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Enzed In Retirement

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Gay3 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 04 May 2015 at 1:34pm

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His trainer Allison Bennett described him as a "tough tough horse", he has an impressive CV, which includes wins in the Grand National Hurdle, Bairnsdale Cup and Gippsland Horse of the Year, at his prime he lived the high life and loved the limelight! These days he enjoys his retirement, is known only by his nickname (Flipper), hangs out in a lush paddock at Ponton family property at Boolarra with his best mate Jack (former racehorse Carulli), is pampered, fussed over and regularly ridden by long time Bennett stable employee Meaghan Ponton.

Career facts
- 87-10-8-7 $528,618
- Career highlights Victories in 2005 Grand National Hurdle, 2007 Clarke
Steeplechase, 2004 Bairnsdale Cup, Flemington flat and novice hurdle, and all other wins. Placing in 2007 Australian Steeple, 2004 Moe Cup and 2007
Houlahan Hurdle.
- 2004-2005 Gippsland Horse of the Year.
- Born on 30/11/1998.
- By Dolphin Street (thus the nickname FLIPPER) from Sweet Glory (by All Glory).
- Debuted at 3 at Moe on 13/11/2001 (was victorious with Peter Mertens on board).
- Retired at 9 after running at Flemington on 31/05/2008 (ran 4th in Clarke Steeplechase with Brad McLean in saddle).
- Won 6 races with Allison Bennett as trainer, and 4 under the care of Barry Bennett.
- City winner on flat and jumps (both hurdle and steeplechase).
- Winning tracks Flemington (four times), Moe (twice), Werribee, Geelong,
Bairnsdale and Sandown.
- All wins on Heavy or Slow tracks.
- Winning jockeys were Lonagan Milham, Jamie Evans (twice), Peter Mertens, Brian Constable, Andrew Findlay, Greg Childs, Michael Walker, Vlad Duric and Nicholas Ryan.
- Won from 1200-4300 metres
- Jumps 11-3-3-0

Enzed is one of a number of horses journalist Tony Kneebone and his wife Angie, Barry and Judy Bennet, Rob and Maria Vella raced together, the partnership had a tremendous strike rate, with a majority of their gallopers tasting city success. When Enzed won the Grand National Hurdle Tony Kneebone was quoted as saying, “We consider ourselves very lucky owners, we know so many who have never had a winner.”

Tony Kneebone's involvement in horses began in the mid 1980’s when he raced a handy galloper called A BON MARCHE on lease with fellow journalists Daryl Timms (now with Herald Sun and trains the odd galloper at Cranbourne) and Dennis Jose, the horse purchased by the Dennis Jose for a $200. A BON MARCHE was succesful at metropolitan level for the syndicate, and a great introduction to racehorse ownership for Tony Kneebone.

Tony Kneebone was keen to increase his involvement, and asked his well known and highly respected racing writer father Alf (New Zealand based) to keep and eye out for a potential horse. Alf was regarded as a good judge of the horses, and sourced a nice filly, working slick times, as luck would have it, all was wasnt well, with the owners in dispute, a $15,000 offer was made and quickly accepted! Tony Kneebone sold a third share in the filly to friend Rob Vella, and then rang Moe trainer Barry Bennett (highly successful country trainer, including 1991 Manikato Stakes winner SONIC EXPRESS). The two men had never met or spoke previously, but Tony Kneebone had noticed that Barry Bennett had a very good strike rate, and by the end of the intial telephone call, Barry Bennett was the owner of a third and new trainer for the filly. She would step out for the new connections in the spring of 2001, named My Saturn Star, she had been moderately succesful winning one of her six starts in New Zealand.

