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Country star Hezhome takes on city slickers at Ipswich

By Glenn Davis

The old firm of Roma trainer Craig Smith and jockey Matt McGillivray will be reunited when promising country three-year-old Hezhome tests his credentials in the metropolitan area at Ipswich on Wednesday.

Hezhome, a first-up winner at Rockhampton last start, tackles a slick field spearheaded by Guntantes, Battle Strike, Magic Trick and Baby Boomer in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Benchmark 65 Handicap (1100m).

Smith rarely makes the long trip to the Brisbane metropolitan area and hasn’t had a city starter since Malibu Affair finished eighth in the Battle Of The Bush Final at Eagle Farm on June 22.

McGillivray, who has been in sizzling form with a winning treble at Eagle Farm last Saturday, started his career as an apprentice with Smith before finishing his indentures with Eagle Farm trainer Barry Baldwin.

Although based at Roma, in south-west Queensland, Hezhome has done all his racing in Rockhampton where he has started five times for three wins and a second.

The only time he missed a place was when he finished fourth on debut in a maiden at Callaghan Park in November last year.

The son of Better Than Ready had his first start as a three-year-old when he won first-up against his own age over 1050 metres at Rockhampton on August 9.

Hezhome was sent to Rockhampton last season as he was a product of the Capricorn Yearling sales and was aimed at the city’s richest race, the $125,000 Capricorn Yearling Sales Two-Year-Old Classic (1200) in April.

“He had a bit of a setback in the week leading up to the race when he cut his leg but he came good and ran second in the race,” Smith said.

“We bought him for $8,000 at the Capricorn sales, that’s why we targeted Rocky with him.

“I think he’ll run 1600 metres and will be better next preparation.

“They’ll go quick in this but he’ll find the line strongly.

“It’s a strong field with a number of chances but Battle Strike was very impressive at his first start and is the one to beat.”

Trainer Toby Edmonds and son Trent have started their new training partnership in brilliant style and have a good opinion of the Shooting To Win three-year-old, who is nominated for the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill next month and the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in October.

Racing Queensland webnews   August 20