By Julieanne Horsman
On The Everest Day at Royal Randwick in 2017 Arise Augustus fractured his nearside front fetlock. He ran a brilliant 3rd at huge odds in the Sydney Harbour Exclusive Sprint then pulled up lame. Trainer Terry Evans rushed him to a veterinary clinic where he was operated on, sidelining him for nine months while the injury healed.
Now recovered, the eight-year-old gelding dubbed “the iron horse” has The Everest Day in his sights once again. Evans is keen to get him into The Kosciuszko – the $1.3million sprint race exclusively for NSW country-trained horses – and he’s going all out to make it happen.
“I’ve had a poster made promoting his stats and that’s up on social media,” the Tuncurry-based trainer said. “The guys at the Bellevue Hotel have put the posters up on the walls in the TAB there. Hopefully a local wins a slot and when it’s time to pick a horse they remember the poster they saw at the pub!
“Anyone who picks him would be getting a great deal. He’s won at Randwick, he’s won at Canterbury. He always tries his heart out and never runs a bad race. He’s such a tough horse and with the work he is doing now you would never know he’s been out injured.”
Arise Augustus has a bit of star power behind him as well. Rugby league commentator Andrew Voss is among his proud owners and has been drumming up support for the stable favourite.
“Andrew loves him and has been getting all his mates to buy tickets in the draw for a Kosciuszko slot,” Evans said.
Arise Augustus’ Spring campaign will begin at Coffs Harbour on Thursday when he lines up in the Eagles Plumbing Supplies Blinkan Missit Showcase over 800m – a race he won last year. As the highest rated horse in the field he’s been slugged with 64kg but that will be reduced by 4kg with apprentice Kyle Wilson-Taylor’s claim. He’s only had his jockey licence for two weeks and has already managed to notch two winners.
“Kyle hasn’t ridden Arise Augustus before but rides in a lot of trials for us and does it well,” Evans said. “He’s watched all his videos and done his homework. He’s very excited.”
Despite the heavy impost and resuming off a nine-month break, Evans expects Arise August to figure in the finish.
“Obviously he will need the run but he’s drawn ideally in gate 8 and as long as there is some speed in the race he’ll have his chance to run over the top of them.”
Preparing Arise Augustus for his return to racing has been a challenge. Being careful not to aggravate the injury, Evans has spent hours walking him, swimming him and taking him to the beach. He’d spend a couple of weeks in work then go back to the paddock.
“I think we got fitter as he did,” Evans joked. “He’s 100 % now. We just need to work on his race fitness which is to be expected after a long break.
“It’s actually worked out well because he is going to have a similar preparation to last year. Depending on how he pulls up and how he is rated, he will most likely head to the 1000m Manning Lightning at Taree which he won in 2017. He will have another run or two after that and if he is lucky enough to be chosen for The Kosciuszko he will go in fourth or fifth up.
While the field of 12 runners for The Kosciuszko won’t be known until after 14th September, it’s never far from Evans’ mind.
“Winning The Kosciuszko would be the highlight of my career. I could retire happy after that!”