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The Life and Times of the Infamous Banna Strand
 By Valkyrie   •   26th Jul 2013   •   1,858 views   •   0 comments
The incident that occurred on the fifth of May, 2011, may be New Zealand Thoroughbred gelding Banna Strand's only claim to fame.

By the Danehill son Danasinga, out of a Kaapstad mare, Banna Strand (2003) was trained by John Wheeler and had an unsuccessful flat racing career, never breaking his maiden in over thirty starts, before making the transition to steeplechasing. He made the trip to Australia in 2011 for a shot at the jumps racing there. He finished second out of eight horses in his second start, and was sent to Warrnambool to contest for the A$250,000 Grand Annual Steeplechase.

Unfortunately, Banna Strand was soon to make a name for himself – an infamous one. He dislodged his rider during the running and leapt a two-metre fence at a full gallop directly into a throng of spectators. Seven were injured, including a two year old girl who fractured her collarbone.



Banna Strand was uninjured in the accident, racing again a few weeks later where he slightly redeemed himself by finishing a respectable third. He returned to New Zealand thereafter and maintained average form.

Banna Strand and his trainer again made the trip to Australia in March of 2013 when the gelding was nine years old. He raced in the same two lead-up races he did during his previous campaign, and was unplaced in both starts.

On the second of May, 2013, Banna Strand broke from the barriers at Warrnambool for a second time. Sitting just off the pace, Banna Strand hauled back the leaders in the straight to win gamely. It was sweet redemption for the gelding after his antics two years previously, and the icing on the cake of a long career.

The Grand Annual was to be Banna Strand's swansong. The bay was retired with career earnings of just under A$250,000. From 68 starts he won just three times, with 17 placings, but had proved himself to be a great campaigner.

In July of 2013 Banna Strand was found dead in his paddock at his Taranaki home in New Zealand, the cause of death believed to be a twisted bowel.

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