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  • John Curtis


TUESDAY: March 16, 2021: TO say he’s been a work in progress would be an understatement, but co-trainers Jason and Lucy Attard finally reaped the rewards of their diligence and perseverance on their home track today.

The Hawkesbury husband and wife training partnership landed the Killahy Equine 4YO & Upwards Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1100m) with a four-year-old gelding who has been a real “headache”.

Having only his eighth start – and his fourth for Team Attard – More Joie ($9.50) finished resolutely wide on the track under Keagan Latham’s riding to defeat Taumalolo ($5) and $26 chance Nomoretawq.

More Joie, a son of More Than Ready, fetched $110,00 when offered as a yearling at the Gold Coast in 2018.

After four unplaced starts on provincial and country tracks for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, he was put on the market and Ron and Stellar Burns (Ronstel Thoroughbreds) bought him for $7000 online in February last year.

“Ron and Stellar were part of the syndicate which initially raced More Joie, and asked Lucy and myself if we would train him if they were able to buy him outright,” Jason Attard explained this afternoon.

“They have been great supporters and Ron felt the horse had some ability, so we were happy to take him on.

“But More Joie has been difficult to say the least.

“He had a tendency to overrace and bolt, and we had to teach him to settle.

“Lucy has done a terrific job doing that by riding him in work, and Rory Hutchings also deserves credit for helping us out as well.”

Attard has no doubt a change of environment has played a major role in helping transform More Joie to be a competitive racehorse.

“He goes out in the paddock at our property every day after his work and enjoys it,” Attard said.

“You can tell by the change in his demeanour that he loves being on the farm.

“But it takes patience from owners to be able to achieve what we have done with this horse.

“It doesn’t always work, but thankfully it has with More Joie.”

Attard found a positive in starting More Joie on a heavy track at his previous start at Gosford on February 13 when he finished fourth to Joyous Legend in a 1000m Maiden Plate.

“We nearly didn’t start him on a Heavy 9, but decided it might help him to settle as strange as it might seem,” he said.

“I’m sure it helped because he settled really well today in the back half of the field, and then finished the race off strongly.”

. Team Attard hopes to secure a start with Munich in Saturday’s fourth heat of the Provincial Championships at Kembla Grange, and may also consider running Cinderconi in the final 1350m heat at Wyong a week later, attempting to secure places in the 15-horse field for the $500,000 Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 10.

. Jason Collett’s victory on odds-on favorite Van Giz ($1.80) in the Pink Finss Charity Class 1 Handicap (1000m) was his ninth Hawkesbury winner this season, and is now only one win behind joint leaders Tommy Berry and last year’s premiership winner Rachel King.

Keagan Latham took the riding honors with a double, scoring on More Joie and later Rondino ($4.20) in the Blakes Marine Benchmark 64 Handicap (2000m), whilst James Cummings trained a double, courtesy of Eleusa ($5) in the Royal Richmond Hotel Class 1 Handicap (1400m) and $2.70 favorite Phemonoe in the Independent Liquor Group Benchmark 68 Handicap (1300m).

. Leading Sydney jockey James McDonald was fined $500 for having a mobile phone in his possession in the jockeys’ room, but stewards were satisfied there were no integrity issues.

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