Teddy Disco dancing towards the Chariots Of Fire

The nature and attitude of Shawn Grimsey’s star pacer mirrors his racing name.

While Teddy Disco was named so after rugby league player James Tedesco, Grimsey’s wife Michelle thinks there is a little more to it than that.

He is a favourite around their Tamborine stables.

“He is like a big teddy bear, he is as cruisey as,” Michelle, who helps with the team of horses, said.

The Group 1 champion – Teddy Disco – heads south this week on a hopeful Chariots Of Fire campaign.

The Grimsey-trained pacer has drawn wide in the Group 3 Paleface Adios Stakes at Menangle on Saturday evening as he chases a potential Chariots Of Fire start.

He is already a Group 1 winner back in his home state – grabbing the 2021 Redcliffe Yearling Sales Series 2YO Final.

But, as the Grimseys explain, the stable did not even think he would make it to the track in the early stages of his career.

The four-year-old was bred by Shawn’s father Barry and as Michelle recalls, it was tough going.

“As a yearling, we could not put bridles on him and he would not do track work,” she remembers.

“Once he had his first education, something switched in him and he turned into an instant race horse.

“We struck the jackpot with him as he is cruisey as.”

He only went to that education run to be a travelling companion with another from the team.

Teddy Disco has exceeded any expectations they would have had on him at that stage, winning $225,779 in career stakes so far.

Like Shawn and his father Barry, Michelle’s father also introduced her to the harness racing industry.

Rod Wingrave has a few starters each year in recent times and collected his last winner back in 2015.

Barry has been in the game for many years and Three Jewels – Teddy Disco’s mother – is a mare the Grimsey clan have bred with for some time.

“Three Jewels has been a wonderful mare – the best I’ve bred from,” Barry said almost a year ago.

Barry always stuck by Three Jewels, even if his son did not quite have the same faith at some stages.

“It is always a bigger thrill when the horse is family owned,” Shawn said.

“We bought his mother at the yearling sales quite a few years ago now and she had a fair few foals.

“I sort of gave up on her but Dad pressed on with her for a couple more and Teddy was the second last one.

“It has worked out all right.”

“All right” is putting it mildly.

Teddy Disco is a 13-time winner from just 27 starts.

He has chased southern feature racing earlier in his career but on his most recent occasion, he ran into a champion in the making – Leap To Fame.

Teddy Disco finished a respectable third in the Final of the NSW Breeders Challenge at Group 1 level in late October of last year behind the emerging superstar Leap To Fame. 

Shawn and Teddy departed the Sunshine State on Sunday to have an entire week in NSW before their assignment this Saturday night.

He tuned up nicely for the southern trip with an Albion Park victory late last month.

When the stable travelled to Menangle late in 2022, Michelle says the gelding “thrived” in the new environment.

“He lifted his game a bit, he likes the way everything works down there,” Michelle said.

“He likes the walker and the water walkers.

“It took him a run to get used to the speed and how the speed was run the last time he was down there.

“He will be sharp enough for his heat and if he is lucky enough to get into the Chariots Of Fire, he will be ready to rumble.”

The opportunity to potentially race in a prestigious series such as the Chariots Of Fire is not lost on the Grimseys.

With Leap To Fame bypassing the Chariots Of Fire, Captain Ravishing is going to be awfully hard to hold out following his dominant Menangle performance just a few days ago.

Captain Ravishing is the overwhelming favourite to claim the 2023 edition of the Chariots Of Fire, as the TAB have him a $1.40 favourite as of Wednesday morning.

Michelle is confident her “Teddy” will be competitive on the big stage if he can make his way into the Final.

“It will be a great experience for Shawn and the horse, we have never had a horse like this that is good enough to go away,” she said.

“We know with Teddy he will get the job done and do the best he can.

“As long as he puts a good run in, we will be stoked and really happy.”

Grimsey has also taken stable mate Speed Dating down for the trip, with the mare an emergency for the opening event from Menangle on Saturday. 

Leading Queensland driver Nathan Dawson will also make the journey south and partner the Grimsey runner. 

The Grant Dixon-trained Tims A Trooper has already secured his entry into the Chariots Of Fire after finishing third in the Hondo Grattan Sprint on Saturday night.

The Grimseys will not be the only stable from the Sunshine State represented on Saturday evening at Menangle. 

Shannon Price has four from her team engaged.

Price’s last start Group 3 winner – Sure Thing Captain – has drawn the outside barrier in the last race of the night as he presses on towards a New South Wales Derby assignment.

By Jordan Gerrans