By Julieanne Horsman
For Coffs Harbour trainer Joanne Hardy there’s more than just $30,000 prize money on the line in Friday’s Casino RSM Beef Week Cup.
Her gelding Collaboration will be galloping for glory against her father Trevor Hardy’s horse, Youwaitandsee.
“The family rivalry has been running hot this week,” Joanne joked. “My six-year-old daughter Charlie has been stirring dad up saying my horse will win and his will come last.
“Dad is still dirty because my horse Chilli Zaim beat his horse Elite Dubleo at big odds in a close finish at Grafton last year so he will be out to get one back in the Cup.”
Collaboration hasn’t raced since December and he earned the rest. The seven-year-old gelding arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2016 and went straight to Chris Waller’s Rosehill stable. After a lackluster start to his career downunder he was transferred to Joanne. At his fourth start for her he won the Lismore Cup before being sent to Mitchell Beer in Victoria then onto John Dunn in South Australia and eventually back to Joanne.
“He’s only really had one proper spell since he got here and at the end of his last preparation he was starting to feel it in his legs,” Joanne said.
“The tracks up north started to get harder and he began to jar up.
“He’s seven now and needed the time off.
“The break has done him the world of good and his legs are a lot better.
“We’ve been mixing up his training and had him down at the beach this week which he loves.”
With just 56.5kg on his back Collaboration won’t know himself. He’s drawn nicely in barrier 1 and Joanne says if he gets the opportunity to have an uninterrupted run into the race he will figure in the finish.
“He needs clear ground,” she said. “I’d like to see him jump out, find his feet, get into a rhythm and move forward from the 800m.
“It’s a tough race though. Landmarks is a handy horse. You have to respect Casino-trained horses at Casino as it’s a specialty track.”
Queensland visitor Awake The Stars is the early favourite with Bettabet Red, Youwaitandsee and Bronzed Venom also receiving support.
Last year’s winner She Tells Lies is the third emergency and looks unlikely to get a run.
Collaboration is raced by the biggest owner in Malaysia, known as Mr Tang. He’s been over to Australia to watch Collaboration in action before and while he won’t be there on Friday he might make the trip later in the preparation if the horse is going well. He’s enjoyed plenty of success with Joanne Hardy in recent years. Another one of his horses Captain Jazz won three races in Australia under the care of Joanne before being exported to Malaysia. Just last month Captain Jazz finished 2nd in the Selangor Gold Cup.
Collaboration will next line up in a 2000m open race at Coffs Harbour on 14th June, followed by the Grafton Cup Prelude and possibly the Cup if all goes to plan.