Consistency Pays Off for Homebush Lad
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Homebush Lad was rewarded for his consistency on the West Coast with victory in the Rosco Contractors LTD Reefton Cup (3200m) on Thursday.
The seven-year-old gelding had finished runner-up on the first two days of the circuit, including a short-margin defeat in heavy conditions on Thursday behind race rival Last Of The Mohicans, and trainers Greg and Nina Hope were pleased to see him come out on top at Reefton.
Homebush Lad began like a bullet from the front line to take an early lead before driver Ben Hope elected to hand-up to the Jack Harrington-trained pair of Tas Girl Bromac and Just Holla.
Driver Robbie Close kept a genuine tempo up front behind Just Holla, with the field remaining in Indian file for the majority of the journey.
Just Holla put several margins on the field at the 800m mark and Hope made his move on Homebush Lad with 600m to go, navigating his way around a tiring Tas Girl.
He struck the lead with 400m to go and was able to see off the Robert and Jenna Dunn-trained pair of Jimmy Arma and High Flying Harry to win by 7-3/4 lengths.
“He went super,” Greg Hope said. “He definitely liked the grass surface and the tough going. He is a good staying horse, so he relished the conditions.
“He got a good trip and it all worked out for him. He began really well and put himself into the race.”
While many would have expected Homebush Lad to be on weary legs following his dogfight down the home straight with Last Of The Mohicans on Tuesday, Hope said the run had the opposite effect.
“Ben (Hope, driver) said when he put him into the paddock after the race he was bucking and kicking,” Hope said.
“He thrived on the trip, it didn’t take any toll on him at all, which was quite surprising. If anything it improved him.”
A grass track specialist, Hope is looking to keep his gelding to the surface over the coming months.
“He is definitely better on the grass,” Hope said.
“He might go to Marlborough now, he does struggle in Canterbury. When he gets up in the grades he does struggle a little bit.
“We will probably go to Blenheim and have a go at the Marlborough Cup on the grass.”