By Ray Hickson
Jockey Tim Clark says the similarities between emerging three-year-old Just Thinkin’ and his elder half-brother Thinkin’ Big are remarkable.
They share a mother, look the same, have a similar name and racing style, the same trainers (Gai and Adrian) and, of course, jockey.
If Just Thinkin’ can win Saturday’s Group 2 $200,000 TAB Gloaming Stakes (1800m), a race his sire So You Think won in 2009, he’ll emulate Thinkin’ Big’s deeds from 12 months ago.
“If you put them next to each other in the stalls you wouldn’t be able to pick which is which,’’ Clark said.
“And that goes for their other brother Stampede too, if you had all three there you wouldn’t know who is who.
“They have similar racing style, they carry themselves pretty similarly. All three have nice ability over the middle distances.’’
Just Thinkin’ is unbeaten as a gelding with a first-up maiden win at Warwick Farm then an all the way win in the Listed Dulcify Stakes (1500m) two weeks ago.
A year ago Thinkin’ Big came off a two month break to lead all the way in the Gloaming then finished third in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m), won the Norman Robinson at Caulfield then was unplaced in the Victoria Derby before being sold to Hong Kong.
Clark said since he’s been gelded, Just Thinkin’ has been a foolproof racehorse and expects the $3.10 TAB favourite to relish the step up in distance and be awfully hard to catch.
“He has a good attitude towards it all, you can ask him to begin like I did the other day then he comes back and relaxes,’’ he said.
“That’s what you need in these types of races, a horse that will relax and help you out.
“We’ll try to do what we did the last couple, he’s going to go forward and probably lead again and he’s going to be hard to run down. The 1800m doesn’t look like it will be an issue for him.
“They all have to come and get my bloke and that mightn’t be as easy as they think.’’
While Clark will be aiming to rate Just Thinkin’ to perfection in front he’ll need to have his timing right in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) on Dawn Passage who will be ridden off the speed.
Dawn Passage won the Rosebud from second last in August then raced closer to the speed but wasn’t as effective in the Run To The Rose behind Bivouac.
“I just want to ride him in a pattern that he’s performed his best at,’’ Clark said.
“To give him a bit of room and make sure we give him every possible chance to be hitting the line.’’
The colt is one of the outsiders in the Golden Rose at $26 with TAB and Clark concedes the 7.8 length margin he was beaten by two weeks ago is a significant one.
“He has a little bit of ground to make up on the horses that eat him the other day, it’s not going to be easy to turn that around in one run,’’ he said.
“This is A grade and we’ll find out where he’s at.’’
Just Thinkin' wins the Dulcify Stakes at Rosehill on September 14
Clark is enthusiastic about the prospects of Group winner Bellevue Hill, who he makes a belated return in the Listed $140,000 Schweppes Heritage Stakes (1100m), though suspects the trip could be a touch short.
Back in mid-August, Bellevue Hill and Just Thinkin’ shared an exhibition gallop and the colt was soundly beaten so Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott elected to stop and regroup – Clark believes that was a masterstroke.
“He was coming up well and then for whatever reason he went off the boil,’’ Clark said.
“He was probably the stable’s number one seed for the Golden Rose at the start of the prep but it hasn’t gone to plan. That’s the regard the stable held him in.
“It was evident he wasn’t going well enough to go to races like the San Domenico and that path so Gai and Adrian just backed off him and he seems to have appreciated that bit of extra time.
“He’ll be nice and fresh and I expect him to run well.’’
Bellevue Hill did win on debut over 1000m but his Group 3 win came at 1400m on a heavy track in March. He’s a $4.20 chance with TAB first-up.