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Butler says ‘Hector’ could be vulnerable

By Duane Ranger

Tread lightly when assessing Hectorjayjay’s chances in the feature pace at Albion Park on Saturday night.

That’s the warning from his 43-year-old Logan Village trainer, Jack Butler.

He said the millionaire pacer was in splendid health, but had warned he could be a run or two short going into the $14,540 AQWA Construction Open at 8.30pm.

“On ability he’s still a champion, and just wins it off the front,” Butler said.

“He is peaking nicely and it’s hard to believe he’s rising 10, because he’s tearing around the property like a five-year-old.

“However since he won second up on May 12, I gave him four days off and I backed off his training.

“I’m not saying he can’t win, because he could go out there and slay them - but I’m setting him for some of the bigger $25,000 and $30,000 races later in the month.

“He’s still peaking and I see he has opened up the $1.80 favourite and that’s about right - next week or the week after I’d have him at a $1.30 or $1.40.”

The brilliant son of Dream Away and Sheer Finesse started from barrier six at Albion Park last start and regular pilot, Brendan Barnes, sat back and bided his time with the bay gelding.

At the 400-metre mark, he let the champ have his head and they scooted around the field to win easily going away by 10.6 metres, pacing a 1:52.8 mile rate that night.

Albion Park

OHOKA PUNTER @ EGMONT PARK STUD OPEN PACE 1660m

That victory, his 44th (for $1.1 million), was his second back since June 30, 2018 when ‘Hector’ won the Popular Alm Sprint at Kilmore.

“Whatever he does on Saturday night, he won’t disgrace himself but we will see a lot of improvement in him over the next month or so,” Butler said.

“He can be a bit of a cranky old buggar, and is playful, but he takes no crap.

“I never give Brendan any driving instructions but in this case I will; I will tell him to take the horse back at the start and bide your time.

“He is capable of firing out of the gate but I want to save that until he has drawn say one or two in bigger races - there’s a lot more to come.”

To say Hectorjayjay is an amazing old pacer is a big understatement.

The old boy, who started his career back at Geelong in March 2013, before coming to Queensland to retire in 2019, will have his 83rd start tomorrow night.

He is a multiple Group and Listed winning pacer; his major Group 1 triumphs coming in the 2017 Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle, and the 2017 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park.

Albion Park

2017 UBET BLACKS A FAKE QUEENSLAND CHAMPIONSHIP (G1) 2680m

He also finished a half-neck second behind Smolda in the 2016 Interdominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park.

However, Butler rated five-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding, Pacific Drums, as one of his best winning chances tomorrow.

Butler has 11 horses lining up at Albion Park, with Barnes driving seven of them.

Butler’s daughter Chloe, will also have two drives for her father, and Chris Geary the remaining two.

“Chloe is 17 now and finally allowed to drive on Saturday nights, this is all she has wanted to do for as long as I can remember,” Butler said.

“In fact, lately she’s been a bit of a pain telling us all about it.

“I’m delighted for her though, because she also gets to drive Rock With Sam in the big race.

That is quite an honour and the owners are real happy to have her on - he’s not the worst chance from two either.”

Hectorjayjay aside, here’s what Butler had to say about his 10 other runners for tomorrow (with race, driver, horse, draw, for, and opening odds):

 

Race 1: The Brendan Barnes driven SAMS THE MASTER (6) - 7930x - $12:

"Tell All gelding who hasn’t raced since April 4, but has finished second and first in his two trials in May.”

“He suffered from sand colic which set him back a bit, but  I couldn’t be happier back with him.

“He’s a fast horse and I think he is heading back to form which saw him set the Redcliffe track record earlier in the season.

“It’s not going to be easy from the draw but he’s a free-going pacer, and will be looking to bowl along early - he can see this out first-up, and can surprise.”

 

Race 3: The Chris Geary driven TOMEARA (9) - 0102x - $17:

"He’s a hard horse to read; one day he’s with you, the next he’s not.”

“He can do things wrong and he will need the run, but I wouldn’t write him off because he’s one of those horses that can upset them at any moment.”

 

Race 3: The Brendan Barnes driven CHRISTIAN MAJOR (10) - 65649 - $13:

"This fella is a first starter for the stable, he’s an Art Major gelding who came up from Menangle.”

“I really like him, but the draw is a bit of a dampener.

“Regardless I’m expecting a bold run from him in this.”

 

Race 4: The Brendan Barnes driven HANDSOME HERO (3) - 42188 - $10:

"Courage Under Fire gelding, who isn’t really suited by the draw because he doesn’t boast a lot of gate speed.”

“He needs them bowling along because he’s the sort of horse who can get over the top of them.

“I have no idea where he will end up during the trip, we are hoping he gets a bit of luck in the running.”

 

Race 5: The Brendan Barnes driven PACIFIC DRUMS (6) - 25419 - $5 second favourite:

"I’d rate this five-year-old as one of my better chances of the night, Brendan’s future wife (Elin Olsson) owns him.”

“He’s another pacer where we won’t really know where he will end up in the running until the starter lets them go.

“But he can do work at both ends, and I really liked the way he won at Redcliffe two starts ago.

“Brendan is also happy with him, and we both think he will go a nice race.”

 

Race 7: The Brendan Barnes driven HARPAGUS (9) - x3532 - $4.40 second favourite:

"Bettor's Delight 5-year-old mare, who cops a draw that is not too bad for her if things go her way.”

“She can also work at both ends, which brings her right into contention here – a nice each-way hope.”

 

Race 8: The Chloe Butler (c) driven ROCK WITH SAM (2) - 68668 - $26:

"His form went off and we spelled him after he ran eighth at Albion Park (April 11).”

“He’s won and placed at the trials since, but he‘s the type of horse who usually needs two or three runs to hit peak.

“He will be driven quiet and should reach his peak in his next few starts.”

 

Race 10: The Brendan Barnes driven SAM IS PERFECTION (8) - 32714 - $15:

"He has drawn one on second line behind Diameter ($14).”

“We are both the second favourites behind the likely winner, and the hot favourite ($1.05), Speech Is Silver (10).

“That horse is special but ‘Sam’ is consistent and will do a good job, he only needs a good run to place behind Kylie (Rasmussen).”

 

Race 11: The Chloe Butler (c) driven SIRIUS VICKI (4) - 17146 - $21:

"Four-year-old, who is a funny little daughter of Art Major.

“When she’s on she’s on, and when she’s not she’s not.

“She is working well at home, but you can’t read too much into that.

“She’s an opportunist who will need some luck here, the penny hasn’t dropped yet and for that reason I’m still not too sure on her yet.”

 

Race 11: The Brendan Barnes driven ZARAS ALL GOOD (5) - 41585 - $12:

"Another four-year-old mare (by Mr Feelgood), who can be a little bit one paced.”

“It’s a tricky draw and I’m not sure what Brendan will do, but he is good enough to work it out.

“If they run hard early she can get over the top of them.

“The word is ‘hope’ when assessing both of our mares in this race.”

HECTORJAYJAY

Races

1

Albion Park | Albion Park Harness Racing Club | 6:52 PM

TAB PACE

2

Albion Park | Albion Park Harness Racing Club | 7:22 PM

OHOKA PUNTER @ EGMONT PARK STUD PACE

5

Albion Park | Albion Park Harness Racing Club | 8:52 PM

GARRARDS HORSE & HOUND PACE

7

Albion Park | Albion Park Harness Racing Club | 9:50 PM

AQWA CONSTRUCTIONS PACE