Thankgodyou’rehere was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated runners coming into the 2011 season with a lower grade career that was the envy of most.
Everything looked in perfect place at the end of 2010 with seven wins and three seconds from just 11 starts, culminating in a Hawkesbury Cup triumph in his final run.
In 2011 he was finally ready to step up to the big leagues and while he’s yet to get across the line first, his performances have been incredible valiant.
His first test this year came on a heavy track at Randwick where he ran in the Group 1 Galaxy.
Only Atomic Force handled it better than him and his second placing on Group 1 debut showed he could more than handle the grade.
His next start came on the Gold Coast on a slow track in the Prime Minister’s Cup and was probably the most disappointing of his runs.
He ran home fourth, the first time he’s missed a place since debut, and while it was a big field many expected him to handle the quality.
He shrugged that off at Doomben last start though and in the BRC Sprint he overcame barrier 15 to run home third, missing out by half a length.
All up in puts him in tremendous shape for the Stradbroke Handicap this weekend and there’s a mountain of confidence surrounding this horse.
No where is this faith more obvious than from regular rider Rodney Quinn.
Quinn is now 50 years old but he says getting to ride a horse like this is what drives him to keep jumping back in the saddle.
“Being able to ride horses like him definitely keeps you going, keeps you getting up in the morning and putting in the work,” Quinn said.
The veteran has now ridden for 36 years and in that times he’s notched up over 2000 winners.
In that time he’s’ steered some absolute champions, even the likes of Lohnro, so when he says a horse is good you can take him by his word.
“I feel he has got the ability of a top-grade horse, he can gallop as good as the best of them, he can go toe to toe with any (horse) around, but he lacks that little bit of toughness,” Quinn said.
“He has got to have that three weeks between runs, not quite tough enough as the real top horses yet, so you have to baby him a little bit. But Pat and Wayne (Webster) do a great job with him.”
Quinn’s relationship with the Webster training outfit has been a crucial one and allowed him to continue riding at the top level.
They’ve been very supportive of him and despite a horde of other offers they are sticking firm.
“Rodney has been a tremendous mentor of mine and helped me a lot with my training career through this horse,” Wayne Webster said.
“I have taken a lot of advice from many people, especially the old man, but no-one has taught me more than Rodney about how horses pull up, what distance they are looking for, everything. He just knows when horses are right and ready to win.”
Thankgodyou’rehere was allocated barrier 11 for the Stradbroke but after the emergencies come out he will start in nine, a much better result than his last two runs.
“My feeling going in to this race is this is the first time this preparation that things have actually fallen in to place with him,” Quinn said.
“This is the race we have aimed for.
“Things are going right leading in to this race and hopefully we can pull it off.”
He was beaten by Woorim and Listen Son last start in the BTC Sprint however Woorim has been given a 1kg penalty and Thankgodyou’rehere drops back to a small 52.5kg.
“His work last Saturday was as good as it has been since we have been in Queensland so it is very pleasing,” Webster said.
“We are ready.”