By Isaac Murphy
The notion of 700 metre racing was back for Robert Jacobsen and his Group 3 placed dog It’s A Trick following an upset win at Albion Park last Thursday.
The fourth-elect in the betting scorched home in 41.84, twelve lengths clear of his nearest rival, and Jacobsen hoping he can repeat the dose tonight.
“He was getting a bit stale over the 520 metres, couldn’t draw a box or get any luck in running, I wasn’t sure what to do with,” Jacobsen said.
“He even had a run over the 331 one night there, I thought he might be getting to the end.
“I ended up giving him a week off to sort out a couple of little niggles he had and got him to Ipswich for a trial where he looked good and fortunately we got a seven hundred at Albion Park last week, where he was able to get out in front and just run.”
Remarkably, It’s A Trick started a $10 chance behind Emmaville Star, Zipping Blondie and Waikarie Bell last week, but with none of those backing up this week he looks a short-priced commodity from the six this week.
“The field might look at bit weaker this Thursday night, but it’s sometimes that second run up over the trip that can get them,” Jacobsen said.
“Corey Mutton’s dog Federal Elle out of the one has a fair bit of class and can stay all day, if she gets out well from the nice draw I expect her to push us all the way.
“Outside that, it does look like a race devoid of any other possible leaders, I’d love to see him jump to the front again and if one is good enough to run us down so be it.”
Frustrated with the lack of suitable races, the win was a breath of fresh air for both trainer and dog, and has left Jacobsen with renewed faith the soon to be four-year-old has plenty left.
“To see him win the way he did was really promising, it had been a while between drinks and as they get older you question if they really want to keep doing it, but he was on the bunny and highballing,” he said.
“I hope we still have time to chase some Group staying races with him, I know a dog called Dashing Corsair won the National Distance Championship at four-and-a-half, so I think we’ve got a bit of time up our sleeve yet.
“With the stayers they tend to get fitter as they get older, he’s always been relatively lightly raced and doesn’t get injured, hopefully 41.84 last week was a sign of things to come.”
Jacobsen is optimistic the feature win can come at his home track, with 2020 likely his last year for a shot at a race like the Queensland Cup Final - currently scheduled for June.
“Before the virus hit, we were aiming him for a couple of nice races up here in the Dashing Corsair and Queensland Cup in winter,” he said.
“It would be fantastic if somehow they were able to go ahead because it’d be his last dig at winning a big race at his home track, so we’ll have to wait and see there.”
With zoning laws in effect, Jacobsen is hoping trainers with stayers can bond together and keep the demand for 700 metre races high.
“While the restrictions are still in place, we’ve just got to hope the club can keep offering 710 races every Thursday night, because I certainly don’t want to drop him back now and dent his confidence,” he said.
“If we can stick to the trial at Ipswich each week and the Thursday night run that should be a good formula going forward.”
Amidst the chaos of 2020, Jacobsen has crafted a positive year winning the re-introduced Ipswich Auction Sprint Series with He’s A Minstrel, with litter brother Roulette a finalist.
“He’s A Minstrel has just flattened off a bit after the Auction Sprint Series, so it probably hasn’t hurt him too much with the postponement of the 520-metre series,” Jacobsen said.
“He’s still just a baby and we’re trying to find the key with him as well.
He hasn’t gone great over the 520 at Albion and Ipswich so we’ve brought him back to the shorts where he’s had some success and get him ready for the 520 series.
“His brother Roulette just wasn’t quite up to the mark down here, so I sent him up to Bundaberg as an afterthought, he was supposed to go back to Tasmania, but they closed the borders on us.”
Jacobsen takes a lot of pride in turning his small team out in top order battling against the powerful kennels week in week out.
“I’m still training out of the backyard at Moorooka, which can be a bit hard at times not having the same facilities as some of the big trainers but we make it work,” he said.
“I put a lot of time into my dogs, I don’t cut any corners and make sure they’re well looked after well fed, which is an advantage of a small team.
“I never stop driving, I’m always taking them to the vet, the trial track or the races where I find myself listening to a lot of radio, but it’s worth it when you’re getting results.”
Not only does Jacobsen manage to train out of his suburban home, but still practices two other professions which he says keeps him fresh like his dogs.
“I had an investment, money management business that I sold the majority off when I lived up North, but still have a few clients that I’m on the phone to giving advice with the lockdown laws and I do a bit of substitute teaching on the side to change things up a bit,” he said.
“It’s an interesting life splitting my time between the three, it keeps me on my toes which I enjoy.”