When Bulla harness racing trainer Kerry O’Riley entered Ourboyjay in Saturday night’s Goldfields Catering 2YO Pace at Bendigo, he was under the impression his gelded son of Village Jolt would be a fair show of recording a second win at career start number seven.
The pacer scored an impressive win at Yarra Valley two starts back in a 2C0 event before a luckless eighth of 11 at cricket-score odds in the Tatlow Stakes at Tabcorp Park Melton when he got carted back at a vital stage.
But O’Riley was shocked when he realised who his competition would be in Saturday night’s $6,505 race -- none other than Australasia’s best two-year-old Follow The Stars and his highly rated stablemate Linda Lovegrace.
Both Follow The Stars and Linda Lovegrace are trained by Mark Purdon and will be using Saturday’s race as a hit-out ahead of the rich Breeders Crown series.
For good measure, another Kiwi in My Field Marshall – who has won three from six and hails from the smart Tim Butt camp in Christchurch – will also line up on Saturday night.
“It’s a lot stronger a field than I thought it might be,” O’Riley chuckled.
“Let’s just hope he can run a personal best on Saturday night. It’d be the stuff of fairy tales to think you could beat Follow The Stars.”
But Daryl Douglas, who drives Ourboyjay, is somewhat more upbeat about the horse’s chances, according to O’Riley, even if it was just Douglas’ natural optimism shining through.
“Daryl’s always pretty optimistic but he said to me, ‘If you’re not in it, you can’t win it’,” O’Riley said.
While simply hoping for a positive run this weekend, O’Riley believes Ourboyjay will develop further next season.
“He’ll make a better three-year-old and he hasn’t much luck as a two-year-old,” he said.
“He locked wheels in the Vicbred semi-final and got knocked over on the top turn and then in the Tatlow he got caught behind a tiring horse.”
Cody Winnell - Harness Racing Victoria