Spackman’s youngster ‘pulls their pants down’ on debut

Wagga trainer Scott Spackman has proven to be very good at conditioning younger horses, most recently tasting success with Rocket Tiger, Mo Chara, and Smokin’ Cod. 

At Wagga on Sunday, Spackman unleashed another talented debutant in the Kooringal Stud Two-Year-Old Maiden Handicap (1200m), with the well-named Underpants proving too strong for his rivals.

Ridden by Josh Richards, the Va Pensiero gelding out of Dutiful jumped with them from gate four before settling in fifth and a little worse than midfield in the seven-horse field.

Turning for home, Underpants still had a bit to do. 

Still, as Sky Racing caller Anthony Manton described in the running, he ‘pulled their pants down right on the line’, with the 30/1 outsider edging the Clint Lundholm-trained Plenitude (Jake Pracey-Holmes, $8) in second, and in third was the Mitch Beer-trained Zipitalist (Jordan Mallyon, $6.50). 

Spackman never doubted his gelding’s ability, but he was concerned about his fitness leading into Sunday’s race. 

“I’ll tell you what I said to the owners, ‘this horse can gallop, and he is going to be a very good horse’, Spackman replied when asked if he went into the race confident. 

“I was a bit worried about it being his first-up run over 1200m, but we jumped him out on Tuesday, and he was very good, but you don’t know what to make of those jumpouts, but Josh was happy, and he’s done a bit of work with him, and it all worked out well.

“I trialled him last time in, and he trialled really good, but he was feeling his shins after the trial, and I gave him 6 to 8 weeks, and I got him straight back in, and the biggest issue was how fit he was.”

Spackman was thrilled with the nature of Underpants’ victory, which still did a lot wrong when storming home down the outside. 

“It was a good first-up win, and he was still looking around, and he’s got so much more improvement left,” Spackman said.

“For a young horse to leave the rail and come down the middle, they don’t do that; they normally have to follow the rail, and just how he won was so impressive.”

Regarding the unique name, it was a mixture of some tongue-in-cheek work by the owners and the simple fact that Spackman needed a name quickly leading into the gelding’s first trial back in February.  

“They had Duty Bound and something else down, and they put that name down for shits and giggles because one of the owner’s sons would use underpants for a swear word, and that’s how I understand it to have come about,” Spackman laughed.

“Plus, I wanted to trial him the next day, and we needed his name back as soon as possible, and it came in at 9.30am of the trial morning, and they let me put him in the trial.

“(Racing NSW steward) Liam (Martin) has to get a wrap; they don’t have to do that, but he was able to trial, and I wasn’t going to change his name after that.”

Brian Lawrence, The Light Horse Hotel manager in Murrumburrah, bred the gelding, and Spackman hopes this win means Dutiful will be in foal again soon. 

“He’s the only foal out of Dutiful, and the mare is sitting in the paddock empty, and I’ve been hounding Brian to breed with her again,” Spackman laughed.

“I reckon now I’ll be able to twist his arm.”

If he pulls up well after the run, Underpants will be back racing on his home track during next month’s Wagga Gold Cup carnival, with the 1200m Two-year-old Handicap the likely next target. 

“I’ll get him home and see how he is, but he’ll be going there if he is feeling good,” Spackman said.

It was a big day for the Spackman stable at Wagga, with Rocket Tiger breaking through for a drought-breaking victory in the $40,000 Wagga Town Plate Prelude. 

Ridden by Shaun Guymer, the four-year-old commenced nicely from gate five, and the pair finished with a bang when pulling away for a comfortable win over the six furlongs. 

It’s a well-deserved victory for connections, with the Cluster gelding winning as a two-year-old at Canberra and Royal Randwick before finishing second in the Group 2 Silver Slipper at Rosehill Gardens and third in the Group 3 Black Opal Stakes at Canberra in early 2021.

He went on to run in the Golden Slipper, but since then, he has battled niggling injuries, starting six times for one placing before Sunday’s breakthrough win.

He will now contest the $200,000 Wagga Town Plate next month.