By Tony Megahey
As Dubbo’s Clint Lundholm brings winning momentum and confidence to Wellington’s Saturday TAB meeting, alternately an ambitious young ACT trainer considers he can spring a total reversal with a discard from a Group-winning stable.
Todd Smart acquired Whiskey Jack from Warwick Farm’s Matthew Smith as a last start Newcastle winner only to see it tail off twice, and intriguingly after the Zoffany stayer won a recent 900m barrier trial, it opposes Smith stablemates Rodrick’s Secret and former WA stayer Once Were Lost in a rare regional 2400m restricted race.
A Newcastle 2300m winner, Whiskey Jack’s 62.5kg has been reduced by the 3.5kg claim for newcomer Jess Del Frari in the $25,000 Over the Line Racing - Iron Jack BM 58.
Smart’s original disappointment in Whiskey Jack was offset to a degree by the Queanbeyan 900m open barrier trial win.
“Something must be going right now for a 2300m winner to win a 900m trial, so we're hoping he brings the improvement and attitude to the races ... and we’re trying different tactics,” Smart offered.
“We put too much pressure on him, found out he needs to be left alone to settle in his zone so we’ll ride him that way.
“He needed race fitness for this 2400m, it was a month between runs after he won at Newcastle.
“While it turned out he was outgraded in the Canberra Cup, he came in off a win and it’s an occasion down here for connections.
“But we’re positive of improvement off the trial and race fitness - he’s won twice, a lightly raced four-year-old bred on some nice staying lines.”
However, the race form will see Whiskey Jack at lengthy odds again.
Smith, who won Group and Listed staying races with Attorney and Grey Lion and his mighty 'miler' Fierce Impact, is renowned for his placement and he makes a rare trip to Wellington with maiden winners Rodrick’s Secret and Once Were Lost, who was formerly with the Portelli stable and also the Lindsay Smith stable in WA.
But Dubbo’s Lundholm is the man of the moment off a recent career-best of four winners at a recent home meeting.
“We’ve got live chances all day and confident they’ll handle the soft conditions,“ Clint enthused. “My best is Dusky Damsel (race 6); she’s at her peak this prep, won five for us and drawn in her right distance range.
"Conspiratrix won really well at home, backed it up with a solid placing and is suited out to the 1700m. And Harwok'N'Zoff (race 5) is going a lot better than his form indicates - he hasn’t much luck of late and can run us a race at odds.
“And it’s the right time to have your tail up and winning races with those big prizemoney increases coming up. All I know is I’ve got plenty of happy owners and 37 in work - doubled my stable numbers.”
Wellington is a Soft 6 in overcast conditions.