Larsen not surprised by longshot winner
By Garrick Knight
There was a good old-fashioned upset at Winton on Sunday when Targaryen cut corners to beat out a field of maidens in a slick 1.54.9 mile.
His trainer and driver, Kirk Larsen, says the $53.30 price was perhaps a little unjustified for the three-year-old son of Big Jim.
“I thought he went pretty good last start and had actually been ok in all three starts this campaign,” he said.
“In his first start back he galloped behind the gate and then the next start he got caught behind a stopping horse on the bend.
“Then last time he drew six and ended up doing a bit of work going forward to the lead.
“He still found the line pretty good I thought, so he’s been racing well without a lot of luck.”
Still, being an eight-start maiden drawn the second line against some ‘fresher’ maidens over a mile meant punters deserted him.
Larsen was unperturbed though and weaved a path from four back on the markers to get the win off a hot tempo.
“When I went for the gap I thought we might have been going to run second to be fair, because he had a bit of work to do.
“But he really sprinted when he got some space.”
Targaryen was a Karaka weanling sale buy back in 2017 by Larsen, the main reason being he was closely related to our then best racehorse.
“He’s from a good family; Lazarus is on the pedigree page, so there’s a fair bit of blood there.
“And I’ve always thought a bit of him, so it’s no surprise to see what he did today.”
Larsen’s wife Michelle owns Targaryen and that usually means one thing – the horse will be sold if the right offer comes along.
“We’ll see what happens, but I guess selling him would be a logical step if we got the right price.”
It’s just the fourth winner for Larsen this season – the same as last term – as the Branxholme trainer goes through a period of regeneration.
His stable is made up of mostly youngsters, though good things are on the horizon.
“We sold quite a few over the last couple of years and that sort of only left us with The White Rabbit, Tolkien, Duke Of Dundee and this fella racing.
“So we went to the sales last year and put together the Own The Moment Syndicate, which has given us a lot of new people to the game.
“Many first time owners.
“At the end of the day, the success of that syndicate will be determined by the horses doing a good job and whether those same owners then come in to another horse after that.
“We are trying to get more people involved because the days of siting back and horses coming to you are gone.
“You’ve got to get out there and do it yourself.”
The syndicate has three horses. Two purchased from last year’s yearling sales that have both trialled, named Mr McLaren (Mach Three) and Oneloveonelife (Somebeachsomewhere), the latter being a son of champion race mare One Dream and currently unbeaten through three trials.
A third horse, Major Disruption (Art Major), has been leased from Breckon Farms and she, too, has been to the workouts.
Larsen also trains the full brother to star pacer Field Marshal, called Forsure, and has a three-year-old half-sister to Sovereignty called Andover The Keys, both of which have placed on race day from limited starts.
“I’ve actually got a couple of nice three-year-old trotters there - Andover The Keys and King Of The North, who run fourth at his first start and then won the next one for us.
“He’s due back in now and I think could go a fair way.”
The Larsens had reason to celebrate last week when their son, Tristan, had his first day of driving as a fully-fledged junior driver.
“He’s keen as mustard; he knows the pedigrees better than I do.
“He gives us a hand first thing then goes and works for Brett Gray then comes back in the afternoon and works a few of his own.
“He had has first day of driving last week and it was a big experience for him.
“It’s a step u from four or five-horse heats at the workouts to a proper race, but he did well.
“He’s going to make it as a driver, I’m sure.”