Day At The Track

Love Ina Chevy's tale of fall and rise

02:54 PM 04 Oct 2018 NZDT
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Gaining a start in an Inter Dominion, let alone winning one, is a great accomplishment for any trots horse and their connections.

To see Love Ina Chevy pace up to the mobile in an ID18 heat on the first night in December would be nothing short of phenomenal.

If the Lance Justice-trained gelding’s recovery from a snake bite in early 2016 wasn’t remarkable enough, the seven-year-old’s recent ultra-impressive wins at Trots HQ - over 1720m in 1:52.5 on August 17 and 1:54.0 on September 22, and over 2240m in 1:55.3 on August 24 - have elevated him to a genuine free-for-all competitor.

The brave Colin Croft-owned pacer now faces the likes of Ameretto, Wrappers Delight and  Shadow Sax in Saturday night’s Group 2 TAB Multiplier Smoken Up Sprint, a race Justice said would be tough from outside the front row.

“We would have liked a better barrier draw against those horses, as they are all really good, but he has shown he is up with the best,” Justice said.

“If he can get a sit in somewhere he could still be a chance – he can sprint faster than most horses right now.”

Love Ina Chevy looked like he could be almost anything as a youngster, with Justice himself confident the talented pacer would become a topliner.

But, as has been well documented, disaster struck in January, 2016, when the then four-year-old was found collapsed in his paddock as the result of a suspected snake bite.

Justice’s staff battled for three days to stabilise the son of Jeremes Jet, with the major operation including placing blow-up mattresses under the gelding, erecting a makeshift tent over him and constant massaging.

Now Love Ina Chevy is being set for the Pryde's EasiFeed Victoria Cup on October 13 and TAB Inter Dominion Pacing Championship.

“I’m pretty excited about him; he will run a really big race in the Victoria Cup and I would say he would rank very highly in the Inter Dominion, as he has been racing very consistently and very fast,” Justice said.

“It would be great to make the final and get some money in it but they are good horses and I look at him and where he has come from … he couldn’t get up on his own for six weeks, we had to pick him up every day. It got to the stage where it was day 42 and I actually said to the horse, ‘mate, if you don’t start getting up by yourself, you may not survive’.”

History shows Love Ina Chevy returned to the racetrack in October that year and has kept improving since.

Justice said the gelding was now travelling better than ever.

“He has gone past his personal best. He is just amazing that he has got to where he is,” he said.

“He still has little issues (arising from the bite) – he has a depressed immune system and tends to pick up colds and bugs and stuff pretty easily – but he has a good constitution in himself, he is a strong-willed horse, he has a strong nature, so that helps him.

“I am full of praise for him because he does it all on his own; he is just a great horse.”

Justice said winning on Saturday night would be even more significant given the race is named after dual-Miracle Mile and Victoria Cup winner Smoken Up, who he trained to 74 wins and more than $3.6 million in prizemoney.

“It would be satisfying (to win) but he has already had his first touch of bad luck with it by drawing the outside gate,” he said.

“In saying that there are three really good speedy horses on the inside so if he comes out there is a good chance he could get a nice spot in the middle of the field – and he only has to be in the middle of the field to be a chance.”

Shaun Campbell
Trots Media

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