The measure of any trainer is how they look after the good ones and Gordon Yorke is one of the best in that department.
The latest star to emerge from Yorke’s Coffs Harbour stable is One Lickety Split who is a leading candidate for the G1 T.J Smith at Eagle Farm on June 6. The Medecis colt kept his unbeaten record intact with a Listed Golden Stakes victory at Doomben in May after priors at Grafton and Eagle Farm.
“I think he’s a bit special this horse. I always have,” Yorke said after the Golden Stakes. “He has a pretty exciting future.”
Yorke trained his first good horse when Fire Oak won the G1 Victoria Derby in 1990. He was training out of Wyong in those days and the tough Kiwi gelding beat the bluebloods in a stirring finish at Flemington.
Fast forward to the 2006 Victoria Derby meeting and Yorke was back at Flemington for another Group 1 assignment in the Salinger Stakes with his sizzling grey sprinter Natural Destiny.
“I thought Fire Oak could win even though he was an outsider. But I was cocky back then,” he chuckled.
Yorke spent six months plotting Natural Destiny’s first-up assault on one of the toughest sprints in the country.
“I’m wasn’t being a smart arse trying to win two Group 1 races at my only two goes in Melbourne,” he said. “We still hadn’t seen the bottom of Natural Destiny at that stage and I don’t think we ever did.”
Natural Destiny earned a berth in the Salinger after winning 7 of his first 9 starts. He broke his maiden at Coffs and kept the momentum going at Randwick (2) and Rosehill. When Yorke raised the bar for the G3 Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm, Natural Destiny responded with a devastating sprint to leave his rivals floundering.
Natural Destiny ran out of his skin in the Salinger and was only beaten two lengths by Dance Hero and Miss Andretti into fifth place. He returned home and re-asserted his superiority with black-type victories in the BTC Summer Stakes, BTC Doomben Stakes and Bernborough Handicap.
But racegoers never saw the best of Natural Destiny. The striking grey horse was retired after the summer series when surgery failed to repair an injured near-side fetlock.
Natural Destiny was raced by Brian Dorricott and Dick Cruwys and they retired him to Willowbend Stud last year. Studmaster David Lucas was kept busy with his first book that numbered 94 mares. The only other Queensland-based first-season sire to better that figure was Court Command.
Natural Destiny (5h Naturalism -Force Of Destiny by Archregent) comes from a family saturated with speed. His older half-brother Grey Regent (Mr Henrysee) won 11 races up to 1110m including the Shannons Classic Sprint at Flemington.
Their dam Force Of Destiny is an unraced half-sister to Ossie Cossie, an absolute flyer who won 19 races up to 1200m. Her best was a Listed victory in the City Tatts Lightning Stakes at Randwick and she also won down the straight-six at Flemington.
Natural Destiny’s fee for 2009 remains at $4,400 (inc gst) and David Lucas can be contacted at Willowbend Stud on 07 5541 2121.