Day At The Track

Watch List's Classic win cures AFL ails

03:35 PM 27 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Watch List,Harness racing
Trots Media

Adelaide was handed defeat in round one of the AFL season, but a number of the beaten brigade still had reason to smile on Saturday night after Watch List's impressive victory in the Group 3 VHRSC Victoria Sires Classic at Tabcorp Park Melton.

Crows forward and passionate harness racing fan Josh Jenkins is part of the horse's ownership alongside teammates Brad and Matt Crouch and Tex Walker. Essendon defender Michael Hurley is also in the group that races the Michael Stanley-trained pacer.

The Burrumbeet-based three-year-old colt produced a fighting display to land victory in the $40,000 event, running down Matthew Craven-trained-and-driven favourite Crime Writer in the home straight to score by a tick over 2m.

Jenkins said the horse's win helped improve the mood after the Crows' disappointing loss to Hawthorn.

"I got home about 8.45pm Adelaide time and he raced at 9pm. So I just got home in time to have a little each-way flutter on him and watch the race," Jenkins said.

"He certainly lifted our spirits a little bit anyway."

Jenkins said Stanley targeted the Victoria Sires Classic after he decided not to take part in the re-run of the South Australian Pacing Derby. The first edition of that feature race was abandoned following a multi-horse fall.

"Mick said we would go and win this race and I sort of scoffed at him a little bit because it was worth $40,000 and (I thought) one of those three-year-olds from the Derby (would) still be floating around. But he said we would be right," he said.

"It doesn't always happen, but it's pretty cool when a plan like that comes off.

"Mick gets all the credit for that, although I've already seen a photo of the trophy and I've already told him to make sure he sends it over to my place."

Jenkins was with Stanley when he purchased the horse - for $31,000 - and was able to twist the arm of some fellow high-profile footballers to join the fun.

And what a great ride they've all had.

"AFL guys get paid pretty well, but it's just a really affordable sport," Jenkins said.

"It's a real bit of fun and a bit of a conversation starter for us. The other boys are pretty jealous, particularly after the other night."

Stanley, who drove the horse to victory on Saturday night, said Watch List was probably just a fraction below the top-line three-year-olds, but hoped for more improvement from the six-time winner.

"Sometimes horses can mature in their older years and he's a brother to Wrappers Delight, whose progressively got better as he's got older," Stanley said. "We're hoping this little fellow can do the same."

 

Tim O'Connor

for Trots Media

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