I’ve Bean Tryin’ delivers Matthew Kelley career-defining victory in wild card qualifier

Matthew Kelley and Ellen Hennessy combined at Goulburn on Friday as I’ve bean Tryin’ won the $150,000 southern wild card Country Championships qualifier. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Young trainer Matthew Kelley won the biggest race of his short training career at Goulburn on Friday with I’ve Bean Tryin’ (Ellen Hennessey, $9) taking out the $150,000 southern wild card Country Championships qualifier.

The Canberra galloper has now compiled an impressive record of 12 starts for five wins and three minor placings, earning connections just shy of $200,000.

In the big field, he was strong to the line for Hennessy, beating the Tash Burleigh-trained To The Nines (Shaun Guymer, $9) by 0.28 of a length, while in third and 0.67 of a length back was the Ron Stubbs-trained Tap ‘N’ Run (Tyler Schiller, $7.50). 

It was an impressive effort considering what turned out to be a tough run for the four-year-old. 

“I was feeling good; he’s always got a pretty strong last furlong in him,” Kelley said after the win. 

“We did it a little tough, and a little bit ugly. We drew deep, and we were three wide with a little bit of cover for a fair bit of it, but I said to Ellen, I felt like the middle of the track was running a little bit better than everywhere else.

“He’s definitely been a horse (that’s better) when he gets a clear go at them and when he’s not being impeded and cut-off, and it was a good run under the circumstances and it’s a bloody good feeling.”

A Cooma product, who learned his trade under the watchful eye of his father and fellow trainer David Kelley, Matthew kicked his career off with a bang last year, and coincidently it was I’ve Bean Tryin’ that delivered him his first win at Wagga on June 14. 

Since then, he has seemingly trained winners for fun, but even he admitted this was a huge accomplishment for not only him, but his family too. 

“There’s no doubt about it; this is the biggest race I’ve ever been associated with, let alone training one, and it’s a pretty big moment,” Kelley said. 

“I just kind of pin my ears back and go, and don’t look at the stats that much, but we’ve had a fair few winners for not that many runners.

“We just do our best, and place them right, and hopefully the results come after that. 

“I obviously learned a lot from people along the way like my father, and mum and dad; they’ve always supported me, and to be where I am now, without that, I’ve pretty much got nothing.

“All my other family at home, and my grandparents, they are always sitting at home watching me, and this is as much a big win for them as it is for me.”

With I’ve Bean Tryin’ now destined for thew $500,000 Country Championships final at Royal Randwick on April 1, Kelley won’t be changing anything up over the next two weeks.  

“Just like we always do with him, we’ll just keep him on his feed, keep him happy, and he doesn’t gallop much at home; he knows how to gallop,” Kelley said. 

“He is a really lightly-framed little horse, and we don’t knock him around and there’s lots of swimming, and that seems to do the trick for him.”

Kelley was left to find a new hoop for I’ve Bean Tryin’ on Friday after Quayde Krogh was left indisposed after he was involved in a fall at Wagga on Thursday.

Luckily enough for connections, Hennessey had ridden him before, with the pair having combined to win a Highway Handicap at Royal Randwick in July of last year.   

“He’s tough as nails that horse, isn’t he,” Hennessy said after the win.

“I always had a fair bit of faith in him, and look with that barrier, we just had to settle. We had a bit of cover, but we were still three wide, but it was a very tough run and once he spotted the horse in front, he chased it down as quick as could.

“He is a very, very tough horse, he knows how to race well, and I’m super happy for Matt getting him in The Championships.”

It remains to be seen who will partner I’ve Bean Tryin’ in the final, but Kelley definitely has a decision to make as the stable embarks on what will be a very exciting and nerve-racking two weeks.  

For results from Goulburn click here

The northern wild card qualifier will be run and won at Scone on Sunday and for the field click here.