Tough, but talented Gal doing it her way

Jodelin Gal
Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) contender Jodelin Gal. Photo: Trish Dunell

Jodelin Gal is a feisty mare and trainer Carl Henderson has been forgiving of her attitude given the abundance of talent the five-year-old possesses.

The daughter of Swiss Ace has won five of her 12 starts, including three of her last four appearances, and will attempt to add to the family roll of honour in Saturday’s Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie on the Karaka Million card.

She is raced by breeders Ross and Corrine Kearney under their Okaharau Station banner and their colours are also carried by the mare’s half-brother and Group 3 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) winner Banker’s Choice, who is prepared for the couple by Stephen Marsh.

Jodelin Gal is a headstrong type and Henderson has felt the full force of her temperamental nature.

“She can be a bitch of a thing and has been pretty hard work right the way through,” he said.

“We work around her and in the early days she broke all my ribs. I walked into the box and she double barrelled me so she has been a difficult mare, but the tough ones are usually the good ones.”

Jodelin Gal is proving Henderson right and was a winner at Rotorua in November and, following an unlucky run at Matamata, was successful at Tauranga before she claimed open handicap honours at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

“Hopefully, we can carry it on and it’s all systems go at this stage for the Westbury Classic,” Henderson said. “I’m happy with her, she hasn’t done a whole lot of work, but she doesn’t need to as she’s a fairly clean-winded horse.

“She spends a fair bit of time in the swimming pool and she looks fantastic and is bouncing around the place so that’s all you can ask for.”

Henderson is also keen to travel Jodelin Gal further afield later this year.

“I would love to get her to Brisbane in the winter, not that they get really wet tracks there but she can handle off ground,” he said.

“There’s a few nice fillies and mares’ races over there. The Kearneys are breeding from the mother and ultimately, they will breed from Jodelin Gal so the main aim is to get some black type.

“The only reason I have run her on wet tracks is that she is not the best put together horse and she can feel the ground a bit. She can handle it and run a bit of time so we’ve looked after her.

“Someone’s got to win the races in winter and if they can handle it and you’re looking after horse at the same time, you might as well be winning along the way.”

Henderson is being kept busy at his Te Awamutu-based operation with a boutique racing team and a number of untried horses going through their paces.

“I’ve got a lot of young horses being educated, we’ve got about a dozen two-year-olds in the system and where they end up and if they race in New Zealand, I’m not sure, I’ll find out along the way,” he said.

Henderson and the Kearneys will also be represented by Tinkers Delight in the Dunstan Horsefeeds Maiden (1400m) at Te Rapa on Wednesday, and she is rated an upset hope.

“I don’t mind her chances, she has got enough ability to win a race or two, but needs things to go right. At Rotorua last start nothing did, she over-raced and got carried away after she missed the kick,” he said.

“She won’t be the worst at Te Rapa if she jumps away and gets her own rules, she might be a chance.”

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