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Temperamental Talent Put To The Test In TAB Highway (Saturday)

Tony Megahey

With regular TAB Highway success and exciting expansion, the Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones stable is hopeful rogue talent Mercurial Lad will finally be on his best behaviour when the series resumes at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

“He’s got any amount of raw ability but he’s a damn handful,” Barbara Joseph explained. “The stewards ordered him to trial after he copped a warning at Canberra and again ran to the outside fence winning at Goulburn.”

Despite the erratic traits, Mercurial Lad led throughout to win both races convincingly in mid-March. The Goulburn 1400m success was on a heavy eight surface and Randwick is a Heavy 9 at the moment.

The three-year-old (Pendragon-Mercury Lady NZ) gelding will contest a 1200m, $60,000 episode at headquarters with Brodie Loy aboard.

Mercurial Lad has won three races from just eight starts and Country stewards gave him a pass mark to continue to race after a satisfactory recent jump out at the Sapphire Coast track where Joseph Jones Racing has established a new satellite stable.

“The cruel thing is that because he was such a naughty boy, we had to miss the Kembla leg of the Provincial Championships when we really believed he would have been competitive,” Joseph said.

“This horse could be unbeaten. He races in pacifiers and a Norton bit.

“The thing is if he gets to the front too early, he loses it, but hopefully he’s learning and he trialled well.

“Brodie Loy knows how to handle him best but for all of this, it’s exciting to think how far he might have won by if he didn’t do so much wrong. That’s why we’re coming to Randwick. He’s just three, has only had a handful of starts and won three.

“If Brodie can slot him in with cover, and have the last look, it’d probably be better than if he was in front too early and running the risk again.”

Joseph Jones Racing will also be represented by stablemate Always Flushed in the same race. The four-year-old mare won her last start at Sapphire Coast and has a record of two wins from five starts.

View the fields and form for the TAB Highway Handicap here.

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