Silent Jack, the Allan Denham trained four-year-old named after his late father, Jack, broke through for his maiden win over 1500 metres at Muswellbrook last August at only his second start.
Denham said then he thought Silent Jack would develop into a middle-distance galloper and immediately sent the four-year-old for a spell.
Silent Jack returns to Muswellbrook on Friday at his second run back from that break and again over 1500 metres for the 1st Rubick Yearlings At The Sales Benchmark 59.
Silent Jack, owned by the extended Denham family, resumed in a Class One over 1300 metres at Scone late last month and after being last to the turn started to make ground along the rails for Robert Thompson before running into trouble at the 200 metres.
Thompson was forced to take him to the outside at the 100 metres where he continued to make ground and although he finished second last in the field of 12 was only beaten three and a half lengths behind the Brett Cavanough-trained Bray, the TAB fixed odds $5 third favourite (in from $6.50) for the TAB Highway Hcp at Randwick on Saturday.
Silent Jack was bred in New Zealand and bought by the trainer on the recommendation of a friend: “A mate of mine in New Zealand looks out for horses for me and he found us this one,” Denham said.
“The horse is by a staying sire out of a staying mare so in time I think he is eventually going to get a mile and a half (2400m).”
Silent Jack is by little known New Zealand sire Mettre En Jeu from the Volksraad mare Hahei. Mettre En Jeu is by Montjeu and won four races from 1300 metres to 2100 metres.
Denham and Thompson also combine with Dizzy Success in the Horsepower Class One and Maiden (1750m), a horse that has run three seconds at his last four starts including two at Muswellbrook. He runs into the consistent Just Bute, a maiden winner at Newcastle three starts back before successive seconds at Muswellbrook and Newcastle.
Sydney-based trainers have taken a keen interest in this meeting with Gerald Ryan, Bjorn Baker and Matthew Smith having two runners each, while Richard Freedman, Gary Portelli and Rick Worthington will have one each. In addition, emerging Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup will have three runners.
Ryan and jockey Mitchell Bell combine with Venture Capital in the Godolphin Three-Year-Old Maiden (1280m) and Rode To Sundown in the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale Benchmark 60 (1000m).
At her second start from a spell Venture Capital was a luckless third in a Gosford maiden, beaten less than a length after running into trouble on the home turn, soon after straightening and again at the 150m.
Likewise, Rode To Sundown also ran into trouble, also at Gosford, when a first-up fourth in a Benchmark 65 after getting well back early then making contact with another runner on the turn.
Cavanough will have six runners but his most interesting is the first starter Wild Grace which runs in the Olympic Glory @ Arrowfield Class One (1280m). The four-year-old Foxwedge mare could not have been more impressive when second in a trial behind Ori On Fire at Scone late last month, coming from fourth early, working between horses and setting out after the winner and finishing only three-quarters of a length away.
Ori On Fire followed up that trial by winning a Class One at Tamworth eight days later to take his record two wins and three placings from only seven starts.
Meanwhile, Balllina trainer Steve Phelps heads to Port Macquarie on Friday chasing a double, one of three NSW country meetings including Wagga Wagga and Muswellbrook.
Phelps has My Cousin Jackie (race one) and General Nelson (race five) entered on the eight-race TAB program where My Cousin Jackie is the first to go.
The five-year-old daughter of Mutawaajid has drawn barrier one in the small field of six and carries 54kg with Brooke Stower to ride.
My Cousin Jackie is just back from a 12-week break, trialling nicely at Ballina (2nd) and then finishing second to Menneke Belle at Coffs Harbour in a B70 on December 29.
One of four wins (14 starts) has also been at Port Macquarie.
Brooke Stower will also partner General Nelson for Phelps as well and they jump from barrier 10 in the Panthers Valentines Singles Party February 14 Class 1 Handicap (1206m), the fifth race on the card.
General Nelson, a four-year-old gelding son of Monashee Mountain has won one of his 11 starts and returned from a four week freshener with a four length sixth to Penfold at Coffs.
Girl power could also reign supreme at Wagga Wagga tomorrow as trainer Scott Spackman tries to keep his winning run going with jockeys Brooke Sweeney and Rebeka Prest.
Spackman and Sweeney will combine with O’ So Hazy, while Prest will be legged aboard Takookacod who is coming off three Highway Handicap runs in Sydney. The girls will also ride Marpenny and Isola De Paige for Spackman who will be kept busy with four runners on the nine-race program.
“I don’t remember starting more than four horses at a meeting before,” Spackman said. “The girls have been riding winners for me and getting the job done. Brooke has had ten rides for me for four winners and two thirds and Bek has won a couple on Takookacod this campaign.
“Takookacod has been racing well in Sydney and wasn’t far away a couple of times and I expect her to be hard to beat in a pretty tough race.”
All of Spackman’s runners are fillies or mares and his two maiden horses have both only had one start each. Marpenny is raced by his uncle and aunty Lindsay and Marg Rodgers who also own the dam Marqueen.
Muswellbrook Racing Club also stages a seven-race TAB meeting tomorrow, which general manager Duane Dowell believes will produce good betting races.
“We don’t have massive fields but have the rail out,” he said.
He believes the 1000m maiden might be one of highlights with a number of chances from some big stables including a talented first starter, Falerina, from the Cavanough stable.