At his last start ART OF DEFENCE produced an exceptional effort to claim victory at the Hawkesbury track, well his run yesterday was a performance that had to be seen to be believed.
The four-year-old son of Teofilo (IRE) was not only up in grade to a Benchmark 60 Handicap, he was up in distance to 2000 metres and had to carry an extra three and a half kilos above the weight he carried at his previous run.
These were the hurdles ART OF DEFENCE had to overcome and he did so with the courage and determination he has shown before.
Being located at the far-eastern end of the back straight, the starting gates are barely visible from the stands and with only a slight kink and undulations approximately 300 metres after the jump, it's a nice long straight run until the first bend.
ART OF DEFENCE jumped well from the barriers and was allowed to settle into a nice but steady stride, his jockey, apprentice Jess Taylor with her one and a half kilo claim would reduce the weight carried to 57.5kgs, had her mount travelling where he was comfortable, on the fence, a few lengths of the leaders High Seas and Megalopolis, at the 1400 metres mark.
Passing the 1000 metres Jess and her horse remained in that postion until moves were afoot from the horses around her. Approaching the 800 metres post, the backmarker, Bracko Mick made a lightning move forward out wide which instigated an increase in the pace of the race.
This left ART OF DEFENCE a bit flat footed and on nearing the home turn the jockey had to get his mind on the job and gave her ride a few slaps of whip.
This had the desired effect and after straightening, the duo were gaining on the leaders along the fence.
Further urgings from Jess maintained the tempo and ART OF DEFENCE was in pursuit of HIGH SEAS, who was kicking strongly. With 200 metres to go, there was plenty of room on the outside of the leader, horse and rider took the gap and were full of running, heading for victory.
The Chris Waller trained Sashay was finishing hard out wide, but fell short.
It was a tough win, ART OF DEFENCE's tenacity and will to win were displayed for all to see.
To Wal and Anne and the other owners we bestow even more congratulations on you all. We are so pleased that our team were able to produce your horse in fine order enabling him to win again and finally a huge thank you to Jess Taylor for her most important role in the victory.