It took over six months, but Timaru rider Peter Corbett came out of personal tragedy and regained his training mojo.
Corbett wasn’t in the mood for training after losing partner Terrill Charles to brain cancer in December 2020 following a long battle.
But he’s now back on track, and it was rightfully Dee and Gee – the Group 3 New Zealand Cup winner (3200m) that gave them their biggest thrills in battle. de Charles – who underscored Corbett’s renewed enthusiasm with a maiden 2000m win at Riccarton on Saturday.
Dee and Gee scored an emotional victory on January 16 in the Waikouaiti Cup (2200m), three days after the memorial service for Charles at Riccarton – achieved despite Corbett being so busy he had to work the mare at Riccarton on the day of service and no return home to Timaru.
However, Corbett said he didn’t feel ready to train much after that.
“I kind of lost interest in horses for a few months. I was only going 70 percent, ”Corbett said.
“But I have since recovered. I reinvested 110% in it and now that I put a little more effort into it, it looks like they might start doing something again.
Corbett wasn’t sure immediately after losing his partner if he would continue with Dee and Gee, but the victory in January convinced him to keep it going.
“I was going to pull her out after the Waikouaiti Cup if she hadn’t run in the top three, but she went out and broke the track record, so I thought she still had something in her,” did he declare.
“I would love to have another cut with her. I refused a lot of money for her as a broodmare. I just wasn’t ready to sell her at this point and don’t really want to raise her on my own, but thought we would have another chance to see how she went.
Although she is now eight years old, Corbett was confident that Dee and Gee were ready to run well when she resumed in the NZB Ready to Run Sale Open Handicap (2000m).
“Even though she is eight years old, she came back the best she has ever been this season,” he said.
“I galloped her with a few others during the week and she was right with them, so I thought she was pretty close. I got it at +3000, and I got quite a few.
Dee and Gee is likely to compete next in the Listed Christchurch Casino Spring Classic (2000m) at Riccarton on October 23, then the Listed Nautical Boat Insurance Metropolitan Trophy Handicap (2500m) on November 6 before returning for the New Zealand Cup. of Group 3 Martin Collins. (3200m) on November 13.
Tegan Newman, who has ridden nine winners so far this season, will retain the race in the Spring Classic although there will be no apprentice claims in this event.
Dee and Gee won the New Zealand Cup in 2019 but were 11th of 17 last year, an effort Corbett said did not reflect his abilities.
“We struggled a bit with her last year with a few issues. We probably shouldn’t have made the Cup last year, his blood was so far away, but I moved forward because Terrill was in the hospital, ”he said.
“But if she continues the way she works and the way she ran on Saturday, there is no reason why she shouldn’t have more wins in her, even though she’s eight.”
Corbett is currently preparing a dozen horses. Among the runners he appreciates are Seven Aajes, two-time Corbett winner last season and partly owned by Nordic runner George Simon, and Dragon Run, a sprinter previously coached by Bruce Wallace and Grant Cooksley.