Day At The Track

Hectorjayjay a major Inters hope

02:59 AM 02 Sep 2016 NZST
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Victorian-bred gelding Hectorjayjay will be a major player in the rich TABtouch Interdominion Championship at Gloucester Park in November and December, according to his Victorian trainer David Aiken, who had no qualms in comparing his horse favourably with recently-retired harness racing superstar Im Themightyquinn.

“Hectorjayjay can cover a field very quickly and he possesses similar dazzling speed that made Quinny such a champion,” Aiken said at the launch of the $1.8 million series on Tuesday afternoon.

Aiken, who prepared Lennytheshark for his brilliant victory in the final of the Inters at Gloucester Park last December, will campaign with both Lennytheshark and Hectorjayjay this year.

Both pacers will have the services of champion Victorian drivers, with Gavin Lang in the sulky behind Hectorjayjay and Chris Alford behind Lennytheshark.

Im Themightyquinn won the interdominion championship three times --- in 2011, 2012 and 2013 --- and he retired with earnings of $4,567,456 from 58 wins, 21 seconds and 13 thirds from 111 starts.

His trainer Gary Hall sen. agreed with Aiken’s claim that Hectorjayjay possesses similar characteristics which made Im Themightyquinn such a magnificent champion.

“Yes, Hectorjayjay can unwind a devastating burst of speed,” Hall said. “But I’m not convinced that he has the same strength as Quinny at the end of his races.”

Hectorjayjay is only a comparatively recent addition to Aiken’s training establishment. He was transferred from Simone Walker’s stables to Aiken last February and in ten starts for Aiken the gelding has won seven times and finished second twice. His 62 starts have produced 30 wins and 19 placings for stakes of $508,084.

Five starts ago Hectorjayjay won the group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle, beating Lennytheshark by 1.2m in 1.50.5 over the 1609m journey. Two weeks later he gave a phenomenal performance to thunder home from a seemingly hopeless position in second-last place 400m from home to win the 1660m Sunshine Sprint at Albion Park, rating 1.51.8.

Hectorjayjay is not exclusively a sprinter. He has won over 2627m, 2600m (twice) and several times over 2240m. His recent form, including a strong second to Ohoka Punter in the $200,000 group 1 Blacks A Fake Classic over 2680m at Albion Park on July 16.

Lennytheshark, who has earned $1,896,790 from 27 wins and 20 placings from 51 starts, has had a spell since finishing second to Hectorjayjay in the Len Smith Mile on June 26. “He has just come back into work and everything is on course for him to attempt to win the Inters again this year,” Aiken said.

Adding considerable interest to this year’s championship series will be the expected appearance of star pacer Smolda, a veteran star of the All Star New Zealand stable of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen.

Speaking via a video link at Tuesday’s launch, Purdon said he was keen to bring Smolda to Perth for the big series. Smolda, bred in Victoria, has raced 53 times for 27 wins, 16 placings and $1,518,824 in stakes. He has had a beneficial winter spell since finishing a neck second to Locharburn in a $100,000 3200m stand at Addington on March 26.

Smolda won the group 1 New South Wales Derby at Menangle in April 2012 and other feature wins since then include the Len Smith Mile at Menangle in April 2014 (beating Beautide and Lennytheshark), the group 1 Ballarat Cup last January (beating Lennytheshark), the $500,000 Hunter Cup (beating Ohoka Punter) at Melton and the Brian Hancock Cup and the Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All at Menangle last February.

Hall said that Beaudiene Boaz would head his list of about ten nominations for the championship series. Beaudiene Boaz, winner of 22 races from 32starts for earnings of $998,014, is progressing well and will resume racing soon. His victories include five in group 1 events (the 2014 Golden Slipper, the WA Derby, the McInerney Ford Classic and Golden Nugget in 2015 and the Fremantle Cup last January).

Hall is hoping for a trouble-free preparation for Beaudiene Boaz after the disappointment of that pacer’s half-brother Beaudiene Beaufighta breaking down with a damaged suspensory ligament after scoring a smart all-the-way victory over 2130m at Gloucester Park last Friday night. The injury will keep Beaudiene Beaufighta out of action for at least six to seven months.

Gloucester Park Harness Racing president John Burt said that more than 25 nominations from four States have been received and the club was expecting further interstate entries and many more from local owners before nominations close at 4pm (WA time) at RWWA on Friday September 9.

Ken Casellas

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