My Saturn Star was just beaten on her Melbourne debut, but quickly established herself as a classy and consistent filly/mare, winning races at Moonee Valley and Caulfield on her way to a LISTED race victory in the Zeditave Stakes. She ran a great to Roman Senator in the Group 3 Lightning Quality at Eagle Farm and retired in 1993 as the winner of $130,000. Tragically the valuable and much loved mare died whilst producing her first foal, a Geiger Counter filly, in September 1995.The filly would survive and later race as Carla Joy (Carla being My Saturn Star's stable name), became a special horse to her owners and they were rapt when she was able to win at Moonee Valley at her debut in December 1998.

At around the time the racing career of My Saturn Star was drawing to a close, Tony Kneebone again set his father Alf the task of sourcing another galloper for the group. The astute Alf found a nice daughter of All Glory, who he thought might make the grade. The filly was purchased for $2400 at a ready-to-run sale, she would race as Sweet Glory, winning five races and $137,000 for connections. Apart from her wins, she ran second in an 1994 Adelaide Cup (behind Our Pompeii), was placed in the 1995 Perth Cup, as well as giving her owners the thrill of a life time, the joy of a Melbourne Cup runner. It rained on the day (Melbourne Cup Day 1994), and Sweet Glory needed a firm track, she finished 17th with Peter Shepherd aboard, behind the imported galloper Jeune (a sign of things to come), so there was no fairy tale ending. Sweet Glory retired to stud in 1995.

Sweet Glory's first foal was sold as a yearling, and was lightly raced maiden winning galloper called Kenvars. Her second foal by Clay Hero, was retained by the owners, was named Patella (after the managing owners surname), and looked set for a star studded career. He won twice winning in exciting style as a three-year-old, was taken north for the 2001 Queensland Derby, unfortanately he found trouble in the run, the wash up being a bowed tendon. The Bennett's tried everything to resurrect his horse’s career, but he again went amiss a week before his return to racing and was retired.

It was also in that year Sweet Glory died giving birth to a foal by Bianconi (which also died). Tony Kneebone would later say, " Everyone was very close to Sweet Glory, her passing makes Enzed’s victories all the more significant. You just have to enjoy it when you can". The syndicate were left with a unraced three year old called Pushkin (a cleverly named son of Baryshnikov), a two year old dolphin street gelding (later to be named ENZED), a yearling full sister to Enzed (later to be named Ameya).

ENZED had his greatest day at the races on GRAND NATIONAL HURDLE DAY in 2005. Leading into the race, trainer Allison Bennett (Barry's daughter) was a nervous wreck, while her father loved training jumpers, Allison Bennett had to be coaxed into it by Enzed's owners who include her mother and father, Angela, Tony and Alf Kneebone.

In the run Enzed (Jamie Evans in the saddle) enjoyed a beautiful trail behind the early leaders Personal Drum and Redmark, there was a sensation with a lap to travel when the favourite Vazoom was pulled up by his rider Gerrard Gilmour when his saddle slipped forward badly. Enzed strode to the front with 1100m to travel and dashed clear in the straight, scoring by three lengths from Mister Twister and Sissano.

Allison Bennett said post race, "I couldn't watch it (was in the female jockeys' room while the race was on with trainer Therese Patton talking her through it)! Jumps racing is something I'd never thought I'd get in to. It's a bit surreal. My previous best wins were the 2001 Bagot Handicap at Flemington with Makibaoh and the 1998 Moe Cup with Nick's Verdict."

At the Annual Gippsland Racing Awards ENZED was award the 2004-2005 Gippsland Horse of the Year, clinched by his Grand National Hurdle and Bairnsdale Cup wins for the year. When asked by Awards night compere Brian Marcovic what it felt like to win the big race? Allison Bennett said “I was sobbing like an idiot. I couldn’t watch and Therese Patton was calling the last stages of the race for me. I am just not comfortable with the jumps racing. I’m certainly not an advocate for banning it, but I just can’t watch it. Once it was over the feeling was euphoric, but a bit surreal. I was just so thrilled for Dad (Barry) as this was his dream and I must admit I felt a bit like an imposter. I was in hospital (getting over a track fall) when dad dragged him off to the jumps trials, it was his idea."

