There’s a colourful racing story around every turn and the tale of the retired country dentist taking on the might of Sheikh Mohammed certainly fits the bill.
While most eyes will be on the Blue Army’s Cox Plate winning freak Anamoe in the Group 1 Champions Stakes on Saturday at Flemington, Dr Kim McCasker will only have eyes for Hinged.
McCasker, who was a dentist in Toowoomba west of Brisbane for four decades, is arguably best known for racing the 1999 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 winner Laurie’s Lottery who ran second in the Caulfield Guineas the year before.
Fast forward more than two decades and McCasker, now retired from the dentist’s chair, bred and part-owns Champions Stakes contender Hinged who started her racing career in Queensland.
Laurie’s Lottery (outside) winning the 1999 Doomben 10,000 race from Adam.
When McCasker sells horses that he has bred, he normally does not retain a share.
But when big-time Victorian owners Brae Sokolski and Ozzie Kheir came knocking, McCasker thought enough of Hinged to retain a 10 per cent ownership share.
The Chris Waller-trained mare has taken connections on a remarkable journey which has included winning the Group 1 Surround Stakes.
McCasker said that Waller thinks enough of Hinged to set her on a Cox Plate path in 2023.
But in the meantime she is aiming to be the giant-killer in the Champions Stakes, a week after scoring a $250,000 booty for finishing fifth in the Golden Eagle from a wide gate.
“When I started off in horse racing, I was racing for $1400 for first prize in Toowoomba,” McCasker laughed.
“Now someone says, ‘well you have got a good horse, you can race it in a $10 million race (the Golden Eagle) one week, and then race in a $3 million Group 1 the next week’.
“It’s hard to knock back.
“Some of my horses these days run around at Clifford Park (Toowoomba) for $10,000 so the ride we have been on with Hinged is pretty amazing.
Owner Kim McCasker (right). Picture: Kevin Farmer
“To be honest I think if she drew a barrier last week, she just about wins.
“And Anamoe only beat us just over a length last time we met (in the Group 1 George Main Stakes).
“Chris Waller keeps telling me Hinged is good enough for the Cox Plate next year.
“To be honest, with some of these horses on Saturday, I don’t think there is much between them.
“If she gets a good run on and everything goes well, she can win.”
The TAB has Hinged a $23 chance to spoil Anamoe’s party.