By Ray Hickson
It’s not usual practice for Gosford trainer Adam Duggan to be taking a horse everyone is talking about to Randwick on a Saturday.
The unbeaten Sir Elton is the horse in question and Duggan speaks of him like he believes the three-year-old could be the horse to put him on the map as a trainer.
Offers from Hong Kong to poach the gelding have come thick and fast but so far the owners want a racehorse and they’ll find out this Saturday just how smart Sir Elton is in the Everest Carnival Handicap (1100m).
“He's an exciting horse and I'm hoping there's more to come,’’ Duggan said.
“There's been some substantial offers for him but the owners at this stage are happy to go along for the ride. I was told there's about 60 good three-year-olds from Australia booked to go to Hong Kong in the next two months so it takes a bit out of the pool.
“I'm happy enough for the owners to make the decision to keep him. If he does turn out good it can only help my profile as a trainer.’’
The Sir Elton story is a little more dramatic than it might look on paper given he’s had the two starts for two easy wins.
But he’ll be four in a month and that’s not a lot of racing. Duggan revealed that shortly after Sir Elton was purchased he injured himself and that’s why he didn’t race at two.
It was a blow to Duggan as he went a lot higher at the sales to secure the son of Your Song than intended but he didn't want to leave without him after friend Mark Webb gave him a big rap on inspection.
“Mark has a really good eye for a horse and we got him to come to Melbourne with us and we kept coming back to this horse, we just had to have him,’’ he said.
“We were only going to spend $100,000 but we ended up going to $175,000.
“It hasn't all been what you're seeing at the moment. He injured himself in the float on the way home which required surgery on one of the pedal bones in his back feet.
“It was a touchy operation. He's had a couple of little niggles along the way as well hence him not starting until he was three and a half.’’
Fortunately, if Sir Elton proves better than winter class there’s plenty of prizemoney to be won.
Sir Elton, who opened $2.80 with TAB and quickly firmed to $1.85, faces a solid off-season field of three-year-olds on a wet track at Randwick – the latter doesn’t concern him and it seems since he accounted for the talented Lashes at Wyong last month the former isn’t on his worry list.
Sir Elton wins at Wyong on June 20
What has changed since the easy Wyong victory is the gelding is significantly fitter, having been underdone prior that second win, and the blinkers are coming off on jockey Tommy Berry’s advice to help him settle.
Berry won’t be there on Saturday but Duggan, in seeking out Kerrin McEvoy for the ride, is more than happy to have wound up with Hugh Bowman and Sir Elton will be the champion jockey's first ride back after his two month break from racing.
“I didn't know Hugh was riding and I rang (manager) Bryan Haskins for Kerrin McEvoy, but he’s still riding overseas and Bryan said Hughie should be back for that meeting so I was pretty happy with that,’’ he said.
“I've got a lot of confidence in the horse. When I came up against Lashes at Wyong, I know how hard it is to win out of maiden grade, I was a bit nervous but I don't know why.
“He shows me a lot more than any horse I've had before. But I'm not getting overconfident.
“He's fit and well, he has the main ingredient which is the ability and he's ready to rock and roll.’’