Owner-trainer Ronald Broomhall is breaking new ground personally, and thinks he is on the right track as he attempts a first-up win with Elkay Star in the $17,000 Coca-Cola Cup (1206m) at Port Macquarie’s TAB twilight meeting today.
Elkay Star, in career best form and the early second favourite, will be having his first start since scoring a runaway win at Port Macquarie on November 16.
It was after that win that Broomhall said he was going to try something different in setting Elkay Star for this race.
And so far, the trainer says, everything has gone to plan.
“Originally I was going to put him in the paddock for a short break then bring him back for this race but then I realised there was not enough time,” Broomhall said.
“Instead he spent each day in a big paddock I have at home, I kept the grain up to him and put him in his box each night.
“He has thrived and the benefit he derived from the break showed in his trial last month which he won under a tight hold. I saw a friend of mine do this twice in setting a horse for specific races.
“He won both times so I decided to see if it would work for me. So far, so good.
“My horse’s feed intake has gone up, his work has improved with every gallop and I am confident he will run a big race.”
Broomhall had toyed with the idea if originally naming the horse Billy the Buck Jumper.
“Reg Rowley bred the horse and said I could have him if I broke him in, got him to the races and gave him half the prizes money from his first win,” Broomhall said.
“The breaking in part was the biggest challenge.
“He is not a very big horse but when he got it into his head that he wanted you out of the saddle he would not stop bucking until he had you on the ground. One morning over at the 800 metres he put Pietro Romeo on the ground three times.
“He had me on the ground as well and I wasn’t even on his back.
“It is that fighting quality though that makes him the horse he is. He gives 100 percent then finds another 20 percent after that.”
Broomhall and four other local trainers, John Sprague, Bob Graham, Neil Godbolt and Terry Walshe would seem to have the race between them, according to the early markets.
The Sprague trained Satan’s Chariot, a runaway winner at his only two local starts since coming from Victoria, is the favourite followed by Elkay Star, the Graham trained Sir Will Do, the Godbolt trained Speeding To Win and the Walshe trained Shadow Rein.
Sir Will Do is resuming from a spell but won first up here last time in and his six starts that campaign produced three wins and three seconds. Graham capped off the horse’s preparation with a trial at Wauchope on Boxing Day which he won.