It was fitting that Jaxim should break his maiden status for local trainer Scott Singleton on Hawkesbury’s Polytrack Provincial Championships Qualifier day at home on Saturday. But it wasn’t with the horse he and punters expected it would be!
Jaxim, a son of More Than Ready stallion Ready’s Image, gave away a start and still beat his rivals in the Ryegate Racecourse Design Maiden Handicap (1300m) at $17.
Ironically, another son of Ready’s Image, his stablemate Image Neat ($2 favourite), was all the rage for the Irresistible Pools & Spas Maiden Handicap (1500m) – but things just didn’t go his way and he finished third.
Singleton won last year’s Provincial Qualifier at home with Shazee Lee, who along with Jaxim and Image Neat, are raced by his long-term clients Dr Max Kowalczuk and his wife Evelyn.
In fact, Shazee Lee and Saturday’s winner Jaxim are closely related. Shazee Lee (also by Ready’s Image) is a daughter of Danewin mare Shazee, who died several weeks after foaling her in 2013. Jaxim is out of Shazee’s daughter Heijem, and has been her only foal.
Singleton certainly didn’t think it would be his day after Image Neat was beaten and then Art Of Defence ($8.50) was narrowly beaten in the Pink Tie Ball March 24 Benchmark 60 Handicap (2100m). Worse was to follow.
Staggering was a late withdrawal from the Hawkesbury Gazette & Courier Benchmark 62 Handicap (1400m) when she became fractious in the gates and was sore in front. Stewards then placed a warning on her record in regard to her barrier manners.
Singleton opted to put a barrier blanket on Jaxim (Bobby El-Issa) for his 10th start on Saturday. But he stood awkwardly in the barrier and missed the jump a couple of lengths.
El-Issa, however, cleverly saved ground near the inside up to the home turn then set out after another Hawkesbury runner, Mitch Newman’s Bell Serenade ($9), and wore him down.
“He’s always shown ability but has been getting his head up and going hard in races, and didn’t have a lot of luck when sixth at Wyong a week ago,” Singleton said. “Missing the start probably helped him because it allowed him to settle and finish off, and Bob rode him well. But I thought he would be the last horse I would win with today.”
Singleton was unable to repeat Shazee Lee’s success of last year with either Cambage ($13) or Poet’s Advocate ($41), who finished sixth and 13th respectively to heavily backed $2.60 favourite Uptown Lad in the $150,000 Qualifier (1400m). Uptown Lad’s Wyong trainer Kim Waugh and Newcastle’s Kris Lees (with third placegetter Bastia) now each have two qualifiers for the $500,000 final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 14.
Lees’s Just Dreaming, the current $4.60 Final favourite, beat Waugh’s Manhattan Mist in last week’s opening heat at Wyong. Lees’s Hallelujah Boy ($8) finished last behind Uptown Lad after attempting to buck and losing significant ground in the early stages. The Japanese import will be required to trial to stewards’ satisfaction before being allowed to race again.