Bargain-bin horse worth his weight in gold

Ellie HoneyboneGeraldton Guardian
Kim Renner at home in Geraldton.
Camera IconKim Renner at home in Geraldton. Credit: Ellie Honeybone, The Geraldton Guardian

Geraldton horse breaker Kim Renner has owned many racing thoroughbreds in his life, but none quite as spectacular as Black Heart Bart.

Named after his champion sire Blackfriars and for the love-heart shaped marking on his forehead, the six-year-old gelding has been tearing up the turf in Melbourne guided by leading trainer Darren Weir.

Black Heart Bart has racked up five Group 1 wins and even took on the world's top-ranked turf horse, Winx, in a three-horse battle in the Caulfield Stakes in October.

“Bart is the most successful horse I have ever owned by a country mile,” Mr Renner said.

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“He never even raced in Geraldton — he was just too good.

“He earned over $1 million in prize money here in WA before I sent him over east.”

After heading home early from a night out at the Wintersun Hotel a few years ago, Mr Renner settled on the couch to watch the Magic Millions Yearling sale in Perth and spotted Black Heart Bart in the bargain bin.

“It was the weakest day of the sales but he really stood out,” he said.

“I rang my trainer in Perth and said ‘get around there and look at that horse, the only thing that could be wrong with him is his legs’.

“He rang me back and said his legs were fine.”

Mr Renner paid the owner $20,000 and shipped the horse to Geraldton to begin his training.

“He was a bit of a ratbag at the start — I think he was just too excited,” he said.

“After a while I sent him down to Larkhill and he had a few unlucky races before winning his maiden in Bunbury. He just continued to win from there.”

Geraldton-based owner Kim Renner, second from right, accompanies Black Heart Bart after a win at Caulfield in September.
Camera IconGeraldton-based owner Kim Renner, second from right, accompanies Black Heart Bart after a win at Caulfield in September. Credit: Getty Images

Mr Renner sold equal shares in Black Heart Bart to his friends but remains managing owner, regularly chatting over the phone to Weir about the horse’s progress.

“If he had stayed in WA he would only have the option of a couple of races each year,” he said.

“Over east we have about 30 to chose from. He has always been sound as a bell so I hope we have a couple more years with him but you never know with horses.

“Whether he retires up here or over in Melbourne will be decided when the time comes but we have no plans for that yet.”

Now with plenty of experience under his belt, Black Heart Bart is far more relaxed around the stables and can usually be found lounging half-asleep with his tongue hanging loose.

“He is now one of the best horses you can have around — he is no trouble in the world,” Mr Renner said.

“I am pretty happy with the decision I made that day when I first saw him.

“Even though he was 500km away I could still see he was a decent horse.

“I have only ever missed one of his races and hope to be there to watch plenty more.”

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