Eight-year-old maiden eyes winning return at Warren after 900 days

Listen To The Band, pictured here racing at Wellington in June of 2020, will return to the races after 894 days at Warren on Friday for Dubbo trainer Clint Lundholm. Photo: Racing Photography.

They say patience is a virtue, and for Clint Lundholm and connections of maiden galloper Listen To The Band, they will be hoping that adage rings true at Warren on Friday. 

The eight-year-old hasn’t been seen at the races since July of 2020, and he will return from an 894-day spell when jumping from gate one in the 1000m Maiden Handicap. 

Previously trained by Gayna Williams, the Tickets gelding has started three times, finishing second at his first two race starts at Wellington and Bathurst before running fifth at Mudgee. 

After a short spell, and 20 weeks later, Listen To The Band came out and won a trial at Cowra, but that’s where his story stops with Williams.

Lundholm didn’t know a whole lot about the gelding until he arrived at his yard, and it has been a real road back to the races for the lightly raced galloper.

“I don’t know a great deal about the horse before he got to me, but he turned up at my stables a bit over six months ago, and he had a couple of bone chips and I honestly thought they were going to retire him,” Lundholm said. 

“They wanted to do the surgery, and we got it done and we have brought him back, and here he is ready to go to the races.”

Listen To The Band successfully trialled at Dubbo earlier this month, finishing first of seven over 860m, and he did enough to suggest he can win a few races. 

“He won his trial, and the second horse was Transplant, which is a horse we recently bought, and she looks to be a pretty handy type, and he was able to keep her at bay, so we were really happy with the run,” Lundholm said. 

“It was a bit of a hot day, and we were worried with how hard he had trialled, but he pulled up well, and when I saw this race at Warren, I thought it was the ideal sort of race to kick-off his preparation.”

Lundholm believes the old stager is ready to run a bold race first-up, and while he will be better for the run, the Dubbo trainer won’t be surprised if he wins. 

“Obviously I think he will be better for the run, but we are taking him there thinking he is a winning chance,” Lundholm said. 

“He is forward enough even though it has been 900 days between runs, and he draws a nice gate, and we have a quality jockey is Jake (Pracey-Holmes) on board.

“He is a nice horse, and I would like to get a return for the owners, so if we can knock of his maiden, that’s great, but I really think he can progress and win a few races if we can keep him sound.”

Lundholm travels to Warren on Friday with a team of six engaged, and Pracey-Holmes will take four rides for the stable, while apprentice Hollie Hull takes two rides. 

In fact, Pracey-Holmes has been working with the Dubbo yard of late, and Lundholm hopes the burgeoning relationship can continue to yield good results. 

“Jake has been coming over and riding work for us for a month or so since Mudgee has been out of action,” Lundholm said. 

“He is coming across for fast days, and it works out really well having a leading hoop riding horses during work that wants to stick with them on race day.”

Lundholm believes Listen To The Band is his best chance of a winner at Warren, but he also rates the chances of Obey in the 1000m Benchmark 50 Handicap. 

Hull is on board for the three-kilogram claim, meaning she will only be carrying 57.5kg when beginning from gate 13.

“Obey is well-placed. The kid is on board, and from the outside barrier, she will find a nice position and get a good run into the race, and she should go pretty close,” Lundholm said. 

It is a big twilight meeting for Warren, with Santa coming to visit, and for full fields, readers can click here

Warren tips, trials, and tribulations

Race One: 9 Sallista – $7

Funny old maiden to kick off proceedings, but happy to go with this experienced mare that is never too far away in her races. 

She draws nicely with gate one, Choc Cavallo is on board, and she is fit. If she’s going to win one, this is the race. 

Race Two: 1 Listen To The Band – $4 (Best Bet)

This lightly raced eight-year-old is first-up after nearly 900 days, but there is money about, so it could pay to follow. 

He raced well during his only preparation, nearly winning at Wellington and Bathurst back in 2020, and he recently won a trial at Dubbo.

He’s drawn nicely and it will be interesting to see how he travels first-up, but the trainer is confident of a strong showing.

Race Three: 7 Inferno Miss – $7.50 (Best Value)

From a strong yard and she gets in nicely in this grade and with the inside draw. 

Has only won the one time in 20 starts but she is never far away, and on paper, she looks very hard to beat.

Race Four: 1 Chowdah – $3

He should get a nice sit in behind the pace after settling from the outside draw, and there appears to be a bit of pace on the inside. 

A mile will suit, and he is never far away. 

Race Five: 3 Not Negotiating – $7.50

This is without a doubt the toughest race to pick on the program, with a handful or more of winning chances going around.  

This mare has been racing in tougher company and given that there will be a bit of pace up front, the field could spread out, and if that happens, she will get every chance to run over the top of them. 

Race Six: 3 Planet Ex – $4.40

This is the right grade and distance for this galloper, and if given a good run in transit, he will be hard to beat.  

Race Seven: 6 Princess Factor – $11

Bit of a value play here to finish the Warren card. She gets a nice draw, the two-kilogram claim means she will be carrying nothing (54.5kg), and on her best form, she is right in this race.