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Start Wondering hits Group One glory again

Start Wondering (inside) wins the Gr.1 NRM Sprint

Start Wondering (inside) wins the Gr.1 NRM Sprint
This season's sprinting star Start Wondering (Eighth Wonder- Roseanbar) once again proved his class when he recently won the Waikato Racing Club's Group One NRM Sprint.

The six-year-old gelding has clocked up three wins including the Group One Sistema Railway and the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint. He was also beaten a nose in the Group One Telegraph Handicap at Trentham in late January, making him a strong contender for sprinter of the year.

Start Wondering is raced by Steve Gudsell, a member of the Wanganui/Taranaki branch of the NZTBA, and his wife Joanne. He commenced his racing career from the Wanganui stable of Paul Belsham, winning four races as a three and four-year-old. In the winter of 2015, Belsham and Gudsell made plans to take the horse to campaign in Sydney, but in the end they decided to transfer him to Chris Waller's stable.

While there he won three races but in his final start last June he bled and was then sent home for the necessary stand down period.

"He came home to Paul's to get back on his feet, and he did a wonderful job with him, but by that stage Paul had got a full time job and decided to retire from horse training so we gave him to Evan and JJ Rayner.

"They have done a fabulous job and it's been a pretty exciting season so far. You wait a lifetime for a horse like this," according to Gudsell who has been around horses all his life.

"My parents Bernard and Mary had race horses and I raced my first horse with them. I even had an owner trainer's licence at one stage and trained a horse owned by Mum and Dad called Bronze Anchor, but I gave that up when I got married and bought my first dairy farm."

Start Wondering is the first foal of the Al Akbar mare Roseanbar, herself a winner of two races and a half-sister to Corporal Jones, a winner of two races who was second in the Group One New Zealand Derby, Group Two Auckland Championship Stakes, and the Group Three Waikato Guineas.

She was raced and bred by another Wanganui/Taranaki NZTBA branch member Ian Hadfield, who was convinced to send his mare to Eighth Wonder by Gudsell.

Eighth Wonder is the last foal of the amazing producer Diamond Lover. He was offered for sale at Karaka and passed in and Gudsell and his good friend Shaun O'Leary, both regular purchasers from Cambridge Stud approached Sir Patrick and purchased a share in the stunning colt.

"Sir Patrick said he was the retaining the majority share and we bought into him along with Auckland based businessman Ken Syminton. He went to Melbourne to the Freemans but he was injured and brought back. With Shaun and I being Taranaki based, Sir Patrick sent him down to John Wheeler to train.

"Well Wheels trialled him and said he was good enough to be above average if we gelded him so we could either geld him and have a lot of fun or send him straight to stud. Sir Patrick left the final decision to me so we approached Jeff Bliss and off he went to stud," recalled Gudsell.

"The first year we stood the stallion I phoned around a few friends and got about seven mares. Shaun O'Leary, Jeff Bliss and John Wheeler all sent mares to him and I convinced Ian to give us Roseanbar and another mare. He produced five foals from seven mares and from that first crop he has left Diamantine( 5 wins) and Start Wondering."

The following year wasn't any better with six live foals being registered however in 2012 he produced 18 foals and in his last three years at stud served around 25-30 mares. Unfortunately Eighth Wonder died in 2015 and to date he has had 16 horses to the races for eight individual winners.

Eighth Wonder is a younger brother to Don Eduardo. Diamond Lover their dam, was a Group One Railway winner and is a half-sister to the stallions Octagonal (also by Zabeel) and Kaapstad (Sir Tristram), as well as Cotehele House the dam of the successful stallions Danewin and Commands. She is a daughter of the mighty Cambridge Stud mare Eight Carat (GB).

Hadfield then sent Roseanbar to Brilliance(USA) and he races the resulting foal Longbeach Lucy, but when he sold his farm a couple of years ago he gave the mare and her daughter Pentrose – a sister to Corporal Jones -to Gudsell to breed from. Since then she has produced a sister to Start Wondering, and a half-sister by Burgundy. Pentrose has produced three foals, En Suite a mare by Shocking who has won one race, and a filly and a colt by Tobique(AUS).

"Roseanbar was not served after she foaled this season," according to Gudsell, "but will definitely go to stud next season. I will have to consult Sir Patrick and see what he thinks is a good mating for her and be guided by him." – Michelle Saba