Northerly Champion Racehorse
Northerly A Warm Favourite Of The Racing And General Public
Just as many who have come to Australia from other parts of the world to find success, Northerly, whilst foaled here, traces most of his ancestry to foreign blood. northerly
He likewise enjoyed success on the turf, became a favourite of the racing and general public and accomplished something of which few others can brag when he relegated the redoubtable Sunline to one of her relatively scarce second place finishes in the John F. Feehan Stakes over 1600 metres of Moonee Valley racecourse.
Foaled In 1996
Northerly was foaled in 1996 in Western Australia of a U.S. horse, Serheed, that jumped only 18 times, producing five wins. Serheed was far more productive at supplying Australian racecourses with 27 stakes winners. Northerly’s dam was the native North Bell, that was raced perhaps more to improve her standing as a broodmare as for any other reason. Further back, Northerly’s line had some truly impressive ancestors, names such as Nijinsky and Northern Dancer that had a role in none other than Makybe Diva.
The big bay gelding was a favourite for his come from behind victories where he would feign being blown to lull his competitors into a false sense of security, and then come out of the back for narrow wins.
Regarding some of his epic battles with Sunline, many would maintain that only Northerly prevented her from equaling or surpassing Kingston Town’s Group 1 records.
Trainer Fred Kersey
Northerly began his racing career close to home in the vicinity of Perth. He was trained by Fred Kersey, a former harness specialist. His first race at Ascot in autumn of 2000 produced a third place finish. He then took first in a Listed middle distance race before an extended spell.
His next win came at Ascot on the last day of November, 2000, and won his first Group race shortly thereafter. The following week marks his first Group 1 win, the 1600 m Railway Stakes at Ascot.
Soon afterward, Northerly’s connections rightly decided to test their horse at Caulfield. Despite giving the field as much as 5 kg., he won the Group 2 Carylon Cup. Flemington was next on the schedule, where he won the prestigious Australian Cup at 2000 m, beating two Kiwi imports in the process.
Another racing respite followed, with a return to Belmont, and then four Group 1 wins in a row, where he handed Sunline another two of her second place finishes, won the W.S. Cox Plate, and then retreated strategically to Ascot for one more try followed by a spell of 12 weeks.
He ran briefly in the Autumn Racing Carnival of 2002, with nothing to show other than a close second that would have resulted in an Australian Cup but for the winning effort of Old Comrade.
Northerly waited until spring before venturing forth again. When he returned to the east, he ran seven times, taking the Underwood Stakes, the Caulfield Cup and another Cox Plate, demonstrating that he was quite comfortable at Moonee Valley and Caulfield.
The following autumn featured another Australia Cup win at Flemington, where he set a course record that required none other than Makybe Diva to best, that along with other good results for that campaign resulted in his being named Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year.
Unfortunately, it was soon learned that a career threatening tendon injury would require an extended spell, almost 18 months. His return in spring of 2004 required him to carry more than 10 kg. more than his closest competitor, where he managed a fourth place finish by less than a length.
He did not place in his final two races and it became quite obvious that the time to retire was upon him.
Racing Hall Of Fame 2010
Northerly was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2010. He was declared Middle Distance Champion in 2002 and 2003.
Two of his riders, Damien Oliver and Greg Childs, jockeys whose opinions would be considered of considerable value by some, had nothing except the highest praise for Northerly, and no doubt countless punters would agree.
Northerly never had the opportunity to contribute his racing DNA. He spent the remainder of his life residing at Living Legends in Greenvale. On 9 May of 2012, he passed away after a colic attack and a twisted bowel.
His exploits on the track, his epic battles with Sunline and his $9 million plus earning record are all factors that will contribute to his ongoing memory.