Former Wellington and Auckland Cup placegetter Jacksstar made an emotional return to the winner’s enclosure when he out-stayed his rivals to capture the Gr.2 City Of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) on his home turf on Saturday.
The Awapuni-trained galloper has had nothing but bad luck since finishing a gallant third in the 2018 Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m), in the process sustaining a serious tendon injury.
Off the scene for over eighteen months the Zed gelding resumed in November last year, with a steady build-up aimed at the 2019 Gr.2 Wellington Cup (3200m) in January. Bad luck struck once again with a pulled shoe during the running accounting for a lack-lustre effort in the two-mile feature whilst he also missed a run in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) after suffering another niggling injury when finishing fifth in the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) in February.
Unsighted since that Avondale Cup run, Jacksstar wasn’t amongst the favoured brigade for Saturday’s contest despite his liking for his home track and the Good3 surface on offer.
Handled superbly by rider Chris Johnson the hardy son of Zed capitalised on a perfect run in transit to outstay his main challenger, Sampson, over the final 200m to rack up his seventh career victory.
Trainer Gary Vile was struggling to keep his emotions in check as he outlined what the horse had been through over the last two years.
“That’s as good as it comes,” Vile said.
“To get this horse back after where he was two-years ago is unbelievable.
“He was spot on for the Auckland Cup (March 2019) after pulling a shoe in the Wellington Cup, where he pulled up sore.
“The Avondale Cup run was terrific but then he got a bit of a knee complaint.
“Through my vets, Vivienne (partner Vivienne Kaye) and my staff, we got him here.”
Vile candidly admits there is no love lost with his charge, who can prove a handful around the stable.
“He’s not really (a stable favourite), he’s a horrible horse,” he said.
“He’s a really hard horse to train but he’s one of the better ones.
“His work had been great and he’s a true-blue stayer who likes a good track.
“He will go to the Hawke’s Bay Cup now and that will be his lot.”
The Listed Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m) is the feature event at Hastings on April 13.
The victory has taken Jacksstar’s career record to seven wins from 39 starts and over $332,000 in stakes earnings. – NZ Racing Desk
"Jacksstar back in the winners' circle"— TAB Racing (@TAB_Racing) March 30, 2019
The Gary Vile-trained Jacksstar ($14.10) sweeps home from near-last at the turn to take out the Group 2 City Of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup at the expense of Sampson and a brave Authentic Paddy pic.twitter.com/lUwJGAoUPC