Special Win for Our Pinocchio

Special Win for Our Pinocchio

Bruce Stewart

28th October 2021

The win at Ascot Park today by Our Pinocchio was special on two fronts; it was the first winning drive for Kaleb Bublitz and the 100th winner of a group of syndicates that’s led by the Griffins Syndicate.

Our Pinocchio warming up for Kaleb Bublitz

Our Pinocchio is owned by the Griffins Syndicate and the Griffins No 3 Syndicate.

“This was the Griffins No 3 Syndicate’s first winner,” one of the founders Neil Bennett said.

The original Griffins Syndicate was formed in 2008 when Bennett, Greg Crawford and a few others visited Mid Canterbury breeders Bevan and Keith Grice’s property.

“We went to the Grice’s and looked at a horse by Courage Under Fire, but we ended up getting a horse called Mellow Puff and that’s where the Syndicate’s name came from (Mellow Puffs were made by Griffins). He was a nice trotter, but he never got to the races,” said Crawford.

Seventy-four of the one hundred wins for the group of Syndicates were for the original Griffins Syndicate and fifty-eight of those wins were by horses that were bred by the Grices.

Most of their wins were progeny of Sundon mare Juliana and included Sarah Palin (10), Monty Python (15), Father Christmas (11) and Dark Horse (14).

Dark Horse was recently retired from racing and has remained in Southland at Ross and Robyn Jones Branxholme property. She was served at the weekend via AI from Majestic Son.

“We’re down to get a foal. It’s just a word of mouth agreement – gentleman’s agreement,” said Mark Noonan, the Syndicate’s statistician.

Over the years the five Syndicates – Griffins, Seafield Trotting, BPL, Griffins No 2 and Griffins No 3 Syndicates have used a variety of trainers  including  Phil, Nathan, Brad and Matty Williamson along with Michael House and Andrew and Lyn Neal.

The group was formulated with thirty shares.

“We got broke at one stage and put out another ten shares and then we started winning again so the people that came in then thought it was easy.” Bennett added. “We’ve had members come and go. They retire and lose that discretionary income but they’re all honourary members.

Noonan said “When I send out an email it goes to 135 people.”

The Griffins Syndicate’s first winner was also at Ascot Park in April 2011 when Sundon filly Rugged Cross trained by Phil Williamson and driven by his son Matty won her maiden race.

Their best horse to date is Majestic Man which has won eighteen races and $585,425.

In today’s race Bublitz took Our Pinocchio off the mobile gate and straight to the lead. From there he controlled the tempo and the three-year-old trotted away to win by three lengths.

Our Pinocchio (2) is first out of the gate

Leading with a lap to run

At the finish

First winning salute

Kaleb Bublitz and Phil Williamson

Members of the Griffins Syndicate and Griffins No 3 Syndicate

Founding members Neil Bennett, Greg Crawford and Mark Noonan

Later in the programme Bublitz made it a memorable day when he reined home Von Art trained by Matty Williamson to win by half a length. The Fast Ten programme ended with Phil Williamson training Jimmy Carter to win in the last, driven by hisson Brad.

A great day for the Williamsons.