This story might seem a bit out of the ordinary – but rest assured it is no fabrication!
It’s about a young businessman well and truly bitten by the racing “bug” who has had only a dozen or so starters, and trains a promising young horse for whom he has Newhaven Park Country Championships aspirations.
Imatruestar is the only horse hobby trainer Grant Jobson currently has in work (his other, a filly named Miss Spontaneous, is spelling), and it seems fate played a strong hand in securing him the now three-year-old, who took another step toward gaining a start in the Mid North Coast heat of the Country Championships by winning at Taree yesterday.
Still a work in progress and having only his eighth start for his second victory (along with four placings), odds-on favorite Imatruestar ($1.70) overcame a slow start and some erratic running in the straight to power home in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1007m).
The Racing NSW handicapping panel subsequently lifted his benchmark rating from 59 to 63, increasing his chances of making the field for the $150,000 heat at Taree on February 20.
Jobson, 32, leads a busy life going to Taree racetrack early mornings before returning home to run his business Jobson Fabrications from his Rainbow Flat property near Tuncurry.
“It’s just as easy to go to Taree rather than Tuncurry for gallops as I have a couple of good work riders prepared to help me out,” Jobson said last night.
“At present racing is a nice side to the business, but I’m hoping one day I can train on a more professional basis.”
Jobson is no fly-by-night horseman, either.
“I have always loved horses,” he said. “I did bull riding in rodeos, and spent four or five years working with legendary Taree trainer Bob Milligan.
“If you asked Bob a question, he would always know the answer to help you out. I learnt so much from him.
“I took a different path after working with Bob, but never lost my passion for horses.
“There’s something about them. I enjoy the thrill of getting them ready, and Imatruestar is certainly giving us plenty of enjoyment.”
Jobson took out his licence about 18 months ago, and he and his partner Danielle Varrica decided to watch from home the October, 2020 Inglis Ready2Race sale (for early two-year-olds) in Sydney, hoping they could buy a nice horse.
“When this bloke came into the ring early in the sale (Lot 9), he really took our eye,” Jobson explained.
“We bid on him, but he went way above our budget and was passed in for over $40,000.
“As it turned out, they rang us the next day and asked if he we were still interested in buying him.
“Of course we were but replied that we couldn’t pay anything like $50,000. Fortunately, we were able to negotiate a deal and got him for $22,000.
“Danielle and myself race him with a good friend of ours Paul Branch from down Cessnock way. He has a small share and this is the first horse he has been in, and is over the moon.”
Jobson took Imatruestar (by four times Group 1 placegetter Star Turn) to Scone in December, 2020 for his debut with a view to running him there last May in the Inglis Challenge (1100m) at the Cup carnival.
“He played up like all hell that first day and still ran a bottler,” Jobson said. “I had him gelded after that.”
Imatruestar ran sixth to Artero in the $200,000 Inglis Challenge (beaten only two and a half lengths) at set weights and, after a break, began his three-year-old season by shedding his maiden status at Grafton on August 30, romping home by more than three and a half lengths.
Jobson knows the gelding still has plenty to learn, and is looking forward to the day when he puts it all together.
“As well as being slowly away at Taree, he shifted in when making his run in the straight then ducked out.
“It took ability for him to still win, and the penny hasn’t dropped yet. I’m sure we will have a really nice horse when it does.”
Jobson is uncertain whether he will start Imatruestar again before the Mid North Coast heat in a few weeks.
“It will depend on his progress and if it looks like he will get into the field on February 20, I may not run him in between,” he said.
“I don’t have a doubt about him running the 1400m.”
And that’s no lie, either!