Hector's last stand
By Adam Hamilton
BRILLIANT Aussie pacer Hectorjayjay has run his last race.
Owner Matt McLellan went from excited optimism to heartbreak this week when trainer Jack Butler confirmed Hectorjayjay’s latest injury had ended his latest and last comeback bid just days out from returning at Albion Park.
“There I was waiting for the Albion Park fields to come out for his return race this weekend when I got the news. It was devastating. I’m so sad for the horse and for Jack, who’s put some much time in nursing him back,” McLellan said.
“We got so close. We had those three runs earlier this year and gave him a break and he was ready to go again. He looked so good winning that trial a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn’t to be.”
Hectorjayjay raced 83 times for 44 wins, 22 placings and earned $1,161,610.
He was cutdown in his prime after winning three Group 1 races.
Kiwis probably best remember him for starting favourite and finishing a close second to Smolda in the 2016 Perth Inter Dominion final at Gloucester Park.
Three of his biggest wins came at Albion Park with the 2016 Sunshine Sprint and then returning for then trainer David Aiken and driver Josh Aiken to win the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake in 2017.
He went amiss after that Group 1 Blacks A Fake win on July 15, 2017 and despite stints with Aiken, Matty Craven, the late Gavin Lang and, most recently, Butler, he only raced another four times.
His last run was a fifth at Albion Park on June 6.
Hectorjayjay will remembered as one of the fastest pacers Australia has seen.
“I have no regrets about the four years spent trying to get him back, I’d always have wondered ‘what if’ otherwise,” McLellan said.
“Now it’s about finding him a good home and he’s such an active and competitive horse, something like dressage could be ideal for him. We’ll make sure he finds a great home.”