Good heavens, Trevor’s really gone all-in with Sky Major - he owns 19 of his two-year-olds
It’s easy to understand why leading owner Trevor Casey is eagerly awaiting Heaven High’s debut at Auckland on Thursday night.
And it’s not just because the two-year-old is unbeaten in two workouts and two trials for Lincoln Farms’ trainer Ray Green.
Casey is hoping Heaven High can become the first winner for his sire Sky Major, whom he owns, after going all-in to promote his fledgling career at stud.
Casey owns 19 of the 27 registered two-year-olds by Sky Major, having had to “beg, borrow and steal” mares to get his progeny on the ground.
“It’s hard for a colonial stallion so I bought a few mares, leased a few and did deals for the best mares I could find.
“A couple of the foals died and one was blind but I’ve leased a lot of the others all over the country and from the feedback I’m getting I’m confident he’ll leave winners.
“All the trainers say they’re nice tractable horses who want to be there - I haven’t had any bad reports.”
So far only one Sky Major has raced, Casey’s Clouding Over placing on debut for Terry Chmiel at Addington in February.
Two others apart from Heaven High have qualified, Casey selling Indasky to Sydney after he qualifed in January for Regan Todd.
Casey believes Indasky could well be Sky Major’s first success after winning two trials at Newcastle, the latest 12 days ago by 30 metres.
Sky Major’s other trial winner was Sky Rocket who qualified in February for Kyle Marshall at Cambridge, beating his stablemate by seven and three-quarter lengths.
But Casey expects more to show up soon, Todd liking his Sky Major filly named Get Smart.
“Sky Major was definitely one of my favourite horses, he was a super horse who had real speed and could stay, so I’d love to see him step up as a sire.
“I’ve put myself on the line and spent the money. I don’t expect to make a fortune - it’s only a hobby for me - and it’s very expensive having a stallion.”
There have been plenty of outgoings since Casey and his friend, West Australian businessman John Lohman, bought out their partners in Sky Major after a 12-race losing streak in 2015-2016.
Casey was convinced they could get the horse back on track in North America given he was good enough to win five Group I races with Barry Purdon and was the only horse to win the Harness Jewels at two, three and four.
And when Sky Major first arrived in Canada, where he was trained by ex All Stars foreman Duane Marfisi, everything looked rosy.
First-up at Woodbine, in February, 2017, Sky Major scored brilliantly in 1:50.4, Marfisi noting he was one of the most intelligent horses he had ever worked with, despite freaking out at the sight of snow piled up on the outside of the track.
A month later he was winning at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
But the dream ended when Sky Major broke down after just three wins.
“He fractured a hind bone and was out for a while. He had a couple of other little ailments so rather than keep patching him up, we retired him.
”I tried to sell him over there as a stallion but no one had heard of him.
“We loved the horse so rather than send him somewhere he wouldn’t be looked after we brought him home.”
Casey set a low $1000 stud fee for the horse but considering he arrived home only in October, when the breeding season was well underway, it wasn’t surprising he had limited bookings.
With 37 yearlings and 51 weanlings from his next two crops, Casey is sure it won’t take long for Sky Major to take a trick.
He’s even planning on mating his nine-race winner Cheezel with Sky Major believing “he’s showing enough to put a nice mare to him.”
Sadly, Lohman won’t be here to see the next chapter of the Sky Major story - he died on Christmas Day in 2020, leaving his share in the horse to Casey.
“John was a big part of Sky Major and was a very good supporter of harness racing.
‘I’ve named a couple of the Sky Majors after him. One of the three yearlings Ray has for me is called Lohman.
“I’m sure John will be looking down watching them.”
* Heaven High was to contest a two-year-old maiden on Thursday but after only four horses were nominated he has landed in a strong up-to-rating 50 pace from the worst draw, 11.
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Saturday night at Albion Park
Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Friday night at Auckland
Race 2: Frisco Bay
“He obviously needed the run last week. He pulled his way round the field and sat outside the leader but he couldn’t cop a run like that first-up and got tired. The ability is there, whether he’s fit enough or not we’ll find out. But I expect him to go well, the three draw is much better than last week.”
Race 2: Lenny Lincoln
“He’ll probably need a race but he’s capable of running a slot. He’s unlucky not to have won a race, all three of his seconds were good. He’s got a bit better with each of his trials this time in and he got home well last Saturday, after coming widest on the turn.”
Race 3: Obadiah Dragon
“The way the race was run at Cambridge last week, his effort wasn’t bad at all. Moni (Monika Ranger) said he felt strong and, if he’d been a few slots closer, he would have been right in it. He’ll be improved for the run.”
Race 3: Leo Lincoln
“He’s very consistent - he’s only missed a couple of cheques. But he’s another just coming back and should improve with the run.”