Despite being seven years old and having his forty seventh race start, stable favourite ART OF DEFENCE put in a performance belying those facts in taking out the first race of the day at the Shoalhaven Turf Club’s race meeting held on the Archer Racecourse at Nowra on April 21st.
There was even thoughts of retiring the Ol’ Boy after an unfamiliar run two starts back at Bathurst over a similar class and distance. However, that didn’t come to fruition as “Doctor” Scott prescribed a six week freshen-up and since returning ART OF DEFENCE has appeared a rejuvenated horse. The way he raced today was like the “Frank” of old and it was a sight to behold.
ART OF DEFENCE’s assignment was the Girls Day Out Is Coming Benchmark 58 Handicap run over the distance of 2200 metres. Jay Ford had been declared as his jockey and the weight to be carried was 56.5kgs, the pair had drawn the outside in the field of nine runners. The race would be held under fine skies and the track rating a Good 4. The moveable rail was located in the true position.
The fluctuations in the betting market saw ART OF DEFENCE’s price shorten from an opening quote of $9.50 a slight drift out to $10.00 then a strong firming into $5.50 at start time. One may say there was a certain confidence of the horse running well.
Positive from the gates, Jay remained wide, summing up the situation and on passing the winning post for the first time had ART OF DEFENCE three out one back and settling into a nice rhythm.
With around 1800 metres to run the jockey has eased slightly to be travelling one off the fence three pairs back. The Matthew Dale-trained City Of Kirkwall then upped his rating slightly and went out to a clear lead.
Nothing much altered as far as positional changes were concerned until the field had gone past the 1000 metres mark. The stable mate of the leader namely No Doubt Ma’am began to drop back, it appeared as if something was amiss with that runner.
Jay had the foresight of noticing this and eased ART OF DEFENCE one horse wider in order to avoid being stuck behind the tiring horse. Shortly afterward things began to happen.
The horses behind the leader were being asked to up the tempo, Jay was attuned to his task at hand and began pushing ART OF DEFENCE along. His mount responded in kind, was travelling well and coming into the race strongly.
The jockey was keeping ART OF DEFENCE’s mind on the job, continuously pushing his mount whilst still maintaining a good rating. Half way round the final bend and galloping strongly, the duo were three wide and looking a danger.
Into the straight and balanced, Jay became a little more vigorous using hands and heels until 300 metres from home. ART OF DEFENCE was hitting his top, it was then his jockey applied several slaps of the persuader to keep the momentum going.
The Gwenda Markwell-trained Chilli Beauty was gaining a run to their inside, while the visitor from Gosford, also a seven-year-old, Coolaminyah Kid was making his run to the outside of ART OF DEFENCE.
With just under 75 metres to go ART OF DEFENCE was holding the challengers at bay, going on to defeat Chilli Beauty by 1 1/4 lengths with 3/4 length to the third horse in the time of 2:18.04.
Heartiest Congratulations the owners who are long time supporters of the stable, also to Jay Ford for his knowledge and experience and for producing a great ride on the old timer.
Once again Scott, your awareness of the horses’ needs under your care is invaluable.
What a huge thrill it was for all concerned to cheer “Frankie” home … a winner once more … there’s still life in them there legs.