Hector still has it

By Adam Hamilton

ONE of the most brilliant pacers of the modern era, Hectorjayjay, is just weeks away from a remarkable comeback.

The $1.1 million-earner has raced just once in almost three years and been through three stables and two stints of retirement since.

His last run was a Kilmore win for then trainer-driver Gavin Lang on June 30, 2018.

But that was his first run since going amiss after winning the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15, 2017.

So there’s some symmetry to the fact his comeback run is set to be at Albion Park late this month.

This week was the first time new trainer Jack Butler was comfortable enough to actually talk about a comeback race.

It’s because Hectorjayjay not only trialled well at Albion Park last Tuesday, but, more importantly, he came through it very well.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m still taking it day-by-day, but it’s time to look a bit further ahead and think about plans now we’ve got this far,” Butler said.

“I’ll give him another trial next week, where we’ll ask a bit more of him, then, all going well again, we’ll look for a race … probably at the end of the month.

 “He seems so well. He’s some sort of horse.

“Even though we haven’t asked him to ‘go’ yet, he’s just amazing.

“I’m leaning towards a first-up run where he has to draw badly and we can sit him up and let him run home, rather than drawing the front where he’s got to use that amazing gate speed of his.

“If he comes through this next trial well, I’ll look through the racing options.”

Hectorjayjay started his career with trainer Simone Walker, became a Grand Circuit star when he moved to David Aiken’s barn and has since had stints with Gavin Lang and Matty Craven before joining Butler’s stable.

“I train for his Victorian-based owner and they sent the horse to me for one last go at getting him back,” Butler said.

“So far, so good and it’s a huge thrill to have an opportunity with a horse as good as him.”

Hectorjayjay’s raced 80 times for 43 wins, 21 placings and $1,155,307 in earnings.

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