After a committing almost all of her 59 years to horses, Barb Barry, was going to retire next year and travel around Australia with her husband Graeme Haggar.
Then along came Ginger Micky in 2015 and then two years later, her pride and joy, the now 2-year-old pacing filly, Sheza Bonny Sheila.
“I always told people I was going to retire from harness racing when I was 60, and a few years ago I would have stuck to that, but now I feel our standardbred breed is just starting to hit its straps.
“We are always looking at the best possible ways to improve our bloodlines. The progeny is getting stronger and to be honest I’m enjoying the game more than I ever have to walk away right now.
“You can put that down to our breed. Lots of time and commitment over the years is really starting to pay dividends,” Cornubia- based Barry said.
“We always thought Ima Bonnie Sheila would develop into a nice broodmare, and Sheza Bonny Sheila has been the best of her progeny. She makes the job very worthwhile. The best I’ve had anything to do with,” she added.
Barry and Haggar bred and own the promising 2-year-old daughter of Betterthancheddar, Sheza Bonny Sheila. Barry trains her and her regular driver is Adam Sanderson
The bay filly has won one of her six starts and placed in two others for just under $18,000 in stakes.
Her maiden victory in the $20,000 Changeover Classic at Albion Park on March 28 was an impressive one. That day she dealt to her opposition by 14.6 metres.
Sheza Bonny Sheila and Sanderson flew the gate from barrier six and from that point never looked like losing the 1,660m mobile. In fact, she was lonely on the home turn and lonely at the finish.
The promising filly stopped the clock in 2:00.1 (mile rate 1:56.4) and her sectionals were 28, 31, 29.1, and 28.4.
Sheza Bonny Sheila is the second of two foals out of the six win 2008 Blissful Hall mare, Im A Bonnie Sheila.
Her first foal, the now 4-year-old Flightpath gelding, Ginger Micky, who has won four of his 24 starts and placed in nine others ($40,945) since making his race-day debut with a second at Albion Park on May 15.
“He’s a lovely horse, who will also get better with age. We took him down to the Breeders Challenge last year and he finished a gallant fourth. Like his little sister, I’m sure he will win more races,” said Barry.
The Logan City horsewoman, said she was looking forward to the broodmare’s next foal.
“She is due to drop to Vincent in a couple of months, and then we are contemplating putting her to Betting Line. We think the Bettor’s Delight cross will add further to our breed,” she said.
Barry was born in Goondiwindi and educated Inverell High School.
“I was born into a ‘horse family’. I grew up on a 10,000 acre farm and was riding horses very early in life. I did Pony Club and mustered stock on them.
“Dad (Dennis) actually got into trotters through a friend and all I ever wanted to do from an early age was work the standardbreds after school and in the school holidays.
“I became hooked on the standardbred breed and when I left school I went and worked for Steve Wyler and then I went to Leigh Wanless. He taught me so much. He was one of the big trainers at the time (1970s), and then I went and worked for Billy Dixon until 1985. A year before that I married Graeme.”
But Barry said it had been the last four or so years that really piqued her interest in harness racing.
“That’s when the breed started to come together. It’s so rewarding to have your mare produce a beautiful little foal and then you get to see and develop them into equine athletes.
“We always thought Ima Bonnie Sheila would become a nice broodmare. Her Mum, Bonnie Sheila (1996 Holmes Hanover mare) won 16 races and just over $40,000.
“Sadly, we didn’t get see the best of Ima Bonnie Sheila on the racetrack because she suffered from ringbone.
“She raced 30 times for six wins and seven placings ($17,533). We retired her early and bred from her when she was five. We can’t wait for her future foals. We missed to Vincent in 2018 and got a free service this time,” Barry said.
“it’s just a shame we are hitting our peak now and not 10 years ago,” she added.
Barry has trained three winners this season and just over 160 since 1985. She also competed at the 2016 World Driving Championships in Hungary.