That was the general consensus prior to the first race at the Hawkesbury Race Club’s race meeting held on Tuesday 27th March 2018. The punters were right on the mark in their assessment and backed the grey / brown son of Ready’s Image (USA) into favouritism ($2.70).
The lightly raced IMAGE NEAT has proven to be a very consistent commodity in his racing career so far, he has never been out of the placings … his record - six starts for one win, three second and two third placings.
The declared jockey Bobby El-Issa had previously ridden IMAGE NEAT on two occassions finishing third and second respectively. The gelding had received the impost of 59kgs, equal topweight for the Polytrack Maiden Plate (1300m), the first race of the day. In the small field of five runners they would jump from barrier two.
IMAGE NEAT jumped well from his gate and was a little tardy early and urged along to keep in touch, Bobby then eased marginally in order to settle in last position when they went past the 1000 metres marker.
Up front, Xaarfoxylady had upped the tempo 800 metres from home. IMAGE NEAT matched that tempo and while still travelling well within himself, reduced the margin to just under a length behind the second last horse, the Team Hawkes-trained C’est Davinchi and only just over three lengths off the lead.
With no change in the order, the field were nearing the home turn where Bobby had his horse parked one of the fence and cruising. Around the bend and balanced up, the jockey had barely moved, biding his time.
There was 300 metres still to run when the rider began to ease IMAGE NEAT out towards the middle of the track with the intention of gaining clear running to the post. Now, the widest runner Bobby was getting down to business.
The response was impressive, with every lengthening stride the gelding was eating up the ground. With the winning post in their sights, Bobby and his mount were on terms with the leaders and charging to victory.
A couple of waves of the whip with 75 metres to go and it was a case of “Get In The Queue”. IMAGE NEAT had forged to the lead, although for a brief moment the Hawkes_trained horse looked as if he might make things interesting, however the post loomed too quickly.
It was IMAGE NEAT the winner, just over a head the margin to C’est Davinchi, with a further two lengths back to the locally-trained horse Spin Bowles in third placing.
Heartiest Congratulations to the many owners including Dr. Max and Sally Kowalczuk the breeders of IMAGE NEAT … more wins in store for this fella. Huge thanks to Bobby El-Issa for another nice ride. Once again, the astute Scott has made the right choice in selecting this race after declaring the horse a dual acceptor … "Spot On Scott" they call him.