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The Veep wins the Hawke's Bay Gold Cup (Gr 2) for the Symes

Havelock North local Tim Symes and his son Wilfred now have the honor of being breeders of a Group 2 winner. Their home-bred and trained The Veep is a product of their instinct and good judgement that has earned them a home-town trophy by stretching his neck out to win last weekend's Group 2 Hawke's Bay Gold Cup.

The Veep's dam Love Proposal (by Spectacular Love) is a mare that they purchased as a yearling and raced after an unsuccessful attempt to sell her at Karaka. "We bought her from Robert Mulcaster when she was barely a yearling. My son was giving him a hand and he liked Love Proposal so we bought her. We put her in the yearling sale at Karaka but weren't offered enough money for her so we kept her and raced her," says Tim.

Love Proposal won 2 races and ran a slew of placings before Tim and Wilfred decided to breed her. Her first foal was a colt by Daggers Drawn, now racing as Sordid Affair with four wins to his credit.

When the time came to decide her second mating, Tim used his own judgement to pick a suitable stallion. "My son was overseas at the time and I saw that Deputy Governor was getting a lot of winners overseas, particularly up in Singapore, so I sent Love Proposal to Deputy Governor," says Tim.

The result was a colt they named The Veep.

A winner of nine races and eight placings, The Veep is consistent on rain-effected ground, with six wins on heavy tracks. In addition, he is also a potent competitor at his home track in Hastings - where he has notched two of his wins.

The Veep has given the Symes family a huge thrill by winning a Group 2 race, his second Stakes win for the season- the first being the Listed Fielding Gold Cup in early November, taking his earnings to over $230,000. The Group 2 was the biggest win to date for farmer turned trainer Tim and his son Wilf as well as Central Districts jockey Kelly Meyers, who steered The Veep to his maiden victory two years ago.

Symes started the day on a positive note when he won a maiden race with another home-bred Molly O'Reilly (O'Reilly x Chats). Symes was very emotional after her win on Saturday and has now retired the four year old mare.

Tim Symes has leased out his sizable farm to cropping and is now preoccupied full time with a dozen horses to train. A hobby trainer until several years ago, Symes has turned a family success into a family tradition of sorts by becoming the second generation (and Wilfred the third) to win the Hawke's Bay Gold Cup. Symes' father Boy, together with his mother Judy, won the Hawkes' Bay Gold Cup twice.

Symes admits that his involvement with thoroughbreds increased after his parents died and he was bequeathed a substantial broodmare band. Many of the mares were sold or given away, but he says "my paddocks are still full of them."

He and Wilfred have a current broodmare band of ten and are still looking to scale down. "We are cutting back to only a few, probably four or five mares. We are only breeding every second year or so, so reducing numbers and breeding better horses is our goal right now," says Tim.

Tim and Wilfred still race The Veep at age 5, but are willing to sell the gelding for the right price. "We keep racing him because no one has bought him. He's been on the market his whole career," says Tim. Love Proposal currently has a full sister to The Veep at foot, and at age 14 is still relatively young for a broodmare.

The Hawke's Bay Gold Cup victory gives Tim added confidence to run The Veep at Hastings in the Spring in New Zealand's richest race- the $2 million Kelt Capital Stakes over 2000 metres. "A wet spring would be ideal for this horse," says Symes.


- Stacey Akers