A quest to track down the first foal of a mare he trained has led Harold Norman on a surprising journey to Saturday’s Inglis Classic.
The Gold Coast-based Norman arrived in Sydney on Wednesday with his $22,000 yearling buy Cannyzing.
Norman’s path to the Classic began several years ago with Zigalong, a modestly-performed mare he trained to win two races at the Gold Coast in 18 starts.
Norman saw something in Zigalong and after she was retired prematurely due to a bleeding attack, he went in search of her progeny.
The first of them was a colt by Canny Lad.
“I knew where he was and I knew what sale he was going in so I flew down and bought him,” Norman said of Cannyzing.
“I didn’t think I’d finish up in the Inglis Classic.
“Canny Lads, I’ve never had one before but I was told by some top trainers the Canny Lads are good later on as two-year-olds.”
Cannyzing bucked that trend.
“The first time I galloped him and jumped him out I knew he’d win an early race,” Norman said.
The 75-year-old trainer hails from the NSW south coast but has called the Gold Coast home for 40 years.
He has won Queensland and Toowoomba Cups with Kugelhopf and guided Count Scenario to a couple of Group Two placings.
Norman’s last visit to Sydney was nine years ago with the Group performed Make Me A Miracle who was unplaced in the 2004 Summer Cup.
Norman hasn’t made his latest trek lightly.
The Inglis Classic (1200m) at Rosehill has been a long-term target and when Cannyzing finished an unlucky second on debut at Murwillumbah, Norman sent him around at Eagle Farm to boost his prize money.
“I thought ‘gee I mightn’t have enough money to get into the Classic’ so I started him last Saturday in town and he won,” Norman said.
“I would have got in without that race but it doesn’t matter, he needed that. He’s a big strong bugger.”
Cannyzing has similar lead-up form to Fear No Other who gave Queensland its second Inglis Classic in 2009, 11 years after Laurie’s Lottery won the inaugural running.
Fear No Other also finished runner-up at his first start, was successful in Brisbane at his second before claiming the Classic.
Cannyzing is the only Queensland-trained runner in Saturday’s renewal and Norman is confident the son of Zigalong will do him proud.
“We can win the race, don’t worry about that,” he said.