Gentleman Jack took a giant leap forward when he won the Class Three Plate over 1300m in impressive fashion at the Sunshine Coast yesterday.
The Show A Heart five year old has been his own worst enemy and a headache for trainer Brad Herne since he was a two year old because of his behaviour. The win and the way in which he won was a relief for all concerned.
“I’m just so happy for the owners today,” Herne said.
“They have been so patient with this horse and I swear they must think I don’t know what I’m talking about sometimes. This horse can really gallop and he’s made me look silly a few times because he just gets to the races and has a meltdown and runs his race before he even leaves the mounting yard.
“Today is the calmest I’ve seen him in the yard and Paul said he also noticed a difference in his attitude. I’m hoping this is the light at the end of the tunnel and he’s finally starting to mature and become the horse I know he can be.”
Gentleman Jack has shown glimpses of ability throughout his checkered racing career of just 14 starts. He effortlessly won his maiden as a three year old at Eagle Farm by five lengths at his third start and looked to be a horse to make Saturday grade in no time.
“Every time I’d send this horse for a spell I’d say to the owners, we’ll see a mature horse next prep but it just never seemed to happen,” Herne said.
“If he wasn’t a muck lather in the mounting yard before the race he was getting around with his head in the air, laying in or out during the race. Credit needs to go to my foreman Matty O’Connell as he rides him in all his work and copes with his erratic behaviour and has done his best to get him right. Hopefully today is the start of a bright future for him as a mature horse.”
Jockey Paul Hammersley was also happy to see a better attitude.
“It was good to see him enthused about being at the races today,” Hammersley said.
“He travelled on the bridle nicely and was eager to take the gaps in the straight. He was getting a little tired on the line, six weeks between runs but the best part was he wanted to be there and was keen to get the job done.”
Hammersley was aboard last start when he sliced his hoof open on jumping.
“Six weeks between runs was never the plan but his foot was split pretty badly last start and we gave him a week off to help it heal,” Herne said.
“He had a solid jumpout 10 days ago but it was still hard to be super confident just knowing he could easily turn up here and turn to water.”
Gentleman Jack has now won three races from 14 starts and $43,500 in prizemoney for connections and looks to have a promising season ahead of him.