By Ray Hickson
As easily as unbeaten filly Majestic Shot has won her four starts to date, trainer Grant Allard isn’t underestimating the task she faces at Hawkesbury on Wednesday as she’s forced out of her comfort zone for the first time.
Allard has put into place with the three-year-old something he learned a long time ago from Hall Of Fame trainer John Hawkes, and others he’s worked for, about one of the most important aspects of being a racehorse trainer.
So far Majestic Shot has won at Orange, Port Macquarie, Goulburn and Gosford with an average winning margin of well over two lengths.
“She’s doing everything right, she’s a nice horse going forward,’’ Allard said.
“Those races presented themselves and we’ve made the most of them. I’ve always been told you can feed them what you want and train them how you want but the key is placement.
“The one (mentor) I have the most respect for is John Hawkes, an outstanding person and outstanding trainer, anything you wanted to know you ask him and he was always happy to help.
“They were the easy ones as far as I’m concerned, now it becomes more difficult.”
In the Myrtle House Stables Handicap (1100m), the filly faces a rise to midweek city class (the Hawkesbury meeting is a metro fixture) plus a rise in distance and a new jockey.
Majestic Shot wins at Gosford on April 1
Mitchell Bell has been in the saddle in all four wins to date but he’s scheduled for hip surgery on the day the filly chases five from five so Jason Collett, who won The Kosciuszko for Grand Syndicates on It’s Me, has the call up.
“She’s gone from strength to strength but in saying that she’s won a couple of country races and a benchmark 64,’’ Allard said.
“That’s a long way from the likes of Randwick on a Saturday but you can only do what you can do.
“You watch her races and she’s eased up to the line in all four wins, being out of a Viscount mare you’d think she’d run further than 1000m.
“She’s got plenty of weight in a race like that. Brett Cavanough’s horse (Pinnacle Prince) has had four starts for three wins, they’ve been Highway races and it’s allowed him to win a hell of a lot more prizemoney than her and we are higher benchmarked.
“Don’t get me wrong, she’s a lovely filly and has done everything right, she’s put a gap in them but she’s still learning.
“She’s got away with a few mistakes she’s made, she was slow away one time and was last, another time she wanders around, you can’t do that in high pressure races and black type races.”
Majestic Shot’s pedigree is one that’s very familiar to Allard, who was once the strapper for the champion Lonhro, given she's out of a Viscount mare (who he also strapped) and she showed him enough early that he was confident she’d at least win her first start.
If she makes it five from five, she was $2.20 favourite with TAB on Tuesday, then Allard will go looking for a three-year-old, preferably fillies, stakes race but stresses he’s not getting ahead of himself just yet.
“She’s fit and well and that’s all you can do and it's up to herself and the jockey to get the job done,’’ he said.
“If she comes out and wins, I hope she does, she got seven ratings points the other day so she’ll probably get the same and that puts her up around 80.
“It probably forces me to go to back type and I’d rather go there against her own age and sex. As good as she is I don’t want to break her heart.”