Noble Joey has stepped up in distance to become the first qualifier for the Provincial Championship final at Randwick by holding off a fast-finishing Better Not Blue at Wyong.
The four-year-old gelding surged to the front the of 14-strong field from a wide barrier in the 1350m, $150,000 qualifying race, kicked on the turn when given free rein by jockey Kathy O’Hara and held challengers at bay to score by a short neck.
Although Better Not Blue flashed home out wide, O’Hara and co-trainer Luke Price were unconcerned as the post loomed.
“That horse finishing out wide, he didn’t really see it. He’s the type of horse that when he gets challenged he fights under pressure,” O’Hara told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“He loves a fight this horse. If the second horse was a bit closer he would have had a bit more of a kick there,” echoed Price, who trains with his father Robert at Kembla Grange.
“He’s a genuine Saturday city horse. He’s going to the next level now.”
Pre-race O’Hara was confident Noble Joey, who had never raced further than 1200m in his previous 15 starts, would go the distance and she proved on the money.
“They started to really bank up around me coming round the corner so I slipped him a little bit of rein and he extended really well,” she said.
“It’s really good to see him rewarded for his consistency. He’s been such an honest horse, it’s great to see him in the final.”
Favourite Princess Posh ran third, a long neck behind Better Not Blue with the first three qualifying for the $400,000 Provincial Championships final (1400m) on April 8.
The next Provincial Championships qualifier is at Hawkesbury on March 2. Gosford, Kembla Grange and Newcastle follow on March 15, 23 and 29 respectively.No tags for this post.