Trainer Jason Clifford has experienced nothing but success since making the move from Tasmania to Victoria earlier in the year.
Clifford’s latest achievement came when five-year-old gelding Prince Obama finished a close third behind two of the big guns in weight-for-age racing, Whobegotyou and Lights Of Heaven, in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield last weekend.
“Racing in Tasmania wasn’t taking me anywhere and I could just see the future for racing in Tasmania was at a standstill,” Clifford said.
“I brought over about 22 or 23 (horses) and 5 haven’t made the grade so I’m down to about 16 or 17 at the moment.
“I’ve had a few really nice horses over the last couple of years.”
The trainer feels that the Tasmanian racing industry’s future isn’t looking bright.
“It’s not looking real good at the moment,” he said.
“I think if they just raced twice a week trainers could make a decent living.”
Now permanently based in Melbourne, Clifford nominated Prince Obama for the PB Lawrence Stakes due to the predicted heavy track.
“I nominated him and accepted with him because there was rain forecast,” he said.
Despite the track being ultimately rated as Dead, Prince Obama put in the run of his life.
“I knew we had fitness on our side where those horses didn’t,” Clifford said.
“The horse ran out of his skin.
“He’s used to carrying the heavy weight… but he ran better than I thought he would on a dead track.”
Prince Obama will now continue on to a possible start in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on August 27.
“He’s pulled up sensational… so I’d say we’d nom for the Group 2 at Caulfield next week and also nominate him for a 1,400 metre race,” Clifford said.
“This horse is looking for a mile, so after his next 1,400 metre race I’ll put him up to the mile.”
Prince Obama has not finished outside the placings in any of his 12 career runs.
“I thought we might have messed up his record on Saturday but we didn’t,” Clifford said.
“He’s just a beautiful athletic horse and that’s what makes him a really great race horse.
“He was pretty well rock hard fit but I think he’s improved from his run.
“We had the widest barrier and we had to move to get across.
“He didn’t have it that easy.”
While Prince Obama made his presence known at Caulfield last Saturday, Clifford is not eager to take on Whobegotyou and Lights Of Heaven again anytime soon.
“I probably wouldn’t like to take them on again,” he said.
Despite Prince Obama’s promising performance at weight-for-age level last Saturday, Clifford believes his best talent is yet to come.
“My best horse hasn’t raced over here yet,” he said.
The trainer is talking about six-year-old gelding Loaded Owners, who bowed his tendon in the Listed Newmarket Handicap in Tasmania.
“He’s just come into work this week,” Clifford said.
“He would make the grade over here no worries.
“He just copped a bow to his tendon in the Newmarket.”