole.
As the story goes, Oates was dark brown with Scott for much of the trip due to his selection of horses (“greatest load of crocks I have ever seen”), but earned the respect of the tour leader when, with food short among the surviving four members of the team, he walked out into a minus 40 degree blizzard.
Leaving the tent, Oates announced: “I am just going outside and may be some time.”
No-one thought he was ducking down to the local milk bar and his action remains one of history’s most courageous acts of sacrifice. Not that it did the others much good, given that they perished nine days later.