Jason Wood … Jack and Jill went up the hill

By Rob Courtney

Part owner/breeder of four-year-old Auckland Reactor mare Baltimore Jill, Jason Wood was adamant that his mare had more to offer and deserved a second chance.

The full sister to Baltimore Jack (six wins) had been placed twice in her first 14 starts, not exactly a great return on the investment, but as the other owners’ enthusiasm began to wane, Wood decided to put his money where his thinking was and bought the others out and immediately transferred the mare to Loburn trainer Andrew Stuart.

From her new quarters, the first couple of runs were a ‘bit rough’ but then it was discovered she had a deep seated foot abscess. Treated accordingly and having just her fourth start from the Stuart barn, Baltimore Jill duly obliged in the hands of Blair Orange last Sunday at Addington, running her last 800m in 56.8 after racing handily throughout. It was her first win in 19 starts.

The trainer was confident of a bold showing.

"I'm just working these Auckland Reactors out and the less you do with them, the better they seem to go," says Stuart.

Wood finds the excitement of winning a race, particularly with a horse he bred, a real buzz.

“Breeding is a tough gig but the feeling you get when you qualify one then go on to be a winner, its hard to describe but it is highly satisfying when this is just a passionate interest for me."

Wood has to juggle his love of racing with his day job. He is the Finance Manager at Sport Canterbury.

A few years ago he part-owned a handy type in Together Again (Sir Vancelot – D’Amore) who won seven and was good enough to qualify for the Jewels as a four-year-old before being sold to America and race timed in 1:52.8.

Of note, D’Amore is the grand dam of both Baltimore Jack and Jill.

Wood explained that the Baltimore name relates to his "infatuation with the boss Bruce Springsteen and the horse names have generally been linked to characters directly connected with his music."

The opening lyrics to 1980 hit Hungry Heart are "Got a wife and kids in Baltimore, Jack"

"I had won with Jack so it seemed only logical to name one Jill," says Wood.

Baltimore Jill will head to Ashburton this Sunday with Sam Ottley to drive and could be a contender for the Coast circuit over the Xmas period all going well.

Stuart has trained seven winners from 56 starts this season and is currently working a team of 14.

He has strong ties with Australia and many of his team make their way across the Tasman. One former stable runner doing a good job there currently is Red Right Hand, now the winner of eight and race timed in 1:51.

Of those coming through, Stuart makes mention of Moonlite Dream, a daughter of Always B Miki and the smart mare Miss Moonlite (13 wins + $213k in stakes) owned by loyal stable client Shane Kirwan of Wibble Holdings. She won two as an early three-year-old and was good enough to place last cup day before unfortunately splitting a pastern.

Her trainer is positive about her racetrack return potentially later in the season. By then he'll be back in Canterbury after an upcoming trip to Europe to support good mate Blair Orange at the World Drivers' Championship.


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