SATURDAY: January 7, 2023: HEAVY tracks in town? Not a worry to Hawkesbury trainer Terry Croft.
Whilst he doesn’t have a big team, his last three city winners have all been on that type of ground.
Croft burst back into the city spotlight last night when Just A Brother ($6.50) clinched a breakthrough in town in the $80,000 Evening Star (1550m Benchmark 72 Handicap).
The five-year-old gelding enjoyed an ideal run from an inside draw under Regan Bayliss, and defeated Kobe Rocks ($3.50) and $3.20 favorite Dimaggio.
Croft’s previous city winner was his now retired former stable flag-bearer No Escape, who was a $31 rank outsider when he beat six rivals in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1350m) on a “Heavy 8” at Rosehill Gardens on January 18, 2020.
He also won a similar race (at $13) over 1500m at the same track in June the previous year on a “Heavy 9”.
Just A Brother won his fourth race last night and lifted his career earnings to just over $140,000, vindicating his owners’ decision not to part with him at the 2019 Inglis Ready2Race sale as an early two-year-old when he was passed in at $25,000.
“We didn’t want too much more for him,” Croft said today.
Croft took Just A Brother to Brisbane last month as a travelling companion for his smart three-year-old Kandos Cosmos, and he ran well to finish a close fifth to Fashion Legend in a No Metropolitan Win Handicap over 1400m at Eagle Farm on December 17.
Both the winner and runner-up Mix had won since, so it pointed strongly to the Hawkesbury gelding’s prospects for his return to NSW racing.
“That was only his second run back, and I was expecting him to run really well last night,” Croft said.
Meanwhile, promising young stayer Kandos Cosmos has returned to Croft’s stable with his trainer intending to give him every chance to earn a start in the $2m Group 1 ATC Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 1 on the opening day of The Championships.
The Stratum Star colt followed a Newcastle 1880m breakthrough on November 27 with an excellent third to hotpot Kovalica in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2100m) at that Eagle Farm meeting.
“It was a terrific run,” Croft said. “He should have pushed the favorite.
“I gave Kandos Cosmos a fortnight’s break when he returned home, and brought him back to the stable last Thursday.”
Kandos Cosmos has raced only seven times, and was narrowly beaten on debut over 1200m as a two-year-old at Canterbury last May at $81.
He also was placed over 1400m at Warwick Farm in October as an early three-year-old before finishing fourth in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle on November 12.