From The Bush looked at home in the city on Monday when winning at Warwick Farm for trainer Gayna Williams.
Contesting the 1600m Benchmark 72 Handicap, Reece Jones was in the saddle with the two-kilogram claim, and after trailing the early leaders, Jones and the five-year-old finished with a strong burst, beating Queanbeyan galloper Island Bay Boy for Tony Sergi and Outlook for Brad Widdup.
“It really was a good win,” Williams said.
“We hadn’t had a lot of races to choose from with the carnival on in town and we had to try and time everything correctly and try and pick the right race, so he was competitive.”
The Bathurst galloper was well-supported into $3.60 favourite in the event, and while Williams isn’t generally one to spruik her horses’ chances, she went to Sydney confident that From The Bush would run a big race.
“I was a bit surprised (that he was favourite) to be honest,” Williams said.
“I had a radio interview that morning and spoke confidently about the horse, and I don’t usually rap my horses, but I thought he would handle the going because he has had five starts in the going for three wins and a placing.
“We were confident, and I was happy to be taking him down for that particular grade of race.”
In what was a tough event on paper, Williams believes the inside draw helped a lot, with Jones able to give the Poet’s Voice gelding a soft run.
“I thought it was a fair track, but the main influence on the result was the barrier draw,” Williams said.
“The fact we drew (gate) one was a huge benefit. Generally, he gets away from the gate pretty well and we thought he would have jumped and placed himself nicely, and that is what he did, which was a big plus.
“It might have been a bit harder for him to win if we were drawn out wider.”
Williams was full of praise for Jones, with the young jockey showing a lot of nous in the mile event.
“We don’t hold Reece or many other jockeys to any real instructions because anything can happen in a race, but Reece had an idea of where he wanted to be, and he ended up where he thought he would be,” Williams said.
“He does quite a bit of homework and he did his form and did have him in the correct spot, sitting in behind the pace, which worked out nicely.”
From The Bush is only lightly raced, starting 19 times for seven wins and five placings, earning connections just shy of $200,000 in prizemoney, and he made a name for himself in the country late last year, winning a TAB Highway before going on to win the Forbes and Bathurst Cups, while running second in the Narromine Cup and 5th in the Dubbo Cup.
“He may well be out weighted in a few of these country cups now, and we hoped he would make that next step up in town and he performed well on Monday,” Williams said.
Williams is now eyeing off the 1800m Benchmark 78 event at Hawkesbury on April 30, but the talented conditioner wasn’t in any rush to have her galloper racing with Saturday company just yet.
“We want to keep him in as lower grade as we can in town, without having to carry the grandstand,” Williams said.
“There are a few races to choose from, but my main concern is the weight he will have to carry.”
The Big Dance is in the back of Williams’ mind too, but again weight could be an issue if From The Bush was to be set for any upcoming country feature.
“We took advantage of those cups at the time because he was in fairly at the weights but now things might be a bit different,” Williams said.
“If somewhere along the line we want to head to The Big Dance, we know we will be up against stiff opposition, and this racing in town will have him ready for something like that.”
For the moment, Williams and connections will continue to target the right races, but the sky looks the limit for this talented galloper.