$250k bonus spurs Cup hopeful

By Mike Dillon

Jimmy Mac will have tough rivals in the Wellington Cup.Picture / Race Images
Jimmy Mac will have tough rivals in the Wellington Cup.Picture / Race Images

Sentiment should be saved for congratulating winners in horse racing.

It should be totally eliminated from trying to find a winner.

Unless that horse is Jimmy Mac and he's trying to win a Wellington Cup.

Anyone who would begrudge the Jimmy Mac team victory at Trentham this afternoon (Saturday) would lack one pinhead of emotion.

If every win means the world to every owner, a win for Jimmy Mac today means the universe for part owner and trainer Gene Andrew.

He's the solo dad of seven-year-old twin girls Sydnee and Taylah and says it will give the girls a future if Jimmy Mac can carry his 57.5kg, Lisa Allpress and hosts of punters to victory in one of New Zealand's iconic races.

While the other 13 hopefuls are running for a $115,000 major prize, Jimmy Mac will pick up $365,000 if successful, thanks to a $250,000 bonus for also winning the New Zealand Cup in November.

To add to the romance of the story, the former jumps jockey has just this one horse in work. "I ride work for Gary Vile in the mornings, then do Jimmy Mac myself, then it's home to look after the girls."

Andrew is the son of Bill Andrew, who would ride here for six months of the season then travel to England to compete with fellow countryman Ivan Mauger.

"Dad was top class on speedway bikes in his time."

Brother Leon, one of six owners of Jimmy Mac, is a former BMX New Zealand champion, but it's always been horses that have captured Gene.

If he sees two hurdles they are Pentathlon and Rule The World, but he has major faith in his own horse.

"It was wonderful to see him come from the back of the field to win at Awapuni last start, that's the first time he's done that, he's usually on the speed. It's good there is something else he can do." Andrew says he can't even imagine the emotions that will possess him if Jimmy Mac is clear in front with two strides to go.

"It will be life-changing - the girls will have a future." Go you good thing, although Pentathlon, with 4.5kg less, will be trying hard to run Jimmy Mac down late.

- NZ Herald

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