Friday, 20 January 2017
It must have been just like winning Horse Lotto for Henning when he was rescued on the way to the knackers by Jim Cerchi jnr.
The Coronet Bay trainer got to work resurrecting Henning and he earned a winter campaign in North Queensland following a last-start win at Mornington.
"I know where I want to be in winter and it's not Melbourne," Cerchi declared. "We're taking a dozen horses up for the carnivals at Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville and Cairns.
Henning (Keep The Faith) will be among them after an unbeaten start to the year. It's been an amazing turnaround for the 6yo gelding who had gone through a couple of stables before ending up at death's door.
"We were lucky Rachel Morgan spotted him at a stock sale in Echuca," Cerchi recalled. "Rachel's from Finley and she used to work for me at Tocumwal. She rang up and I got straight in the float to get him out of there."
Cerchi also pointed to Sophie Logan's input as another factor in the gelding's new lease on life. She rode him to win at Woolamai before Arron Lynch took over at Mornington.
"Jim was confident he was ready," Lynch said after getting first run to win the Bayside Auto Hcp (1000m). "The horse can be a bit quirky but he was always travelling well today."
Henning was bred by well-known Mildura businessman Bill Lanyon who died in September 2013. The Lanyon family breed and race under the 'Clay Hero' banner after their 1989 Oakleigh Plate winner.
Greta West Stud sire Keep The Faith got him from Aberdeen Rose (Clay Hero). She was a talented mare for Lanyon winning at Flemington, Caulfield & Sandown and her best foal has been 2011 Herbert Power Stakes winner Shewan (Blevic).
Meanwhile, Henning has been sent for a break before heading off to the Sunshine State. "He pulled up good from Mornington," Cerchi reported. "I will back off and freshen him up. He will improve again up in Queensland."
Cerchi, 38, hails from a well-known Flemington racing family and he had been based at Tocumwal for several years before moving back to Melbourne 12 months ago.