183-start veteran brings up 20th career victory

Benno’s Boy, pictured here with Breanna Bourke in the saddle earlier this year, made it career win number 20 at start 183 at Wagga on Monday. Photo: Alexandra Stares.

Is there a more iconic galloper in country NSW than Benno’s Boy?

The rising 10-year-old kicked off his racing career way back in January 2014, winning his maiden at Gunnedah and his third start at Muswellbrook, before finding himself with Trevor Sutherland in early 2016.

The Dane Shadow gelding that is out of Explicit Vixen would then spend the next four and a half years with the Wagga trainer, winning a further 15 times and becoming one of the most familiar racing names in the Southern Districts. 

Now Benno’s Boy resides with Michelle Borserio, and after wins at Ardlethan in March and Boorowa in May, the old stager brought up career win number 20 at start number 183 at Wagga on Monday. 

Jumping from gate four and with apprentice hoop Molly Bourke in the saddle, the old boy turned back the clock yet again, ranging up on the outside to beat Crimson Hoffa by the barest of margins in the 1000m Benchmark 58 Handicap.

To make the win all the more incredible was the fact that he was backing up after running a game second at Gundagai on Sunday and his trainer was just over the moon with the result. 

“That is the truth, he is just a freak,” Borserio said.

“He is one tough horse, and I would not have raced him today if he couldn’t handle it.

“After the run yesterday, I waited to see how he pulled up, and when I went out to see him this morning, he had eaten everything up, and he was racing up and down and double barrelling and I knew right then and there that he was backing up today.”

Benno’s Boy has a history of quick back-ups with both Sutherland and Borserio, and his current trainer said he was a unique specimen that loved to race.

“The proof is in the pudding, he has backed up before and ran well,” Borserio said. 

“He doesn’t even blow. I know I keep using the word freak to describe him, but he is a freak.”

Borserio explained that the well-known galloper was treated to a life of luxury at her property at San Isadore, wanting for nothing in between races. 

“If you saw my place, you would understand. Trevor used to always say to me, ‘when I die and come back as a horse, I’m coming to live at your place’,” Borserio laughed. 

“I spoil them. He’s got a hole acre paddock to himself, but you have to put him out in the paddock before daylight and I swim him an awful lot, plus he has got six rugs.” 

It’s quite evident that the Wagga trainer loves her horses, and she explained how she ended up with Benno’s Boy.

“I wasn’t looking to get another horse but I do like older horses to begin with, and I was nearly going to give up my licence but he was on Bloodstock Auctions,” Borserio said. 

“And I thought, ‘Oh, Benno was there, we all love Benno’ and Bryan (Murphy), my partner, said ‘you do what you want’, and collectively I had about $4,500 and I bid on a couple of horses, the other horse went for more and nobody touched Benno and I ended up with him.”

The purchase has proven to be a good one for both Borserio and Benno’s Boy, but the proud trainer didn’t take any of the credit, hinting her galloper was a one-of-a-kind animal. 

“You could pick another 1000 horses and you couldn’t get one that does what Benno does,” Borserio said.

“I swear, you could back him up every day, he loves it. He just takes everything in his stride and he is 150% sound.”

After his 20th career win, the picturesque bay gelding has now earned $284,724 in prize prizemoney throughout his glittering career on the country racing circuit.