Patience paying off for Heys
Patience and loyalty are two of the fundamental principles that lead to success in life and certainly when it comes to horse racing.
This type of approach is starting to pay off for trainer Bryce Heys and his expensive I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit) filly Dancing Alone, who made it two wins in as many starts when at Kembla yesterday in a Class 1 sprint over 1000 metres.
The three-year-old kicked off her career with a debut win at Canberra last month and now unbeaten is shaping as the most exciting prospect Heys has prepared since star sprinter Spieth (Thorn Park) who raced for the same connections.
Dancing Alone was purchased by Heys’ Ellerslie Lodge for $1.4 million at the 2021 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale from the Vinery Stud draft and races in the colours of Michael O’Keefe and Veronica King.
“She’s an easter filly and carries a bit of a profile and they always the same when they walk out of the sale ring. But you just hope you are off to a head start with the pedigree and physical type she is and she has started off well,” said Heys.
It’s been almost five years since Heys was at the helm of the heady days with Spieth, who ran second in two elite-grade races at Flemington, the Darley Classic (Gr 1, 1200m) and the Lightning Stakes (Gr 1, 1000m).
The bright chestnut equine rocket was retired to join the roster at Aquis Farm and sadly he was euthanised in the middle of last year at just ten years of age, after suffering serious injury in his stable.
Heys recalls the racing journey with Spieth as one of highs and lows.
“He was one of the first horses I bought and it all happened very quickly. I was very lucky to have him, but he had significant ailments that impeded him from fulfilling his potential but he still raced to an elite level.”
After Spieth’s retirement things quietened down for Heys.
“We did it tough in regards to numbers. We struggled to stay relevant because you need numbers.”
Spieth’s majority owners Michael O’Keefe and Veronica King, who now reside in Montreal for business commitments, stuck solid with the young trainer supporting him with purchases at the yearling sales.
“I’m lucky they stuck by me through a lean period of having limited runners. Over the last two years, they bought a few horses and I’m grateful of that because we love what we do.
“It’s a big commitment from them as they are a long way from the horses and it’s probably tough paying the bills all the time, but they have stayed in it with me. I have had to learn the hard way on a few things, but they have been very good to me.”
Dancing Alone, the first foal of Group Two–placed Snitzel mare Miles Of Krishan, a half-sister to the Champion New Zealand 2YO Il Quello Veloce, is now vindicating their belief in Heys’ ability.
“She’s a filly that is still furnishing a lot physically and quite immature and I have been mindful of that before we put pressure on her and we are lucky the owners have allowed me to do that.”
A slow and steady approach combined with the dedication of Heys’ partner, Tammy Blair, who rides all her track work has been key to the success so far.
“Tammy is a huge part of what I do and her TLC for horses knows no bounds. She’s done all the work on this filly which has needed time.”
Dancing Alone will now enjoy a break before returning over the winter and in the meantime Heys will be busy trying to source new stock at the upcoming Inglis Classic Sale.
“I’m hoping to get a few at the classic sale this week. I’m always focussed on this sale as it’s suited to us and produces bang for your buck in terms of what you need here in Sydney.”