Former school teacher trains Jagger to win maiden at Newcastle

Mitchell Bell was able to steer Jagger to an impressive debut win at Newcastle for John Steinmetz on Thursday.

FORMER High School teacher John Steinmetz believes rising six-year-old Jagger could have a handy future as a stayer after breaking through for his maiden victory at Newcastle on Thursday.

Lining up for his first start over 2000m, the bay gelding settled towards the back of the field under the guidance of Mitchell Bell and, despite wanting to go off the back, was restrained until the swing for home.

Entering the straight, Bell gave Jagger more reign, with the son of Road To Rock and Rising High (NZ) fighting out a tight finish with Bluesbro to score by 0.28 lengths on the line.

It was his first win at start 15, with connections quietly confident he was approaching his maiden career triumph after a handful of runs under his belt for his new trainer.

“We haven’t had him all that long, today was only his sixth start for us,” Steinmetz told Horse Betting at the track.

“Sometimes these older horses can be a bit deceiving so we couldn’t be overly confident, but we were hopeful he would run well today.”

Thursday’s win was his fourth run this prep, having failed at his two runs last time in when failing to adjust to the Australian climate.

Steinmetz, who only has six in work, says Jagger has come back a much better horse following his break, with two placings at Newcastle leading into Thursday’s event.

“He has had a good preparation this time in. When we first got him over here it was around Christmas time and he had two runs. It was amidst all that hot weather and coming from New Zealand he just fell apart so we had to tip him out.

“He has come back a better horse this time – he is a lot stronger and just a nicer horse in general.

“He tries hard, he’s no champion, but he goes well.”

The $16,800 winner’s cheque on Thursday took Jagger’s career earnings beyond the $45,000 mark – a bargain buy for connections who purchased the gelding sight unseen.

“We bought him off an auction site in New Zealand and to be honest I didn’t know a lot about the horse, but I really liked his sire and I wanted to buy something by Road To Rock,” Steinmetz said.

“There is quite a few guys who own him with me. We all had a horse together called Roaming Around, which won a few in town.

“When he retired we decided to look around to find another horse, it took us a while, but I wanted to find the right one.

“He only cost us $4800, so he has been a nice buy – it actually cost us more to fly him over here.”

With a win under his belt, Warwick Farm-based Steinmetz is now hopeful that Jagger can continue his good run of form.

“He seemed to handle the 2000m with no problem. I think he has a nice future over more ground and there’s a nice race here in a couple of weeks over 2300m, which will be his next target.”

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