Nishiazabu (named after the suburb in Japan where the owners once lived) was foaled in Kilmore in September 2008, & began his career as a 2 year old in Mornington, Victoria at the stables of Neil Walsh. After a number of unplaced flat runs in Mornington, the owners moved to Adelaide and brought Nishi along with them where he began his journey with Kevin & Heather Frew. It wasn’t long until Nishi discovered his love for Oakbank, taking out his maiden win over 2150 metres in 2012. Little did we know he would soon discover his amazing talent for jumping over fences…
Whilst learning to jump in hurdle trials under the guidance & expertise of the Frews, Nishi competed in and won the longest flat race in Australia (at the time) at Oakbank over 3600 metres, which was an exciting sign of things to come. After having two unplaced official hurdle race starts, his Jockey Tom Ryan (at the time) stated the obvious – that Nishi’s Pegasus-like jumping action meant he could be an exciting steeplechasing prospect - moreso than a hurdler.
This proved excitingly true as the dream came alive in the 2016 jumps season, which revealed his ability to compete in the feature jumps races as a genuine threat. His bold front-running race tactics & love for launching over fences quickly brought him the nickname “The Flying South Australian”.
In partnering with the expertise of jockey Paul Hamblin, Nishi’s achivements include:
- Won the 2016 Von Doussa Steeplechase (Oakbank)
- Won the 2016 SA Grand National Steeplechase (Morphetville)
- Twice Won the Thomas Foods Steeplechase 2016/2017 (Oakbank)
- Won the 2014 Oakbank Tattsbet Handicap 3600m (Oakbank)
- Twice placed in the Great Eastern Steeplechase 2015/2016 (Oakbank)
- Twice placed in the Thackeray Steeplechase 2016/2017 (Warrnambool)
- Nominated as a finalist for Australian Jumper of the Year 2016
Total prizemoney $353,619
90 starts/8 wins/27 placings
Life After Racing
Nishiazabu had evolved into a cult hero of South Australian jumping. Following a fall in the 2018 Von Doussa Steeplechase, it was decided that Nishi's welfare must come first and he was to retire. Although Nishi did not have any injuries from the race & would have loved to back up his efforts for the rest of the 2018 season, it was deemed that it was best to give him an immediate, long & enjoyable retirement at the family home in Cherry Gardens, South Australia.
Nishiazabu now lives a happy & relaxing life in the Adelaide hills, with acres of space to enjoy being a horse. He spends his days under the love of his owners, going on trail walks & eating lots of carrots. Taking on another career of showjumping & eventing is a potential future prospect for Nishi, once he has had enough of relaxing in his paddock & day dreaming of the magical fallen log at Oakbank..