Trainer David Greene received a pleasant surprise at Te Aroha on Sunday when debutant Judy’s Song raced away in the closing stages of a maiden 1200m contest to score an unexpected victory. Greene had earmarked the Niagara four-year-old as a potential stayer that would need more ground before showing her best after she finished unplaced in a 900m trial at Te Rapa towards the end of June.
Greene had been considering running the mare in a 1200m trial before making her debut over more ground but decided to try his luck on Sunday instead. Judy’s Song rewarded that thinking with a stunning performance in the hands of apprentice Tegan Newman as she came from near last on the home bend to win decisively by three and a half lengths.
“She had only had the one trial over 900m and was outpaced most of the way so we weren’t expecting too much today,” Greene said. “In saying that her last 100m that day and then past the post was very good but I did think 1200m would be too short for her. “I was actually going to give her another trial over 1200m and maybe then line her up over a mile so it’s great to get a win on raceday here instead. “The heavy track certainly helped but she was very impressive in the final furlong and very strong at the finish.”
Greene was delighted to get the victory for owner and co-breeder Joe Halsall who named the mare after his late wife Judy. “Joe and Judy bred her and Joe named her after his wife when she passed away,” he said. “Joe had the mare running around on his farm so she is quite a late developer as she didn’t come to me until well into her three-year-old year. “Joe sold his farm and has moved to Queensland and left her in my care so I’m sure he will be over the moon after getting a win today.”
Greene believes Judy’s Song still has plenty of developing to do and predicts she could be prominent over more ground at this time next year. “She’s really only developing into herself now so I think on what she showed today she could be quite a solid winter horse in her next campaign,” he said. “I think winter tracks will be her forte so we will just take her along quietly as she learns more about the game. “Once she has then had a decent spell, we could well have a pretty handy stayer on our hands.”
Stable star Justamaiz is also coming along nicely in a new preparation with last season’s Group 3 Waikato Cup (2400m) winner being set for the major spring and summer staying races. “He (Justamaiz) has had a big, long spell but is back in work now,” Greene said. “He’s grown half an inch and is bigger and stronger again so we think he will be in for a good season. “He will have a Cups campaign once the tracks improve and should be at his prime now so we are looking forward to that.”