THE Mid-North Coast’s only million-dollar prizemoney racehorse, eight-year-old Taree gelding Youthful Jack, will be on trial for his third trip to Tasmania in a gallop between races at Taree Wingham Race Club’s TAB meeting at Bushland Drive Racecourse this Friday.
The Ross Stitt-trained galloper certainly impressed with a track gallop between races on December 22 when ridden by regular rider, Cessnock’s Robert Thompson.
The gelding was only asked for a real effort around the latter bit of a 600m gallop by itself and notched 36 seconds for the distance.
Stitt said he asked Thompson what he thought of the gallop and he replied: “When is the Ramornie on?”
The jockey was referring to the Ramornie Handicap at Grafton, a race Stitt and Thompson combined to win in July to cement a life-long dream by the trainer to win the prestigious race.
But the comment did suggest that Youthful Jack was right on song fitness wise to resume racing.
That win at Grafton took the galloper’s earnings to nearly $1,120,000, it subsequently grabbing another $3200 when second when lumping 66.5kgs when beaten a head at the Taree Cup Carnival in August.
After a campaign up in Queensland, Youthful Jack was spelled.
But it is close to that time of year when the gelding has shown his great form in weight for age races in Tasmania.
Last February he won a $100,000 race in the Apple Isle but was unable to repeat the feat of the previous year when Youthful Jack made a clean sweep of the three WFA races, all carrying $100,000 prizemoney.
A wet track and short distances were against him last time but the lure is there again for his return.
Stand-in Tasmanian trainer Adam Trinder wants Youthful Jack to return for the series and Stitt would love to again send his charge south if he feels he would be competitive.
The races begin on January 22 and end about a month later, all again being worth $100,000.
Stitt couldn’t be happier with Youthful Jack’s health and the track gallop on Friday will be watched with anticipation.
“If he shows something, he will be straight on the float for the trip south,” he said.
Smokers be warned-from next Tuesday smoking is NOT permitted in the spectator areas of Bushland Drive Racecourse, Taree.
That means the outside grandstand area and anywhere where the public congregates to watch the races.
The new ruling comes under new government legislation which states smoking is not permitted in spectator areas of sporting grounds.
The Bushland Drive Racecourse is regarded as a sporting field and the Taree Wingham Race Club is calling on smokers to comply with the legislation.
On a recent trip to Perth, I went to the local racetrack and was surprised by the number of hard notices in front of the viewing grandstand stipulating “no smoking” allowed.
These notices were erected about every four metres along the front and around the saddling enclosure.
Obviously, legislators are taking a leaf out of Western Australia’s no smoking rule book.
Best for Shazza
Stitt confessed it has taken him some time to work out what distances are best for his four-year-old mare Shazza’s Bubbles, the winner of four races, her last two in scintillating style, one breaking a track record held since 1998 on her home track.
She is to race in the $30,000 Inverell Cup over 1400m this week along with seven-year-old gelding Perlaact, trained at Taree by Greg Drury, which has won its past three races at Taree.
Stitt said he thought his mare would “get 10 furlongs” but now he thinks she is probably at her best up to a mile.
As for her start at Inverell, the trainer reckons the track suits as the mare can travel up on the speed.
Apprentice jockey Matthew McGuren, on Shazza’s Bubbles for her two wins, said of her last win: “I probably hit a flat spot about 500m out but then she did it easy.
“I didn’t think she would win like that (an easy four lenghs).”
Wyong trainer Wayne Seelin had a repeat of an eerie experience with his two gallopers, three-year-old gelding Isorich (second) and winner, six-year-old gelding Battle Street, at Bushland Drive Racecourse four years ago.
Isorich looked all over a winner until it ran sideways, placing jockey Tim McGovern, in all sorts of strife as it tended to also pull up before a long neck second to Taree gelding Fun With Indy.
Jockey and trainer combined, with no trouble this time, with Battle Street winning the next race by just over a length.
“I am still a little bit cranky about what happened to Isorich,” he said after the other one had won.
“A similar thing happened four years ago.
“How High ran off and finished second and then I won the last race with Want A Bet,” he said.
“On both occasions I should have had a winning double.”
I will preview Taree Wingham Race Club’s TAB meeting on Friday in that day’s edition.