By Brad Gray
The ability is there but Firsthand is still far from the finished product. That was the consensus from co-trainer Michael Hawkes and his jockey Christian Reith after the four-year-old took out the TAB.com.au Handicap (1200m).
“Every start we’re still thinking the penny hasn’t really dropped yet. He floated when he got out and looks like he wants headgear on but the problem is that he wants to overdo it a little bit,” Hawkes said.
Firsthand is stakes class according to Reith
“He has always had the ability. He went from a Wyong maiden to winning at Moonee Valley and horses don’t do that if they don’t have ability. We’ve been patient with him and he is climbing the ladder slowly.
“It’s about putting horses in the right races and this was the right race.”
There were animated celebrations on track from the ownership group which includes television personality Ryan Phelan.
“Tell you what, I don’t think I’ve had that many hugs for a while!” laughed Hawkes.
Tommy Berry’s wife Sharnee is also in the ownership group and Reith had a cheeky jab at Berry who was in Queensland riding at Doomben’s Oaks meeting.
“I reckon he can get to stakes grade for sure and Tommy might struggle to get back on this horse. I’m two for two on him and both metropolitan wins so lookout Tom, you’re off!”
“He is probably still six months away. In the run he gets off the bridle, on the bridle. It takes him a bit to wind up and then he floats once he gets there but he is a quality animal. He just needs time to grow up and mature.”