Rathbone favoured for big day at Hastings

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  • July 05, 2023
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TAB bookmakers are expecting Jo Rathbone to have a good day at Hastings on Saturday.

The Wanganui trainer will take three horses to the Hawke’s Bay meeting, with maiden jumper Torque Time the shortest-priced favourite on the 10-race card.

The seven-year-old gelding has been installed a dominant $1.75 favourite for the I See Red Syndicate Maiden Steeplechase (4000m), which took Rathbone a bit by surprise.

While he finished runner-up to promising jumper Whiskey Tango at Te Rapa earlier this month, Rathbone said he doesn’t appreciate Heavy track conditions and cited the Heavy10 rating of the Hastings track as her biggest concern.

“He went well up at Te Rapa, but he doesn’t like a heavy track, that is his only problem. Hopefully it’s not going to be so bad out on the chase course,” Rathbone said.

“But he will improve a lot off that first (steeplechase) run because he is still a little bit green over the fences.”

Rathbone has plenty of time for the son of Guillotine but said she may freshen him to target better tracks later on in the year.

“The problem with Torque Time is that he is not going to handle the very heavy tracks, so we will just see what he does on Saturday,” she said.

“But we will possibly back off him slightly and aim for later in the year when the tracks get a bit better.”

Stablemate Quota is also well fancied on Saturday, shortening into $3.30 favouritism for the Betta Asbestos Consultancy Handicap (2100m) off the back of her runner-up result at Awapuni earlier this month.

“There are a couple of good horses in that race that are above her grade, but it (field) was weak enough and she was working well enough for me to go for the race,” Rathbone said.

While Quota has shown plenty of ability on the flat, a future over fences is looming for the five-year-old mare.

“She has got her jumping ticket and is a pretty smart jumper, so that could be on the cards, it just depends what she does on Saturday,” Rathbone said.

Stablemate Jan’s Giant is at more attractive odds in the Birchleigh Polo Club Maiden Hurdle (2500m), with bookmakers rating him a $10-winning chance after he over-raced and was pulled up at Te Rapa earlier this month.

“He does go alright, he is just quite tricky,” Rathbone said.

“If he isn’t ridden very cold from the start it is just about impossible to hold him, which is exactly what happened last start. He has got to be ridden back last and then you can get him to settle.

“Because he jumped so well (last start) and that first fence is quite close, he ended up jumping himself up amongst them and then he was just too strong and you couldn’t hold him.

“As long as Buddy (Lammas, jockey) can get him settled, he will fly home, just like he did in his first jumping start.

“I think he will make a nice chaser.”

Meanwhile, Rathbone has been enjoying pre-training a number of New Plymouth trainer Allan Sharrock’s stable stars.

“I have got a few of Allan’s at the moment,” she said.

“Darci La Bella just went back to him a couple of days ago. I have also got Sophmaze, Southroad, Ladies Man, and Waisake. Tavattack showed up just the other day.”

Rathbone said she likes to vary their work before they return home to enter the business end of their preparations.

“I have got a treadmill, so they do a bit on that, and they go to the track to work. There is also forestry that my place backs onto, so they can do a lot of hill work through there. I also take them to the beach on the odd occasion,” she said.

“It gives them a bit of variety and it can give horses like Southroad, Ladies Man and Waisake, that are aiming for those staying races, a good fitness base before they got back to Allan to fine tune.”

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