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Murray Baker’s three-year-old colt Long Jack showed real signs of improvement at Geelong on Wednesday claiming the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) on the way to next month’s Victoria Derby (2500m).
A disastrous start at Flemington three weeks ago put the colt by So You Think’s future in some doubt, but with Damian Lane in the saddle and the blinkers on, Long Jack was one cool customer.
Nothing came easy stepping up beyond 2000m for the first time, especially with race-favourite Relucent enjoying the run of the race one off the fence. Lane timed his run perfectly down the straight, however, exploding through a late gap to win by three-quarters of a length.
Fans that have followed Long Jack during his campaign will be well aware of his temperament. Long Jack had to be re-saddled twice last start at Flemington, making Wednesday’s result a big win moving forward.
“He’d been a lot more settled in his track work since his last run, obviously the blinkers have helped as well. He presented a lot better in the mounting yard than he did at Flemington as everyone knows, that allowed him to conserve some energy and finish the race off,” Lane said afterwards.
There was plenty of speed early on Wednesday, but Long Jack let down nicely rounding the bend to finish the field off. Now, the plan moving forward is to target next month’s $2 million Victoria Derby on November 2, although Murray Baker still thinks the best is yet to come.
“He’ll be in the Derby, but whether he can win or not? We think he’s a good horse but he’s probably three or four months away from it,” Baker said after the race.
Long Jack has firmed from $34.00 into $16.00 ahead of the 2019 VRC Derby as he hopes to become the first horse to complete the Geelong Classic-Victoria Derby double since it was first run in 1999.
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