Trainers Shaun and Emma Clotworthy were eyeing an Australian campaign with Justacanta this spring, however, a change in circumstances have altered those plans.
“We were going to go over to Australia with him but he had a slight foot problem so he has ended up staying here and we will probably carry on with him here at home.” Emma Clotworthy said.
The Group Three performer will now be prepared for a similar campaign to last season, which will likely culminate in a tilt at the Group 1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
The erratic eight-year-old appears to have matured since his last preparation, with his trainers pleased with his manners in a jumpout and subsequent trial at Ellerslie on Tuesday, where he finished fourth in his 900m heat behind Australian-bound Entriviere.
“We are really pleased with him,” Clotworthy said. “He is a really honest horse, he just doesn’t jump away very well from barriers.
“He has had a jumpout and a trial this time back and he seems to be doing everything right, so fingers crossed he can keep that up for his races.
“We are just taking it one day at a time with him, but we will probably head towards the bigger races like the Railway.
“He is not a great traveller, so we will probably stay close to home.”
Clotworthy, who enjoyed a stint across the Tasman earlier this year campaigning Hezashocka in Queensland, is looking forward to the gelding stepping out in Melbourne later this spring.
In a deal brokered by bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo, Hezashocka was purchased by OTI Racing after his victory in the Group 2 Championship Stakes (2100m), with the Clothworthys retaining a share in the son of Shocking.
Clotworthy accompanied him to Brisbane in May where he finished 12th in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm for new trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr.
He has been back in work for the last three weeks and Clotworthy is hoping the trans-Tasman travel bubble re-opens so she can watch the four-year-old race in the flesh later this spring.
“He is at a pre-training barn and will be heading back to Mick Price’s in another week. He has been water-walking and doing a bit of flat work,” Clotworthy said.
“He will be looking to race after the Melbourne Cup, there will be a few nice races for him then.
“As long as we can travel I would like to head over to be an owner for once rather than having all the pressure on (as a trainer).
“Mick seems pretty happy with the way he is progressing, so we will leave it up to them.”
Meanwhile, the Clotworthys will head north to Ruakaka on Saturday with two runners.
Five-year-old mare New Dawn has continued to impress since winning over 1200m at the northern track last month and her trainers are expecting a repeat performance in the Northland Business Systems (1200m).
“She has trained on well from last time,” Clotworthy said. “I think next time she will step out over 1400m, but we are just keeping her back at 1200m on Saturday.
“She has improved from last time, so hopefully she can do the same.”
Stablemate Double Happy will line-up in the Aug 21 – Alibaba’s Flying Carpers Ruakaka Cup (2100m), but he is destined for a jumping future.
“He just doesn’t like sticky tracks and unfortunately we have run into those,” Clotworthy said.
“He has trained on well and we have been jumping him in the meantime. We might look at starting him over the hurdles at the end of the (jumping) season.”