That combination was put on display at the Newcastle Jockey Club’s race meeting held on 20th April 2017 under beautiful weather conditions on the newly rebuilt course proper. It was actually day of successful combinations … two Singleton Racing-trained horses namely ART OF DEFENCE and BASE CAMP both ridden by jockey Jess Taylor, who plied her craft superbly, recorded wins in races one and three respectively.
ART OF DEFENCE was having his fourth start back from a break. After a good first up run over an unsuitable distance (1400 metres) the son of Teofilo (IRE) had now reached the stage in his preparation where the 2300 metre journey would be ideal.
The small field of seven runners, a drying track and his regular rider Jess aboard, all of these factors pointed to the horse running well.
Scott had indicated that ART OF DEFENCE would travel in a more forward position in running thus giving the horse every opportunity to be within striking distance at the business end of the race. As it turned out that tactic proved to be a winning one.
ART OF DEFENCE had drawn the outside barrier of the field and 57kgs was his handicapped weight. The betting market showed that the punters had some confidence in an improved performance from the horse, firming from $12 early into an $8 starting price.
The 2300 metres start at Newcastle is located in the home straight, ART OF DEFENCE jumped well from the barriers and his jockey maintained a wide line early, eventually settling two to three horses off the fence running in fourth position one out one back.
It was status quo passing the 1600 metres chute with Jess allowing her mount to travel well within himself at a steady clip, three to four lengths from the leader, the Chris Waller-trained Destination Tucson.
With around 700 metres to go, things began to change. Around 200 metres later the pace had quickened and ART OF DEFENCE was given a slap of the whip to let him know that it was time to get serious.
Into the straight now and Destination Tucson was kicking strongly with Advocacy throwing down a challenge to it’s outside and ART OF DEFENCE still three lengths away being asked for his final effort along with Fly Till Dawn, which had made a sustained run from the back, further out.
Passing the 200 metres mark and Jess and her horse were closing on the leader with Packen getting home along the rails. A hundred metres later it was up to ART OF DEFENCE to throw down the gauntlet as the others were dropping off.
Within the shadows of the post ART OF DEFENCE, under Jess’s forceful riding, had grabbed Destination Tucson, going on to win by just over a head.
Wow !! what a great effort by the horse and a wonderful ride by Jess Taylor. Congratulations to Wal and Anne Lanham and the other owners, Margaret Roberts and trainer Scott. It was great to see “Frank” salute again and hopefully he will again in the near future.