As all racehorse trainers and stable staff know, each horse has individual characteristics and attributes. Regardless, we treat all horses equally and aim to train each horse to reach their full potential in their own time, over their own distances and in their own classes.
Sometimes those characteristics and attributes do make our jobs a little more challenging, or a little easier. In the case of our Group 1 winning mare Suavito, once she is out on the track, I do feel a little more at ease as I know she will give 100% effort each and every race.
Suavito always showed talent from the moment she arrived at Flemington. She had attitude at times, but always a willingness to run. And as I have said numerous times publicly, she is the toughest horse I have ever had anything to do with. Ever.
First up since running a creditable race in last year’s Doncaster Handicap in Sydney (on an unsuitably Heavy track), and a minor operation to remove a bone chip from a knee, we all had a feeling Suavito would be racing well and be very competitive. Her two trials were pleasing, and she most certainly returned bigger and stronger.
But the depth of the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday limited our confidence, no doubt a feeling shared by connections of each other quality horse in the field.
Drawing barrier 1 lifted our excitement a little, I must admit. Suavito usually jumps well and can hold a position (I say usually, as in the Spring of 2014 she stood in the barriers and failed to take any part in the Blazer Stakes!). We imagined her getting a nice run on the fence and expecting/hoping that a gap would appear at some stage in the straight. We knew if a gap appeared, Luke Currie would take it and more importantly, Suavito would take it. Refer to my previous comment that she is the toughest and most competitive horse I have ever had anything to do with.
She certainly jumped well on Saturday, showing a little freshness typical of her previous first-up performances. Quickly though, she came under Luke beautifully to sit just off the pace and comfortably on the rail.
Now that I have mentioned Luke Currie, it is a good time to say how pleased we were for Luke to ride Suavito, and how well he rode her in the Orr Stakes. Luke rode Suavito in a few track gallops leading into Saturday’s race, which was a benefit. Everything simply fell into place, right down to the gap that opened. Much of that credit goes to Luke.
In winning the Orr Stakes (watch the replay here), her second Group 1 victory, Suavito increased her earnings to more than $1.2m in prize money for a syndicate of loyal owners led by Ian Lewis.
I was proud to talk about my many years of knowing Ian on RSN’s and Racing.com’s Correct Weight on Sunday morning, and equally thrilled to hear Ian on the Thoroughbred program on RSN. He puts together a wonderful group of owners or lessees in each horse, focussing on the New Zealand breed which he and I both love. The excitement amongst this ownership group on course on Saturday was infectious, and we hope to see more of it throughout the Autumn!
Thanks to Slickpix (slickpixvic.com.au) for all images.