Hobart Jones Hopes for More Luck in Lee Steere Classic 2014

Smart grey colt Hobart Jones had no luck at Ascot Racecourse last time out, something his Lark Hill-based trainer Vernon Brockman hopes changes in this Saturday’s 2014 Lee Steere Classic.

On Railway Stakes Day, November 22, the So Secret three-year-old was beaten two lengths when a luckless sixth with a big 60kg to carry behind the winner Liberty’s Gem in the Listed Placid Ark Stakes (1200m).

He was caught three-wide for the majority of the run and just didn’t have the zip to get through with the big weight on his back.

That followed a nice first-up third when only half a length off Crown Lawyer at the same track and distance in a non-black type form November 8 – jockey Ryan Hill aboard for both runs.

Hill has been in the saddle for all but one of Hobart Jones’s eight career starts that have produced a trio of wins and four minor placings.

The Placid Ark is the only time the up-and-comer has finished out of the money, Brockman confident he can return to form in the $150,000 Group 3 Sir Ernest Lee Steere Classic (1400m) on Saturday where the set weights conditions sees him drop back to an equal 56.5kg with the rest of the males in the field.

“This is the only race that suited him up to 1400m,” Brockman told Perth Racing.

Due to jump at 2:25pm (local) as Ascot Race 4 on Kingston Town Classic Day, this year’s Lee Steere Classic field features 10 three-year-olds with Hobart Jones to carry the number one saddlecloth from barrier seven.

“I’ll be disappointed if he’s wide for too long, and I’m hoping he will have cover for most of the race,” Bockman said speaking race tactics for Saturday.

Hill retains the ride looking for his first win on the galloper since riding him to back-to-back victories to kick off his career as a two-year-old back in December last Perth Summer Racing Carnival.

His autumn campaign consisted of four runs at Ascot for three thirds, including behind Prentice in the Group 3 WA Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in April when forced to race wide from the outside barrier 13 of 13 draw.

That followed on from his most notable start to date, a long neck win over Vitalism in the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) when Jason Brown had the ride.

The Lee Steere Stakes field is full of talent this summer and includes Simon Miller’s last start Placid Ark Stakes winner Liberty’s Gem and the Neville Parnham-trained runner-up Malibu Style.

After the Lee Steere Stakes Brockman said they would bypass all handicap races with Hobart Jones, future autumn racing plans still up in the air with the $400,000 Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) in April taken off the table.

“He will be very sparingly raced after Saturday, because he will get 60 kilos in a handicap and we don’t think he is a Derby horse,” he said.

“I’m not big on running three-year-olds against older horses so he will have a light three-year-old season.”

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