The winter carnival brings back some fond memories for trainer Graham Banks but not enough to entice him to Brisbane with Proto.
Proto landed his fifth win for Banks in the MacFadyen Group Hcp (1400m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday. In a blanket finish, the rejuvenated sprinter defeated outsider Hush Power and Flying Home.
Proto (7g Magic Albert – Princess Raffin by Snippets) had won his maiden at Eagle Farm second time out in August 2009 but was then sidelined by surgery. “He needed an operation to remove bone chips,” Banks recalled. “I phoned his owner Mick Dolly but he wasn’t keen on paying the money. Neither was I, but I did know he had a lot of ability so Mick gave him to my wife Julie.”
Proto started just 7 times between May 2010 and January 2013 and is enjoying a new lease of life this year. “I would like to bring him back to Brisbane one day,” Banks admitted. “But now is not the time with all the good horses there.”
Banks is a horse breaker by trade and regards himself nowadays as a hobby trainer with just four horses in work. The Oakey-based horseman was closely associated with 1973 Stradbroke Hcp winner Lucky Cloud. He was the regular rider in the lead-up races but was too heavy for the Stradbroke.
“Lucky Cloud was a great horse to me beating horses like Triton, Bengalla Lad and Charlton Boy,” he recalled. “Weight forced me to quit riding and ever since then I’ve been involved with training.”
Yarraman Stud stallion Magic Albert sired Proto from a half-sister to G3 Illawarra Brambles Classic winner Jester Royale (Rory’s Jester).