By Julieanne Horsman
Young Mudgee trainer, Cam Crockett, experienced the thrill of qualifying a horse for last’s year’s Country Championships with Iron Blue and he’s back again this year for another tilt at the rich race.
He will saddle up Jar Of Heats in the $150,000 Central Districts heat at Wellington this Sunday and he’s confident she will be competitive.
“She’s a good chance and I wouldn’t be surprised if she is one of the favourites,” Crockett said.
The four-year-old mare has won both her starts this preparation. She travelled wide the whole way in a 1300m class 2 at Bathurst on 13 February, but flew home in the straight to finish three lengths ahead of her nearest rival. On 21 January, she came out on top in BM 55 over 1200m at Parkes after a hard-fought battle in the straight.
“I was really, really impressed with that last run,” Crockett said. “She ran out the 1300m strongly and I didn’t think she would have improved that much. She pulled up well, didn’t blow and was barely even sweating. Greg Ryan (jockey) came back and told me he doesn’t know how good she is because she looms up and puts them away really easily then just switches off.”
Jar Of Hearts was transferred to Cameron Crockett’s stable from Debi-Lee Saxton in March 2016. Her husband Roly, also a trainer, suffered a stroke and she cut her work right back to care for him.
When the horse arrived, she didn’t settle in to her new surroundings and struggled to cope with a new style of training.
“We had a lot of trouble with Jar Of Hearts when she first came into the stable and it showed in her racing,” Crockett said.
“Then Amy Spry joined the team and with soft hands, she changed up her training.
“The horse became more relaxed which was a key factor in getting her to where she is today.”
Crockett set Jar Of Hearts for The Country Championships last year at the request of her sole owner, Sky Racing Presenter Rick Chapman.
He took her to Wellington for a trial at the start of her preparation so she would be familiar with the track.
“Wellington has a fantastic surface and a short straight which suits her,” Crockett said.
“If there’s speed on she will be able to take a sit. If not, she can lead.
“It won’t matter if the track is firm of heavy as she has won on both before.
“I’ve booked Greg Ryan to ride her again so we’re all set.
“I’ve got a few chances in other races on the day and I am really looking forward to it.”