Unfit racing horse back on track after winning race

Beaudesert trainer Darleen Duryea with Punkenstein after the race at Beaudesert Race Club. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia
Beaudesert trainer Darleen Duryea with Punkenstein after the race at Beaudesert Race Club. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia

A HORSE who was nourished back to a healthy weight for racing has won the first race at yesterday’s Beaudesert meet.

Horse Punkenstein and jockey Larry Cassidy crossed the finish line with ease at Beaudesert Race Club’s Christmas at the Course event.

The six-year-old gelding from New Zealand began his career when he won a barrier trial and was sent to Hong Kong for racing.

He was then returned to Beaudesert trainers Darleen Duryea and Simon Hancock after under-performing in a race overseas.

Since coming home, Punkenstein has had three wins from 11 starts.

Ms Duryea said she was surprised when she saw the horse’s appearance when he arrived at the stables.

“His stable name was Bones because even though he had a beautiful coat he was all skeleton,” she said.

“He lost 90kgs which is pretty significant for a race horse.

Ms Duryea said he weighed less than 450kgs when the average weight for a racing horse was between 500 and 550kgs.

“He wasn’t in a poor or healthy condition, he was just in a very light condition,” she said.

Ms Duryea said it took months to train Punkenstein and bring him back to a healthy size for the track.

“We had him in the paddock for six months relaxing before we started race prep,” she said.

“Then we gave him another spell and he went well from there.”

Ms Duryea said there was a lot of work and time put into the horse but it was worth it in the end.

“We’re pretty proud of him and enjoy his company,” she said.

“He is six-years-old and is still learning how to race but he holds his own.”

Ms Duryea said she was pleased with Punkenstein’s performance after he gained another win under his belt.

There was heavy rain the day before the race but she said the horse was undaunted because he had a record for doing well after wet weather.

“He’s a wet tracker – when it rains, he’s happy,” she said.

Ms Duryea said she had horses in the past who have raced well after returning from Hong Kong.

“It’s not a run-of-the-mill thing but I think some horses that are sent over there don’t cope in the different environment,” she said.

“I think maybe he couldn’t handle the atmosphere over there compared to the nice country area we have here.”