A horse bought for a bit of fun on the picnic circuit over the summer months is about to chase a fourth consecutive victory on the professional circuit.
After wins on country and provincial tracks at Moe, Cranbourne and Traralgon, Stanborough graduates to metropolitan company at Mornington on Wednesday in the Bayside Suzuki Summer Racing Handicap.
Country trainer Bob Beecroft says at 77 years of age, he bought Stanborough to get him out of bed in the mornings and to give him something to potter around with.
Having been around horses all his life, Beecroft said if Stanborough could have won a couple of races on the picnic circuit and recouped his sale price, he would have been satisfied.
But the three wins in succession have more than made up for any picnic successes and Wednesday’s race will be a defining one in the nine-year-old’s career.
“We have been lucky,” Beecroft said.
“The fields we’ve struck haven’t been overly strong and the day at Cranbourne the second horse should have beaten us, but he didn’t get out in time and we got away with it.
“Now that he’s not eligible for the picnics anymore we’ll just poke around with him.
“He’s in that race at Mornington which is probably the strongest field he’s been in and that will test him, but we’ll see just how far advanced he is.”
Beecroft says he’s not getting overly ambitious with Stanborough and will happily drop him back to country grade if he doesn’t measure at Mornington.
“Around Christmas time we’ll look for a few smaller country races,” Beecroft said.
“There’s no use flying too high because he’s too old.
“He tries hard and he does his best and that’s all we can ask of him.”
Beecroft says as Stanborough has reached full fitness his job now is keeping him mentally fresh.
As part of the maintenance the gelding barely visits the track between races and spends time at the beach.
That regime has worked with Stanborough adding around $38,000 prize money to his record since joining Beecroft in June.
“We thought if we could win a couple of picnic races with him we’d get our money back, but he’s definitely done a lot better than that,” Beecroft said.