While all the talk in Melbourne is about the northern hemisphere raiders flying in to steal glory in Australia’s spring features, there is a northern raider of a different kind racing at Doomben this weekend.
Jabiru Dreaming, a five-year-old gelding from Mount Isa in north-west Queensland, has made the 20-hour trip to Brisbane to attempt an astonishing 10th consecutive victory.
Seven straight wins in Mount Isa followed by two in Townsville left trainer Patrick Inwood with no other choice but to tackle the better competition in the Queensland capital.
“I couldn’t get a race for him at home. I entered him for one and they gave him 64kg,” Inwood said.
Inwood, who trains his team of 18 horses before and after his regular day’s work as a diesel fitter, dual nominated Jabiru Dreaming for both a No Metro Wins Handicap (1200m) and an Open Handicap (1200m) before choosing to accept the challenge against the tougher open company.
“There’s no point dodging them and we’ll find up if he’s up to it,” Inwood said.
“If he’s good enough we’ll leave him down here and if he’s not I’ll take him home.
“But it’s worth a go.”
The son of Invincible Spirit had not won in 14 starts when Inwood purchased him and at first sight he thought he might have made a mistake.
“The bloke I bought him off I’d bought a mare off before who was pretty good so I took the gamble,” Inwood said.
“When he arrived he didn’t look real flash and he never showed anything in trackwork. I thought, oh no.
“But we went to a maiden at home and he won by 12 lengths and he’s just shown a real ability to perform when he goes to the races.”
The most recent of Jabiru Dreaming’s wins came in the $75,000 Cleveland Bay Handicap (1200m) in Townsville where he produced a flying finish to claim top honours in one of regional Queensland’s biggest sprint events.
Despite having the option of employing an experienced Brisbane-based jockey, Inwood has elected to stick with Matthew Morris who has been aboard for the gelding’s five most recent wins.
“Matt knows the horse well and he’s ridden down here before,” Inwood said.
Inwood describes Jabiru Dreaming as a “rat” to train but said he handled the arduous journey surprisingly well and is expecting him to perform to his best on Saturday.
“He played up a bit in Roma but he travelled pretty well actually,” he said.
“Whether he’s up to it we’ll find out but he’s always shown up on race day before.”