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  Grave Matters: Goondawindi, Queensland, Australia

Photo by Chris Evans. ©Chris Evans 2009; all rights reserved.

Gunsynd's memorial
Gunsynd's memorial at Goondawindi

GUNSYND (1967-1983, by Sunset Hue and out of Woodie Wonder, a twin) was a famously popular champion miler in Australia, beloved not only for his twenty-nine wins (in 54 starts, plus seven times second and eight times third), carrying huge weights, but for his public and private persona. When he put foot on the track, he halted to await the applause of the crowd before entering the starting gate, and many swore that the cheering when he was behind in a race spurred him to greater effort, and often wins, in some of his races. Born at The Dip Stud in Breeza, northern NSW, he was purchased by a partnership of four residents of Goondawindi, who thought they might have some fun racing the horse locally. As win after win piled up, in all the prestigious mile races in Australia, he became known as the Goondawindi Grey; cartoons were posted of him in national newspapers, songs were written of his wins, and all sorts of ephemera connected with him became sought-after collectibles. As fierce as he was on the turf, he was a placid animal in his stall, allowing children to crawl atop him. At stud at Kia Ora Stud in Scone, NSW, he was an enormously popular attraction, and the Stud had to limit visitors to those that made appointments. He got several good stakes winners, and some useful broodmare daughters that bred on, including Ammo Girl, the dam of the champion Australian mare Emancipation. He was euthanized when nasal polyps made it too difficult for him to breath, on April 29, 1983. The town of Goondawindi created the Gunsynd Museum and erected a memorial to him in, opened in 2007. He is still considered among the top icons in Queensland. --PE

Gunsynd (1967-1983, Memorial only; Gunsynd buried at Kia Ora Stud, Scone, NSW)

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