How bloody good is On A Promise.
The Brett Robb-trained six-year-old has continued his remarkable rise through the country racing ranks, having gone from contesting non-TAB and picnic races, to winning multiple races on the country TAB circuit and landing the prized NSW Picnic Racing Association $50,000 Picnic Champion Series final at Coonamble earlier this month.
On Sunday, under the guidance of Clayton Gallagher, the Shrapnel gelding capped off a stellar preparation, winning his fifth race from as many starts when taking out the $40,000 Baradine Cup.
“He is going well this prep – I couldn’t have him any better,” Robb said after the win.
“Going into that race (at Coonabarabran), it’s the best I’ve had him. Since that run at Coonamble, he had come on a lot, he was bucking out of his skin.
“I rode him last week, and I came back and told Maddy (Wright), and I said, ‘If he is ever going to win a good race, it will be this week’.”
It what would have been a thrill to the ownership group, Robb said most of On A Promise’s connections were on hand to watch him salute in the Baradine Cup, with the afterparty continuing back in Dubbo on Sunday night.
“Nearly all of the owners came to the race and watched, and we had a big night in Dubbo last night and I woke up with a bit of a headache,” Robb laughed.
“Those owners have been great, and they have made my life easier. They have told me to take him where I want, take as long as I want with him, and put whoever I want on him.
“There have been no ifs or buts with them, and I think that has helped the horse, because he is a big horse, and he needed some time.
“It was good win for David (McFadyen) who owns him too. He hasn’t been feeling too well and he couldn’t get there for the race, but he has been one of the main organisers and I know the win meant a lot to him.”
Robb believes On A Promise and the rest of his in-form stable have blossomed following a move from Nyngan to Dubbo earlier this year, and the numbers don’t lie, with his stable currently ranked second in Country NSW, registering 14 ½ wins since August 1, sitting only 3 ½ wins behind the formidable Kris Lees stable.
“It is a good set up for horses out here. I can give them a run and put them in a paddock for three or four days and they thrive on it,” Robb said.
“On A Promise loves it. Same as old A Magic Zariz. I’ll put him in the paddock for a couple of days, then send them out to the walker water (at Tophut Equine) for a couple days and it refreshes them.”
Robb is a big supporter of the picnics and community meetings, and he explained that it helped being based at a major track like Dubbo, but close enough to so many picnic and non-TAB venues.
“We love the picnics. Me and Maddy do that a lot with horses, if they are out of form, we take them to the picnics and if they can win a couple, they find that form and can step up again.”
With Robb and his team firing on all six cylinders, the Dubbo trainer also praised go-to jockey, Clayton Gallagher.
“It helps having Clayton in the stable. He comes down every second Tuesday and Thursday and rides for us and he is in good form,” Robb said.
“He did his apprenticeship out with dad (Rodney Robb), and he did a lot of education and breaking-in with me out there.
“He is good on those ones that are a bit nervy and a bit mad and he is really handy to me because you can throw him on anything, and you can put him on good horse, and he still rides a good race.”
Robb will hope he can combine with Gallagher for more success with On A Promise in the near future, with connections already eyeing their next target.
“I’m going to give him an easy week, take him to the water walker for a good five days, and just give him a freshen up,” Robb said.
“I was going to take him to the Cotton Cup at Warren over the 1600m, but I think it could be a bit too long for him in that grade, but in a month’s time there is a 1300m Open Handicap at Narromine and that’s where we will go.”