TUESDAY: March 3, 2020: HE definitely isn’t “just a horse”!
The lightly-raced Hawkesbury three-year-old is belying his unusual name, having won two races from only four starts.
Just A Horse ($2.70 favorite) justified solid support to post another victory – this time at Cowra yesterday – when he finished strongly to take the Class 1 Handicap (1100m).
In the process, he continued an excellent start to the new racing year for his trainer Terry Croft, who has already won six races so far this season – only one less than he prepared in each of the previous two full seasons.
Four of those victories have come this year; stable stalwart No Escape scoring at Rosehill Gardens on January 18 and Just A Horse and Lu’s In Charge giving the stable a Port Macquarie double six days later.
Croft was Hawkesbury’s first winner of the current season, scoring with Rose Of War at the Forbes Cup meeting on August 5 and then Tadema at Tuncurry on December 9.
The seven-hour return trip to Cowra yesterday proved worthwhile as Just A Horse was his only runner at the meeting.
However, it was a long wait and a late night as the last race wasn’t run until 6pm.
The form from Just A Horse’s breakthrough success at Port Macquarie in late January has worked out well.
Runner-up Pride Of Adelaide subsequently bolted in on the Beaumont track on February 17 and the exciting Newcastle three-year-old is scheduled to start next at Hawkesbury on Saturday
Croft was confident Just A Horse – so named because his connections despaired of getting a name for him after many had been knocked back – could bounce back from a defeat when favorite in a Class 1 Handicap (1108m) at Bathurst on February 10.
“Christian Reith rode him and felt the track (a Good 3) was too firm for him that day,” Croft explained this morning.
“Even though he led when he won at Port Macquarie, I have always felt Just A Horse would be better ridden off the pace.
“That’s how Mikayla Weir rode him yesterday, and he finished off strongly.”
Just A Horse beat Valarian ($5) and another Hawkesbury representative, Team Vigouroux’s Prototype ($11).
Croft will gauge the gelding’s progress over the next few days before deciding whether to give him another run this preparation or a short break.
Stable star No Escape has been nominated for the $150,000 Listed National Sprint (1400m) at Canberra on Sunday.
. Six Hawkesbury horses have been entered for their home track $150,000 Provincial Championships Qualifier (1400m) on Saturday.
Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard have nominated Reiby’s Regent, Munich and Moinda, Daniel Robinson has Karmazone, Matt Vella has I’m A Legend and Edward Cummings has Gin Runner.
Twenty-four horses have been entered for the second qualifier, with 16 permitted to start and provision for four emergencies if required.