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Trainer's three-pronged attack on Southland Guineas
Syndicating racehorses has been a winner for trainer Robert Dennis and his clients.
Jamie Searle | February 16, 2021
Woodlands trainer Robert Dennis with two of his three Southland Guineas runners

Syndicating racehorses has been a winner for trainer Robert Dennis and his clients.

His five runners at the cup and guineas race day in Invercargill on Saturday all have large groups of owners, mostly from Southland.

“I could have 60 or 70 owners there [on Saturday],” Dennis, of Woodlands, said.

They come from all walks of life, including retirees, semi-retired people, young professionals and business owners.

“[Syndicates] make it more affordable for everyone ... it puts everyone in the same boat cheering on the same horse.”

It will be a big day for the horseman at the Southland Racing Club’s meeting with him having three starters – all fillies - in the $70,000 ILT Ascot Park Hotel Southland Guineas.

The 1600-metre event is the richest race in Southland and Dennis is likely to saddle up the favourite, The Gift.

She is in great form with three wins and three seconds in her past six starts. Two seconds were in the Gore and Dunedin Guineas.

The Gift was unlucky in the Dunedin Guineas on February 6 in her latest start when copping interference and then caught wide for the last 1000 metres.

Dennis’ other two guineas prospects, Ocean Point and Choux In, have campaigned well this season and were capable of winning.

“They all seem pretty well. They’re fit and don’t need to do too much [in training] between races,” Dennis said of the trio.

If one of the three wins, Dennis would emulate his father, Tony, and uncles, Martin, Joe and Ray Dennis, who have had success in the Southland Guineas.

Sixteen nominations have been received for the guineas this year.

Robert Dennis is also starting Make Believe and The Ace at Ascot Park on Saturday. The two yearlings he bought at the Karaka sales recently have been syndicated, with possibly 40 people involved in either of them.

The other feature race at Ascot Park on Saturday, the $40,000 Baillie & Lewis Pharmacy Invercargill Gold Cup, has 10 entries, including Wellington Cup runner-up Bluey’s Chance.

Meanwhile, in other Southland thoroughbred racing news, syndicate horse Shaara has been retired by Invercargill trainer Jo Gordon.

A shortage of suitable sprint races for Shaara led to the decision.

The 10-year-old chestnut gelding bows out with a record of 10 wins, six seconds, nine thirds, five fourths, 10 fifths and stakes of $208,185 from 70 starts.

”He’s done a great job,” Gordon said.