Barry Bennett (part owner) told the audience at the Awards night, "It's a great thrill to win this award against such good opposition. On behalf of the owners I would like to thank Allison for her dedication to staying with racing. I also thank her for agreeing to train a jumper as she’s not a jumping fan! I also have to thank Edwin Batt for saying a couple of years back he thought the horse would make a good jumper. He has also been the strapper for the horse and he’s not a well behaved animal on race day. He’s not a horse you can put in a stall and he likes to do the leading around the yard. When you have to be at a Melbourne race two hours before the start this is quite an effort. We’ve had a few strappers who are not keen to go to the races when “Flipper” is going. Edwin put up his hand to do the job and he has done it well. I also must thank jockey Jamie Evans for his efforts."

With Grand National Hurdle now on his CV, ENZED raced on through the winter, to take advantage of his superior wet track ability, he was rewarded with a 2800 metre flat victory at Flemington with then young gun rider Nicholas Ryan in the saddle, and after running last in the Bagot Handicap on the 2nd January 2006, he went for a well earned spell! Unfortanately disaster would strike and FLIPPER would never be quiet the same, but he was tough and courageous, what happened would have ended most horses career but not FLIPPER.

Whilst having some rest and relaxation ENZED became stuck in an electric fence, nearly cutting his hind leg off in the process! He required blood transfusions to be kept alive, his racing days appeared to be over! Meaghan Ponton said this week, "He was a tough horse, he nearly died, he nearly chopped his back leg off while spelling.He spent something like 7-8 months in bandages and remarkably came back 18 months later and won the Trevor Clarke Steeple."

ENZED resumed after 38 weeks off, a the life and death struggle, and after a long flat build up, where he should none of his old zest, FLIPPER went jumping and againgst the odds had a highly succesful campaign! He ran 2nd in a Sandown Steeple, 3rd in the Houlahan Hurdle, won the Clark Steeplechase, ran 2nd in the Australian Steeple and 5th in the Grand National Steeple. A super effort for a horse that many thought was finished.

It was the Clark Steeplechase where the emotion and joy flowed, FLIPPER had returned and WON after remarkably beating death 18 months prior. With Brian Constable aboard, ENZED proved too good for Virvacity and Ima Tycoon. Allison Bennett was estatic post race, after her dour and determined charge brave victory, telling the media, "I've never watched him go over the jumps, sometimes I'll look at the screen but look away when he's about to go over a jump. Today's win was just so satisfying.There's been a lot of hard work put in by myself and my father Barry, to get the horse back to the races. Enzed was one of Australia's finest jumpers, comprehensively winning the 2005 Grand National Hurdle at Flemington before sustaining an injury that threatened his career."

Allison Bennett, is as tough as they come, dont be sucked in by the movie star looks, she has endured plenty of ups and downs in racing, broken a leg, smashed her shoulder and elbow, and even lost half her pancreas in track falls, she said this week of her former stable star, "He's a tough tough horse, he went for a spell and nearly cut his hind leg off in a fence, and amazingly came back and won the Trevor Clarke steeplechase afterwards! I wish I had a few like him now!"

You can be assured FLIPPER is enjoying his well earned retirement, hanging out with his mate JACK, watching the cows move around the adjoining paddocks, following the movements of BONNIE the Sheep and KENZIE the Golden Retreiver, whilst being pampered and spoilt by Meaghan Ponton just like he was in the twilight of his career.

Experience is something you gain a few minutes after you could have used it!
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Lord Hybrow View Drop Down

Joined: 05 Jul 2015
Location: Australia
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lord Hybrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2016 at 5:07pm
I read in the Winning Post paper last week that Brian Constable, who rode Enzed to his last win in the Trevor Clarke Steeple of 2007, had to make the gut wrenching decision to have an injured leg amputated.

Apparently, the leg just wouldn't heal and after years of infections, surgery & pain, Brian had to make that awful decision.   Hope his spirits are OK and he recuperates well.
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