Brothers Of Antrim flies to victory in unique family colours

Brothers Of Antrim and Mathew Cahill following their dominant Queanbeyan victory. Photo: Lance Fearn.

Every so often there are good racing stories that simply need to be told and that is certainly the case when it comes to the ownership of up-and-coming galloper, Brothers Of Antrim. 

Owned predominantly by a family syndicate that is managed by Tumbarumba Turf Club Secretary, Gordon Kelso, Brothers Of Antrim carries the colours of his homeland, Ireland, and the memory of his late brother.

In fact, Brothers Of Antrim is the first galloper to carry the unique Kelso silks, and he has done the family proud, winning twice from five starts for Canberra trainer, Doug Gorrel, which includes a dominant last-start victory in the 1000m Class One Handicap at Queanbeyan on Tuesday.

“It’s a good story,” Gordon Kelso said. 

“Doug offered us a chance to name the horse and the story goes that the horse is out of The Brothers War, and I was born in Antrim and my brother (George) still lived in Antrim when the horse was named, and that’s how we came up with Brothers Of Antrim.

“George has since passed away only recently and I would like to think the big bro is still looking down upon us and helping us with him.”

The four-year-old has shown a lot of ability and fight early in his career, and despite still being a tad immature, Brothers Of Antrim is giving his ownership group the thrill of a lifetime. 

“He won well at Canberra first-up before Doug put him out for a spell, and he was pipped by a nostril at Wagga during the Gold Cup carnival, but he is still learning,” Kelso said.

“We went to Wellington, and he didn’t like the track at all and was still immature, so he was put out for five months just so he could mature.

“Really, he should have won three races. Matty Cahill said he shied at the big screen and crowd at Wagga and that probably cost him, but he is learning and still racing well.”

Mathew Cahill has ridden Brothers Of Antrim in all five of his career starts, travelling to Queanbeyan for the chance to lead the Canberra galloper to victory. 

“Doug was reluctant to run him at Queanbeyan because he still had his winter coat, but he drew a good barrier and Matty came down for the ride and it was a 10 out of 10 ride,” Kelso said

“He let the leaders run like cut snakes up front and he went past them with ease, and we can tell he has well and truly matured. He was very raw boned at first, but he has put on a lot more kilos this time in and he looks great.

“Like I said, he still has that winter coat, so there is a lot more improvement to come out of him.’”

Adding to what Kelso described as a day that would be ‘hard to top’ at Queanbeyan, the proud grandfather not only unearthed a potential star in Brothers Of Antrim, but he welcomed a new grandchild to the world, with Kingsley Finning born to Ryan and Caitlin Finning the morning of their Queanbeyan victory. 

“The 28th of September will be a good day to remember as we now have a new grandson and we celebrated the day with a good win in our colours on the TAB,” Kelso said.

“I think it would be hard to top that day if I’m being honest.”

Family is a big reason Kelso, along with his wife Judy, own five horses, including the likes of Fighting Pleasure (a half-sister to Brothers Of Antrim), The Chaplain, Would Be King and Attuned. 

“Racing is very special to us, especially having all my family and children involved,” Kelso said.

“It’s really special to win in general, but to win in your own colours and having your family involved; there’s nothing like it.”

The future looks bright for Brothers Of Antrim, and his Canberra trainer explained he was a ‘progressive’ type destined for bigger and better races.

“At the moment, he is doing everything right and he still has a lot to learn and a lot of improvement in him,” Gorrel said.

“The other day at Queanbeyan, he still lost his way and wobbled away but he is very progressive and has a lot of ability and most importantly, he can gallop.”

A trip to town could be on the cards sooner rather than later for the youngster, but firstly, Gorrel was likely taking Brothers Of Antrim to Coonamble on Sunday for the 1100m Class Two Handicap on what is the club’s Showcase program, meaning the race is worth a tidy $30,000.

“We will probably have a crack at a Highway. But the struggle for us is being in Canberra, as we don’t get any favours in those races,” Gorrel said. 

“We will probably go to Coonamble on Sunday and if we win that, we will then try and have a crack at a Class Three (TAB) Highway.”

In what could be a big week for the Kelso and Gorrel, the pair also have Attuned racing second-up in the 1000m Open Trophy Handicap at Albury on Saturday.