Clarry Conners and Newhaven Park out to repeat Golden Slipper history

'Winningness'' is the buzzword of a controversial week, featuring a race-club appointment and change in starting times.

I'm applying the buzzword to Newhaven Park Stud and Warwick Farm trainer Clarry Conners, particularly when it comes to two-year-olds and the Golden Slipper.

It's historic, but possibly another chapter will be started with Create, prepared by Conners for the latest Newhaven owners, in Saturday's juvenile 1000 metre (race one) at Randwick.

While horses and those who make them compare favourably with the past, race clubs are under siege from competition and punter neglect. For instance, Saturday's Caulfield meeting will start an hour later, 2.25pm - the final event being 6.40pm - as part of Racing Victoria's attempt to stimulate the appetite of the turnover god.

"Extend the footprint" is the message that comes with it.

Being completely out of touch with the modern-day administrator, we go to the court of public opinion on Racenet to get a verdict on the move.

Peter Day writes: "Am becoming more and more disenchanted with Vic racing every day and this may be the final straw.

"Am not interested in attending meetings which start at afternoon-tea time. Race clubs appear to have no interest in those who go purely for the races. My membership renewal is now highly unlikely."

But Wes countered: "What a great idea starting after 2pm. I can take my kids to junior sport, have a shower and lunch after and still get to watch all my races rather than missing the first couple."

"Stud" takes another line: "Punter, punter. What about the stable staff, trainers and jockeys who have been up since 3am doing trackwork along with more than likely going to Moonee Valley the night before?

"No rest for these people at all. Everything that's done through administrators works against the participants."

Meanwhile, the Brisbane Racing Club has appointed Dave Whimpey as chief executive to "diversify the revenue stream".

Whimpey, 45, is fresh from Coles, running 92 hotels. The BRC was looking for "a non-existing racing participant".

The industry has thrived on racing personnel, perhaps in the past for a more captive audience.

The notable exception was Brian Beattie, the chief executive for the Victoria Racing Club. He had "Coles" in his form, too. Beattie had the vision to build the Flemington grandstand.

''I want to create a great culture, a feeling of winningness," Whimpey said, which didn't impress ''Porkies'' on Racenet.

"Wow, a lot of corporate speak. Also known as BS. Is racing sustainable or isn't it ? That's the big question, not only in QLD.''

But Andy highlights the difficulties: "Race clubs face a real BIG uphill battle. As a 40-year punter, 20-odd years never missing a meeting, I can now admit I cannot bother going. At home, I can have all the latest [fluctuations], latest horse info, rider info, bias, and any other relevant updates.

"No traffic, parking costs, ridiculous food costs, membership or entrance costs. It's all too easy (and arguably better) off track."

In the early days of the Golden Slipper, patrons and punters were mesmerised by Newhaven Park Stud, which regularly produced sale-toppers, and Conners.

Bloodstock expert Brian Russell wrote: "Folklore has it that on the eve of the 1959 Sydney Easter yearling sale, the emerging great trainer T.J. Smith maintained you can't grow horses down there, regarding John W. Kelly's Newhaven Park Stud between Boorowa and Cowra in central western NSW and his new stallion, Wilkes."

However, Gai Waterhouse paid a $1 million at the recent Magic Millions for a Newhaven-bred Redoute's Choice colt out of the winning Encosta De Lago mare Hades. Now run by J.W. Kelly's grandson John, the stud was put on the map by Wilkes, leading sire for a decade. He produced such greats as a Wenona Girl and Vain, winner of the Golden Slipper in 1969. Wilkes scored again with John's Hope (1972), bred by Newhaven Park and trained by Smith, while Vivarchi, also by the sire, won in 1976.

The Wilkes influence was seen in the 1983 Golden Slipper with Sir Dapper, by Vain, as was Inspired, successful in the world's richest two-year-olds' event the following year.

Newhaven also figured as an owner in Bounding Away (1986) well as Marauding (1987). Later, the stud combined with ''Big'' Jack Ingham to take the 1992 edition with the Conners-conditioned Burst followed by Prowl (1998), another for the trainer.

Create will be out to add to the tally at her debut after a foundation of two excellent barrier trials, but takes on Gerald Ryan's youngster Rubick, a real speedball.

However, Create was second to Alpha Miss in a Randwick heat last September and the winner subsequently scored in the Gimcrack.

Also, the Newhaven Park filly bolted away with a Warwick Farm heat on January 10. The Midweeker reported: "Create looked the goods here with a fast overall time and similar sectional splits highlighting her performance".

This story Clarry Conners and Newhaven Park out to repeat Golden Slipper history first appeared on WA Today.