New feed paramount to turning around King’s fortunes
By Garrick Knight
The 2019 Inter Dominion Series’ kicked off with a national record and a punters blood nose when Paramount King upset at bolters’ odds.
As his co-trainer and driver, Joshua Dickie, explained post-race, ‘blood noses’ are something he and father John have gotten used to him the large chestnut gelding.
After winning the Jewels as a juvenile at Ashburton in the winter of 2017, the sky seemed the limit for Paramount King.
But his career quickly derailed and tonight’s win was the first display of his true ability since.
“It was a great win in the Jewels, but in hindsight it was probably the worst thing that could have happened to him,” said Dickie.
“He’s always been a big horse and when we got him up as a three-year-old, his body wasn’t ready for that top line racing
“I drove him in a trial one day that season and he felt like an open class horse. But I wonder if he just peaked then and there.
“We took him to the Derby down south and he didn’t go any good.
“From then on, we have had chronic tie-up issues with him.
“It’s been a real headache.
“Last season we had all sorts of issues again; his run four back, in August, he went awful.
“The tie-up was quite unreal. Dad told me he’s had a horse that’s tied up as bad as him
“So, we tried paddock-training him for a while, but nothing was working.”
Enter Dickie’s partner, Victorian girl Sammy Kilgour.
“Sammy used to work for Pryde’s and put us on to this feed that the galloping trainers in Japan and Hong Kong use to stop tying-up.
“Since he’s been on it, he hasn’t tied up once. It’s quite amazing, really.”
A trip to Addington for the New Zealand Trotting Free For All earlier this month was just another torturous chapter in Paramount King’s story.
“We were really confident going in to the free for all but he raced very poor.
“He had a reasonable trip and just didn’t travel any good at all.
“So, we got him home and his bloods weren’t great; he’s obviously picked up a travel bug.”
The Dickies were again happy with the horse heading in to tonight’s first heat, and knowing he had a markers run guaranteed from the inside of the second line gave them a wee bit of hope.
As it turned out, they trailed the Australian visitor Big Jack Hammer the whole way.
As Massive Metro turned up the pressure on the final bend and the leader started to tire, Dickie made an instinctive decision to not wait for the passing lane.
“About the 500 they weren’t getting near us and I was going pretty easy in the trail.
“I got a bit worried that Luke (McCarthy, driver of Big Jack Hammer) was going to come back on me and I could feel him slowing down in front.
“So, I took him out wide, which was a gamble, and it paid off. That’s the risk you take and sometimes it pans out.”
So, with max points after night one, does Dickie dare to dream of a grand final tilt?
“He’s the sort of horse that, to beat those top trotters that he beat tonight, he’s going to have to be driven like that.
“The short back up is always a risk for any horse but I believe he’ll be fine.
“We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Massive Metro fought on bravely for second, putting recent indiscretions behind him, and driver Todd Mitchell was thrilled.
“I’m very happy now after his gallop last Saturday at the workouts.
“When he’s 100 percent like tonight, he never feels like he’s going to make a mistake.
“But he can do it; it does happen every now and again.
“He’s just one of those horses. If he’s a happy horse, he goes a happy race.
“I think the 2700 metres will be right up his alley next week, too.”
McCarthy believes Big Jack Hammer will only improve from his first look at Alexandra Park.
“I was really happy with him.
“David (Aiken, trainer) was a bit concerned with how he’d handle that way of going but he warmed up quite good
“On that last corner, just when he was getting a little bit tired, he hung a bit but for that experience he should be a lot better.
“His run tonight was good and established him as a horse to follow in the series.”