Our Uncle Sam bounces back in a big way
By Garrick Knight
Relief washed over Chris Frisby after Our Uncle Sam’s last-to-first win at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
After a wretched New Zealand campaign, the New South Wales horseman didn’t know what to expect just seven days removed from what he called the worst run of the horse’s career.
“I’ve been shitting myself all week,” he admitted post-race.
“He galloped out three races in a row (standing starts) and then last Friday in the Free For All was the worst run he’s ever put in. It’s just not him.”
The horse botching standing starts was actually masking a lingering virus, Frisby reckons.
“In the second and third runs he blew up over the back, which he’s never done in his life.
“So, I think he must have had a virus.”
Frisby got him scoped in Christchurch last Saturday and immediately started treating him.
In the meantime, the horse flew north to Tony Herlihy’s barn but he barely did any work all week.
“I didn’t do a bloody thing with him. He jogged 10 minutes every morning, that was it.
“I was still worried about him yesterday morning so I got the vet out to scope him again to make sure everything was right inside.
“He said mate, there’s nothing wrong with him.”
He was right.
Despite the aforementioned issues, plus drawing wide in his first start right-handed, Our Uncle Sam was too good for the pace-making Solid Gold, getting over the top of him in a 1.55.5 mile-rate for the 2200 metres.
“That run tonight, that’s him,” said Frisby.
“With a sit like that he’s unbelievable.
Immediately after the race, Our Uncle Sam was looking like the horse Frisby has come to know and love, no swelling across his back and quick recovery.
And that will top him off nicely for the big dance, which starts in seven days’ time – the Inter Dominion Series.
He ran second in the A$500,000 Grand Final behind Tiger Tara in last year’s series and Frisby believes that bodes well for this time around.
“Last year I didn’t think he would suit the short turnarounds, but his last run was his best run.
“He’s a horse that doesn’t need a lot of work as shown tonight, so hopefully it doesn’t knock him around.
“You can’t go in to the series even 95%, you need to be at your best.”
Herlihy was pleasantly surprised and said he has no qualms that the horse will be right in the thick of the series.
“He was really good tonight; handled the track well and hit the line nicely.”
Solid Gold held on for second, narrowly ahead of Mr Kiwi and a close-up Dance Time.
Thames horseman Dale Moore was sent to hospital for observation after taking a tumble in the first running of the night’s opening event.
Moore was tipped out of the cart in the back straight shortly after the start and suffered what Stewards called superficial injuries.
“Swelling, bruises and a cut above the eye,” said the Racing Integrity Unit’s Steve Mulcay.
His horse, The Last Gamble, bolted driverless, dragging a sulky, and eventually went to ground on the point of the home turn, causing a race abandonment.
It was re-run, with The Last Gamble scratched, and taken out by Canterbury visitor, Chevron Action.