By Julieanne Horsman
Most people would be unaware of the hurdles After All That has overcome during his career, but his name hints at a less than easy path.
He fractured his pelvis twice and was confined to a box while it healed meaning he didn’t make his debut until he was a four year old.
Owner and trainer Rodney Northam never gave up on the gelding though and he’s been rewarded with an impressive bounce back.
From 14 starts After All That has recorded four wins and will be chasing another when he lines up in the Country Championships Wildcard Qualifier at Muswellbrook on Sunday.
Northam decided to give the gelding another chance at making the $400,000 Grand Final at Royal Randwick after an eye-catching performance in poor conditions in the Scone heat.
With only 200m to go, After All That was in the back half of the field with no clear path forward but he and jockey Paul King didn’t give up. They squeezed through a tiny gap and surged home to finish 4th. The first six horses all crossed the line within half a length.
“I was rapt and disappointed at the same,” Northam said. “It was beaut finish, especially considering he doesn’t like the wet tracks. His wheels were spinning on the turn and it looked as though he would drop out. I stopped watching him and started looking at L’elu but shifted my attention back to him as he charged late.”
Despite the huge effort at Scone, After All That pulled up well and a $50,000 race just down the road was too good to miss.
“He had his last gallop this morning on the course proper at Scone and will do some ¾ pace work on Thursday following by a light trot on Friday,” Northam said.
"All Summer Long is definitely the main threat but the field is full of nice horses.
"After All That is in good shape and will be competitive though.
“He won’t mind the drop back in distance and he has a great relationship with jockey Robert Thompson who will ride him on Sunday.
"All we need now is a decent barrier, 6 would be ideal, and a good track."