More Than An Omen – Koda Has Da Motor

Graham Dwyer has unearthed another talented trotter, with four-year-old mare Koda Da Moda securing her second successive victory at The Creek on Tuesday.

Having her third start since joining his North McLean stables, the daughter of Kvintet Avenger showed she has some gears when working home strongly from back in the field to claim the Prydes Easifeed Trotters Handicap.

Safely away from a 20-metre handicap, there was a genuine tempo set in front by Burkhardt which saw Koda Da Moda effectively in the one-by-one trail but sitting some three lengths back from the horse leading the one-wide line.

Pocketed at the 500 when the runs started to come, driver Brendan Barnes maintained his composure and was able to squeeze into the clear as they turned off the back straight.

Letting down strongly, the mare rushed up to the leader and by the 200 had worked to the front, pulling clear to claim victory by 5.5 metres over Aldebaran Fonz for Ryan and Dannielle Veivers.

“She did that comfortably and there was still plenty left,” Barnes said after the race.

A close second at her first Queensland appearance behind Tumult, she was able to go one better second up before making it back-to-back wins with her latest victory, with the strength of that win convincing connections to push on for a tilt at the Jim McNeil Championship.

Purchased by John Hancox out of Victoria, the mare has been able to make a quick return for the All In group led by Hancox and his wife Vicky.

Hancox used to be involved in the harness game many years ago and was a regular at the Tweed Heads track, before venturing into thoroughbreds.

A chance meeting with Dwyer at a barbecue led Hancox back to the trots and his first foray back into the sport saw the retired firefighter purchase Shes Miss Devine from the Redcliffe yearling sales.

Finishing second to Manila Playboy in the two-year-old Sales Series Final of 2020, she returned at three and turned the tables in that season’s Final with a determined victory before winning the Redcliffe Oaks at her next outing.

Eventually retiring with 10 wins from 33 starts and over $130,000 in stakes, Hancox is excited about the breeding opportunity with the young mare, who although missing to Rock N Roll Heaven, is currently in foal to Captaintreacherous.

Enjoying a run of success with the Dwyer stable, Hancox has bought further owners into the sport through the All In Group, with the horses racing in distinctive white and black silks.

Success with the trotter Rigondeaux throughout 2022 led Hancox to specifically endeavour to source square gaiters and the next purchase was Orlando Rock.

A now four-year-old son of Orlando Vici, he was a debut winner as a three-year-old at Melton, with Not As Promised finishing third in the same race, with Hancox sealing a deal to purchase the gelding.

With the three-year-old impressing in track work, the inaugural The Great Square was going to be the target for the gelding.

“We paid good money for him through Yabby Dam Farms but then he broke down,” Hancox said.

“He was two weeks off trialling, and he had a problem with a tendon, so he went straight to the paddock, and he has just received an all clear to return.

“So, then I had to find a new horse, so I got online again and found Madeakillin.”

Madeakillin was first up for the Dwyer stable last July when taken to Marburg and faced with a 40-metre handicap.

Despite the big impost, the seven-year-old demolished the opposition to set a new track record, however, has not been sighted since.

“I’ve also got some issues with Madeakillin, -the knee issue has now been cleaned up in the scans.

“After he won at Marburg, he worked sensationally but then he has gone sore, it looks like a primary issue in his knee has led to secondary problems, but I think he is a really promising horse if we can get him right,” he said.

The latest purchase for the All In team is Koda Da Moda, the mare sourced from the Brett Lilley stables by Hancox who was impressed with what he saw as a solid education on the mare in her races by champion reinsman Chris Alford.

But this purchase comes with a little more sentimentality than the previous horses.

“I got a shopping list off Graham, potential horses to follow up and said, ‘see what you like there’ and there were a few and one that Graham thought was the one.”

After seeing the potential list, there was one name on the list that stood out immediately and struck John and Vicky straight away- Koda Da Moda.

Dwyer was initially hesitant with the selection of the four-year-old mare.

“That’s the one I want- Koda- it’s an omen buy for me, but I’ve had a look at the tapes, I’m wrapped because if you have a look at it, in her five starts, Chris has drove her differently, he has been educating her,” Hancox said.

John Koda was an extremely talented surfer and windsurfer and a good friend of the Hancox, who tragically took his own life in early 2022.

His memory is perpetuated with the Koda Classic wind surfing carnival on the Sunshine Coast with the second Classic to be held this year.

After the two impressive performances from Koda Da Moda, the mare will now head to the Jim McNeil Trotting Championship.

And if there was a further endorsement that they have purchased the right horse- The Koda Classic is scheduled for next weekend, when the McNeil Championship begins.