Gelding ready to rocket home for maiden win
ON SATURDAY Australia bid farewell to who many say was the greatest thoroughbred to be saddled up in this nation, as the mighty mare Winx went around for the last time.
The seven-year-old was renowned the world over for coming from the heavens to win her races, a trait which gave punters, broadcasters and her connections a thrill everytime she hit the straight.
Tomorrow a local backmarker with his own incredible burst of speed is looking to live up to his potential.
New Zealand bred Spender endured a rough start to his career, as a major leg operation combined with a reputation of being tough to ride saw him hit a wall.
Cranbourne's Robbie Laing was Spender's trainer at the time and thought he could use a fresh start.
"Robbie said he's got a horse who's better than average if I wanted him, so we've got him up to race and in his last couple of starts he's proved to have ability,” new trainer Jim Jarvis said.
"He was difficult to ride and use to give jockey's a hard time, and he still is to some extent, but we've taken it back to basics a bit with him.”
Spender's last two starts have have both been whirlwind finishes, as the lightly raced seven-year-old has come from well back to be narrowly beaten.
Those starts were both over 1400m, but the gelding is stepping up to the 1720m tomorrow in a move which Jarvis thinks will suit him down to the ground.
"He's a true backmarker, he doesn't muster speed early but that may also come down to his breeding. His sire Sir Percy's progeny seem to be suited to the 1800-2000m.
"But he gets to the line as good as some of the better horses I've had and it's always good to have those horses.
"I'd like to think this is the race where he can break through.”
Spender is going around in the fifth event at Grafton, the Vines @139 Maiden Plate which is set to jump at 3.10pm.
He will be ridden by Matthew McGuren and has drawn barrier seven.