The final Saturday city meeting of the season was significant for provincial trainer Grant Allard, who will be out to kick off the new term in a similar vein when he takes Dissolute to Randwick.
Allard produced his first metropolitan winner since recently moving from on-course facilities at Gosford to the central coast property formerly owned by late trainer John McNair when Catesby ran his rivals ragged at Rosehill last Saturday.
Starting at $61, Catesby’s win surprised punters but not his trainer, who was more taken aback by the unplaced performance of Dissolute in an earlier race.
Allard had expected both horses to be competitive and was unhappy with the ride on Dissolute, who was unable to be fully tested in the straight and as such will back-up this weekend in either the Jockey Celebration Day Handicap (1200m) or the Jockeys Reunion Handicap (1300m).
“I was disappointed with the horse’s placing on Saturday, I thought he should have run far better because he worked with the stablemate on Wednesday at Gosford racecourse, Catesby, and you saw what he did in the race after,” Allard said.
“There wasn’t that big a difference between them on Wednesday morning compared to the Saturday so we were a bit disappointed, but we move on and Saturday’s a new race.”
Dissolute, who began his career with Godolphin, has had three starts for Allard and while the trainer admits the runs don’t look flash on paper, he has been satisfied with the horse’s progress, particularly two starts ago when he made ground on the fence against the pattern of the day.
Given Dissolute is a relatively new recruit, Allard is still learning what makes him tick but he has a head start on most having worked with the five-year-old’s dam, multiple stakes placegetter Dorky, during his time with John Hawkes at Crown Lodge.
“I was there when Dissolute’s mother was racing, Dorky, so in that regard I kind of know (the family),” Allard said.
“But the day-to-day running, how they cope with certain conditions and what work they do or don’t need is always a learning curve, especially when they’ve had trainers before you.
“You just have to give them a blank slate and let them dictate to you what they want and need.”
The strategy worked with Catesby and Allard is hoping for the same result with Dissolute as he looks to repay the faith of John O’Connor, the majority stakeholder in both horses and the owner of the property he trains out of, which has been renamed Feale Park.
“John (McNair) had already turned it into a Group One facility being where he trained Hay List, so all we’ve done is try to improve a bit on what was here,” Allard said.
“Going from training at a track to a property is quite different but we seem to be getting there which is good.”