The four-year-old son of the Irish bred stallion Teofilo (IRE), ART OF DEFENCE, dragged himself off the canvas after being headed in the straight to be the announced the winner at the Hawkesbury Race Club's race meeting held on Thursday 20th August.
The horse displayed all of the fighting qualities of his sire's namesake Cuban boxer, triple olympic gold medal winner and heavyweight champion - Teofilo Stevenson.
It was in race seven of the day that saw ART OF DEFENCE start as favourite in the betting, after being able to get as much as $5.80 in the early markets, punters invested strongly with the gelding at close of betting starting at $3.00.
Christian Reith was declared as the jockey but there was a few anxious moments whether or not he could fulfil his engagement due to an foot injury he received whilst in the starting gates in race six. Thankfully, he decided to honour his remaining mounts.
Scott had devised a plan in order for his charge to have an opportunity to win the race ...travel more forward and the horse would still be strong late.
At the 1800 metres start, located in the long back straight at the Clarendon track all was in readiness.
The gates opened and from barrier five ART OF DEFENCE was urged along to take up an on-pace position, after easing slightly, settled second, one off the fence by the time the field reached the 1400 metres marker.
A short time later the Allan Denham trained Sunbury kicked up around the field and took over the role of leader, relegating ART OF DEFENCE to third, two lengths away but travelling kindly.
Nearing the 600 metres the tempo was increased and horse and rider responded and began to gain ground on the leaders Sunbury and Appliances. On rounding the home bend, Christian had his mount in clear running, three horses off the fence, building momentum with every stride.
ART OF DEFENCE with only the Wyong trained Sunbury in front of him looked to have that horses measure in the run for home ... that was until Malibu Stacey another Wyong trained runner from the Tracey Bartley yard, came on strongly out wide and headed the son of Teofilo.
To his credit, ART OF DEFENCE was in for the fight and under strong riding from Christian the horse dug deep, gained the upper hand 50 metres from home, going on to be powerful through the line and win by half a length in the time of 1:50.12.
It was great to see breeders and owners Wal and Anne Lanham chalk up another victory with us as well as long-time stable client, Margaret Roberts and our trainer Scott who also share in the ownership.
What does the future hold for ART OF DEFENCE ? ... maybe a win in town next prep ... here's wishing you the best of luck.