Former jockey Athol Bennett has always yearned to race a good horse and while the quest has eluded him in the thoroughbred code he may have found his champion in the form of well bred harness racing pacer Springfield Tattoo.
In Launceston on Sunday night Springfield Tattoo notched his second win from only three starts and the way he has gone about it would suggest he has above average ability.
Thetwo-year-old was given a gun run at his latest outing by the gelding’s trainer-driver Rohan Hillier who had him handily placed in the one-out-one-back position before peeling out three-wide 500m from home.
Springfield Tattoo eventually hauled in the leader Something Devine to score by a head. Bennett switched codes a while ago but until Springfield Tattoo came along he had enjoyed only modest success.
“I haven’t had a horse reach top company but I’m hoping this one is my best chance,” Bennett said.
“He has been difficult to train because he’s big and a bit spooky but he’s only a baby and improving all the time,” he said.
Bennett has been around horses all of his life.
His late father Hec trained thoroughbreds and enjoyed a lot of success.
Hec Bennett owned and trained the 1933 Hobart Cup winner Air Favourite and in 1938 he won the Hobart Pacing Cup with Coonbird.
“I used to ride some of Dad’s gallopers and got a few winners but that’s a long time ago,” he said.
Springfield Tattoo is trained by Steve Lucak who Bennett rates as an astute mentor.
“Steve (Lucak) has done a real good job with this horse because he has had a real battle with him because of his immaturity.”
“I gave $14,000 for him at the APG yearling sale in Melbourne and I bought him on breeding.”
“He’s the first foal of Flamingo Rose that won five races and about $30,000 but he is from a very good family,” Bennett said.
Listen to what trainer Steve Lucak had to say about Springfield Tattoo – click on the audio file below.
by Peter STAPLES