Grant Jobson’s star ready to shine in Hannam Vale Cup

The Grant Jobson-trained Imatruestar has been set for Taree’s Hannam Vale Cup on Tuesday. Image: Bradley Photos.

Grant Jobson hopes Imatruestar’s fantastic effort in the Group 3 Newcastle Stakes earlier this month will hold him in good stead for Taree’s Hannam Vale Cup on Tuesday. 

Racing at Newcastle in the $250,000 event, punters could have gotten around 200/1 for the five-year-old, but he kept finding for Alysha Collett and was only beaten around three lengths when finishing third to 2022 Big Dance champion, Rustic Steele.

“That was a massive run,” Jobson told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

“It was a huge thrill to see him run a good race, and he’s always shown us he’s got ability, but races haven’t always gone the way that suits him. 

“He had a wide gate, which wasn’t a worry because it meant he couldn’t get held up; he’s got that turn of foot that is a lot different from other horses, and in a good race, he ran out of his skin.”

The Star Turn gelding has raced in good company for most of his career. 

After breaking his maiden in fine fashion at Grafton in August 2021, Imatruestar was raced with the Country Championships in mind. 

He finished fourth to Swamp Nation in the $150,000 Mid-North Coast qualifier in 2022 when beaten less than a length. 

The following year, he ran second to Sir Ravanelli in the Tuncurry-Forster qualifier.

In the 2023 final, he battled through the heavy conditions to finish seventh, beaten less than four lengths by eventual winner Sizzle Minizzle.

A three-time winner, Imatruestar’s placed a further 13 times and earned connections over $210,000, and Jobson believes early success has been a double-edged sword for his talented galloper. 

“Just being so talented from a young age and running in good races, including the Country Championships, meant his rating went up quickly, and he’s carried weight in the country,” Jobson said. 

“It means we’ve been throwing him in the deep end in races because, in country races, a lot of horses go too quick, but in those bigger races, there’s a plan, and it’s worked out better for him, especially as he has carried less weight.”

Jobson said Tuesday’s Hannam Vale Cup was a stepping Stone to next month’s $150,000 Muswellbrook Cup and the $3 million Big Dance. 

“I was going to trial him because, in ten days’ time, I’m taking him to the Big Dance qualifier at Muswellbrook,” Jobson said. 

“Then I saw the field at Taree, and I know he has a bit of weight, but hopefully, we can give him a kill and a bit of confidence before Muswellbrook.”

Shae Wilkes—fresh from winning Saturday’s Narrabri Cup on Crowie’s Shout—will offer the four-kilogram claim, meaning Imatruestar will only carry 57kg in the $30,000 feature. 

At the time of publishing, the track was a heavy eight, which was Jobson’s biggest concern. 

“My only query for tomorrow is the track; the drier the better, but he’s a classy horse,” Jobson said. 

“He’s got a habit of not jumping, and a couple of jockeys we have used before have got him out of the gates. 

“Hopefully, Shae jumps him, and with three or four in it with a bit of speed, she should be able to slot him in somewhere. 

“If they can get a good run, he’s got that turn of foot coming into straight, and he should be right in the finish.”

While next month’s Muswellbrook Cup is Imatruestar’s Grand Final for this preparation, Jobson is looking ahead to some nice races. 

“To be fair to the horse, he will probably go to the paddock after Muswellbrook,” Jobson said. 

“Later on, when he comes back, there are a few nice races, and I don’t want to push him to the point where he is tired, so he’ll get a well-deserved break.”

The 34-year-old Taree-based trainer, who learned a lot of what he knows from his time with the late Bob Milligan, has four horses in work these days, and he mixes his time running a fabrication business and training horses.

He said he loves the early starts with his thoroughbreds and thanked those who helped him with his training. 

“I’ve got a fabrication business, but it is slowing up, and my horses are overtaking,” Jobson laughed. 

“I’ve had a lot of help, and my uncle George Tisdell has been amazing; he follows the horse everywhere, and because the horse can get a bit worked up, he’s spent hours and hours walking him, and he deserves a lot of credit,” Jobson said. 

“So do my staff and the riders; it’s not just me.”

It’s set to be a good program at Taree, with the eight-race card starting at 1:15 p.m. 

Taree Tips and free best bets 

Race 1: Mosgiel Daisy $5

Race 2: All Too Rosey $3.20

Race 3: Rum Diary $2.30

Race 4: 2 Pennart $1.70

Race 5: Cool Duke $8

Race 6: Imatruestar $3.80

Race 7: Just One Look $16

Race 8: Egotistic $9.50