There will be some real noise generated if White Noise gets into the finish of the Vodafone New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Covid measures will restrict the attendance and access at Ellerslie, but White Noise is still expected to have a support crew of at least 30 on course. More would have attended under normal circumstances, but the group should still be able to make an impression.
White Noise, who is third favourite for the Derby, has 23 registered owners.
They have already had a good run, with White Noise winning four of his nine starts, including two black-type races, and earning more than $100,000 in stakes.
The El Roca gelding ticks several Derby boxes, winning the Listed Gingernuts Salver over 2100m at Ellerslie in January, before making ground solidly for fourth in the Avondale Guineas, at his first race start for six weeks. He ran the second-fastest sectionals for the last 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m in the Guineas, with only the runaway winner and Derby favourite La Crique recording quicker sectionals.
White Noise was also sharp enough to win twice over 1400m in the lower grades, before winning the Group III Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki in November.
He is among three Derby runners for Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, who have made a habit of winning Derbies.
Two of White Noise’s owners – Matthew Fenwick and Mike Gatt – also have form when it comes to winning Derbies. Fenwick was a part-owner of Victoria Derby and Auckland Cup winner Sangster and Gatt was shareholder in star galloper and 2004 NZ Derby winner Xcellent.
Fenwick, who is based in Hong Kong, was also a part-owner of El Roca, and kept his share when the horse went to stud, which led to him breeding White Noise, in partnership with Gatt.
The horse is now leased to the current ownership group, which includes Fenwick and Gatt, and Fenwick’s brother, Logan, who is the Racing Manager.
Logan also put the partnership together. “Most of the owners trace back to people we knew when growing up in Palmerston North,” he said. “There are four cases of fathers and sons being involved.”
The Fenwick brothers are sons of veteran racing administrator and enthusiast Allan Fenwick, who also has a share in in White Noise and the horse races in Allan’s colours. “Mum and Dad have had the colours for a long time, but they haven’t been used very often,” Logan said.
Allan Fenwick, a former NZTR CEO, has won more than 100 races as an owner and was a member of the partnership that bred and raced the One Thousand Guineas winner Plume, who was also runner-up in the NZ Oaks.
Matthew Fenwick is the majority owner of White Noise and has the biggest individual share in the racing partnership but can’t be at Ellerslie this weekend. However, he will not be a lone supporter in Hong Kong, as another Hong Kong resident, former NZ Trackside presenter Darryl Anderson, is also a part-owner.