Bandi’s Boy honours late owner with Group 3 win

Jay Ford aboard the Danny Williams-trained Bandi’s Boy. Image: Bradley Photos.

Bandi’s Boy, the current $2 favourite for the $1 million Country Championship Final at Royal Randwick on Saturday, and well-performed Central West galloper Taren Lad, raced more than 50 years apart, were linked through ownership by John Woods.

The very well-liked and respected John Woods, at his property near Cowra, died in tragic circumstances in February, but with one wish fulfilled, the wish to get another good horse after Taren Lad.

Auctioned after winning the Flying Handicap at Bedgerabong Picnics, John Woods rejected the final bid of $1,600 for Taren Lad and retained ownership, with subsequent good results.

Trained at Bedgerabong village by former picnic jockey Roy Parsons, Taren Lad (Teranyan x Raven Lady) became a prolific winner on Central West tracks and, in the early 1970s, was taken to Sydney for a six furlongs Handicap on a Saturday at Warwick Farm.

Connections secured extravagant odds of 66/1, and they were feeling confident of collecting when Taren Lad, starting at 50/1, after being 12th on the turn, dashed through an opening on the rails to hit the front close to home.

Urging on Taren Lad from the grandstand, trainer Roy Parsons lost his balance and tumbled down a flight of steps.

When helped to his feet and dusted off by John Woods and friends, Roy asked, “Did we win?”.

Unfortunately, Roy was informed another outsider, Berrinup, at 20/1, had unleashed a powerful finishing burst down the outside to grab Taren Lad in the last stride and win by a half-head with Jet Pilot, owned by Jack Darcy, formerly from Bedgerabong, in third place.

Taren Lad was later trained at Grenfell by Chris Hardy, the father of present-day Wagga Wagga trainer Chris Hardy, and won two Cowra Cups and the Cotton Cup at Warren.

Always with a passion for horses, John Woods had a brief stint as a jockey on the picnic circuit. Later, on his well-run farm, Manna Park, in the Burcher area, he began preparing and riding horses for Three-Day Eventing and Showjumping.

Grey Duke, a prolific Picnic Cups winner when trained at Forbes by Charlie Piercy and ridden by Ken Parsons, when retired, was obtained by John Woods for Showjumping and became one of his best mounts when achieving considerable success at the Sydney Royal.

During the final stages and on the brink of being selected for the Olympic Games Three-Day Eventing team, John withdrew due to having to self-fund the big expenses involved.

Another interest for John was the Forbes Jockey Club, of which he was a popular member of the committee for over 30 years and, for 10 of those years, the Forbes representative on the Central Districts Racing Association.

Part-owned by John Woods and trained at Dubbo by Frank Hayes, the filly Tibidabo began racing in 2016 and, over the first four starts, won at Goulburn and Coonamble and finished second in a Highway at Rosehill.

During a brief career, Tididabo was later trained at Muswellbrook by Pat Farrell, who formed a good friendship with John Woods.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my weekly chats on the phone with John, who was a very nice fellow,” Farrell recalled.

After retirement, Tibidabo was sent by John Woods to the Kooringal Stud owned by the Lamont family at Wagga Wagga and joined to The Brothers War.

Not long after having her foal, Tididabo died, and the orphaned Bandi’s Boy was reared as a poddy.

Trained at Goulburn by Danny Williams, the John Woods bred and owned Bandi’s Boy made an auspicious debut when finishing 5th in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes and followed with three wins at Randwick over the next seven starts.

Two days after the largely attended Memorial Service for John Woods at Forbes, the Danny Williams-trained favourite Bandi’s Boy, ridden by regular jockey Jay Ford, came from well back with a big finish to win the $150,000 Country Championship SERA Qualifier at Moruya.

Danny Williams decided on another start for his rising star before the Championship decider, and last Saturday at Rosehill, Bandi’s Boy at $15 and again ridden by Jay Ford, finished powerfully from midfield to win the Group 3 1200 metres $250,000 EGroup Security Star Kingdom Stakes at Rosehill from Malkovich and Roots.

Bandi’s Boy, the good horse John Woods always hoped to get after Taren Lad was beaten in a photo finish more than 50 years ago at Warwick Farm, will have a huge following from John’s family, friends and racing fans when contesting the $1 million Newhaven Park Country Championship Final on Saturday at Royal Randwick.