Day At The Track

Bolitho disregards rule of thumb

02:52 PM 27 Dec 2017 NZDT
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Rule Of Thumb, harness racing
Rule Of Thumb has been near unstoppable recently.

When you’ve got a horse that’s 45 starts deep into its harness racing career and still eligible for C1 races, it’s fair to say the lofty heights that connections often set for their pacer as a yearling have mostly been vanquished.

But Rule Of Thumb may well be the exception that, pardon the pun, proves the rule.

He’d won five starts in his life by this stage and had just returned from a 10-month layoff for three or four relatively solid, but less than spectacular, efforts.

Despite that, his trainer Tim Bolitho was always pretty confident the son of Dawn Ofa New Day was going to turn the corner.

“He was always a talented younger horse, he was probably one of the ones that wasn’t quite there as a two-year-old or even at three but he made some big races and was learning all the same,” Bolitho said.

“He wasn’t the best going horse but I knew the ability was there. Phil (Nott, owner) is pretty easy going so he was happy for us to take our time with him.

“There were never had any serious problems, he just had a little issue where he clipped the bony part of his knee and when he had boots on it would just rub. There’d end up being a fair bit of blood so I consulted a few vets and we decided to turn him out.”

It may have cost Rule Of Thumb seven months in the paddock and almost a year away from the track but after a few runs to build fitness, the now six-year-old has gone on somewhat of a rampage.

Having won seven from his last 11, he has raced through his grades to now tackle an M0 heat and final series kicking off at Cranbourne Saturday night.

“We’ve been able to drive him more positively. There’s been no real need to run him off the gate but he’s been able to park and he’s pretty strong,” Bolitho said.

“It’s interesting to compare him to a few others we’ve had, Albert Jaccka was pretty strong but lacked a little bit of high speed and Arber had really high speed but this guy is probably a little bit more rounded in terms of having both attributes.”

With the lure of a shot at Country Cup’s somewhere in his future, he’s likely to continue his career in Victoria for some time with the promise of more to come.

Bolitho will also send Morvah around at the same meeting. Still on his way up, he may be one to watch in the coming months.

“There’s probably not a lot between him and Rule Of Thumb in terms of their speed,” he said.

“Things just haven’t worked out at his past couple but I’ve made a few gear changes and hopefully we’ll see him back to his best on the weekend.”

Blake Redden

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