After a victory at Hawkesbury earlier in the month, ITASCA, a son of Tickets (by Redoute’s Choice) saluted the judge again, this time at the race meeting held at Bathurst located in the Western Districts of New South Wales.
ITASCA’s race was the Western Advocate Class 1 & Maiden Plate (2000m). The weather was fine, the track condition was rated as a Soft 5 which was to be upgraded to a Good 4 after race two and the running rail was in the true position.
A small field of six runners was to take part, ITASCA had been allocated equal top weight of 59kgs with two other runners (they will carry less weight due to claiming apprentice jockeys taking the rides). Jess Taylor would jump the four-year-old out of barrier four and start the short-priced favourite of $1.30.
It would be interesting to see how the gelding would perform today after proving a little difficult to ride in the latter stages of his last win. The connections were hoping the confidence and race day experience gained from that run would help ITASCA take the next step in becoming a professional racehorse.
From the 2000 metres start, ITASCA jumped cleanly with jockey Jess taking hold and giving her mount plenty of time to get into a nice rhythm. As they passed the winning post for the first time, the pair settled approximately five lengths of the leader, the Nick Mitchell-trained Scheckter, one horse off the rail.
Nearing the halfway mark just prior to the 1000 metres mark, a sudden move forward by one of the back markers, More Than Alright, caused ITASCA to get a bit keen when that horse drew alongside.
Jess eased the reins a touch and was able to get her horse to come back under her with only a slight increase in their tempo. This brought ITASCA a little closer to the pace, now they were only three lengths from the frontrunner which was still Scheckter.
With 600 metres to go the speed began to quicken, the leader was asked for an effort and responded. ITASCA upped his rating and was taken out three wide by Jess and still travelling well within himself.
Up to the home turn now, it was two lengths to the horse in front which was kicking strongly and was setting sail for home. The earlier move by his jockey to get ITASCA out into clear running was paying dividends, the pair was now into the home straight and challenging for the lead.
Although shifting in marginally, Jess balanced up again and gave ITASCA full rein, the result her mount began to extend. With a furlong to go in full flight the duo were in front, maintaining their line and charging to the towards the winning post.
With the gap to the second horse increasing with every stride, Scheckter, which was fighting on valiantly, could do no more, ITASCA went on to win by two and three quarter lengths with a further three quarters of a length to the third horse Just Schillin’.
It’s not too often a horse breaks it’s maiden status and goes on to win it’s next start … ITASCA has done just that. Along with the improvement in his racing manners, the victory meant another positive step in the horses’s development.
To Wal and Anne, Members of the Wingnut Sports Syndicates, Scott and his Team … Well Done, here’s looking forward in anticipation to ITASCA hitting the track again soon.