28 May 2013 - A horse named in memory of a little girl with big blue eyes and pretty ringlets created tears of joy at Bendigo’s Lords Raceway on Saturday night.
Four-year-old trotting mare Sophie Gorgeous was named after Sophie Goss who passed away in her sleep at the age of seven on June 2, 2009. “Sophie Gorgeous” was there in spirit as her namesake sprinted from the middle of the field to snatch a surprise victory in race nine at odds of $13. Sophie’s family stood at the finish line to cheer Sophie Gorgeous home to her first win. Sophie’s mother Rachel said she was a “special little girl from day one’’. “We used to say she was gorgeous with her big blue eyes and ringlets,’’ she said. “She called herself Sophie Gorgeous.’’ And that was how she would introduce herself to others. Bendigo horse breeders Denise and Brian Gath heard about Sophie at the same time one of their mares had a little filly. “I got to know Rachel when I went to the deli at Coles,’’ Denise said. “Sophie would come up and say: ‘Hello, I’m Sophie Gorgeous’. She was the cutest little thing.’’ “When Sophie passed away in her sleep, I told Rachel I was going to name the filly Sophie. “She asked me if we could call it Sophie Gorgeous.’’ Harness Racing Victoria granted the Gath family special permission to submit one name instead of the traditional six. Sophie Gorgeous has started eight times for Ballarat trainer Brian Kiesey but Saturday night’s win was her first. “It was an overwhelming sense of emotion – everyone was in tears,’’ Rachel said. “You could hear the crowd screaming, and that was us. “We didn’t think she would go close to winning, then Brian (who was driving) came home for us. “She just came from the middle and took off.’’ Bendigo Harness Racing Club general manager David Aldred said Sophie’s friends and family were excited by the win. “They let out a big cheer, her mum was extremely happy,’’ he said. “It’s the type of win you like to see in racing. There wasn’t a lot of money in it but it meant everything to a lot of people there. “It was very emotional – to those people it meant the world.’’ Rachel said Sophie Gorgeous the horse was beautiful and calm, just as her daughter was. “It’s nice to say the horse’s name has meaning behind it and somebody thought of us when thinking of that,’’ she said. “We’ve never been a family that had anything to do with horses – it’s a really warm and fuzzy feeling to know a family we didn’t know that well would do something like that for us.’’
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