He has plenty of Backbone

Jan 13, 2013

It was only a matter of time until the promising Backbone broke through for his first metropolitan victory and he did so in good style - finising on strongly to find the line gamely in the Straight Draw Handicap at Flemington on Saturday.

Having only his second run this preparation, the lightly raced four-year-old had caught the eye with a fast-finishing second over 1600m first up at Moonee Valley and he appreciated the step up to 1800m second up.

A horse always well regarded by the stable - Backbone, whilst not a city winner until Saturday, had won at stakes level - taking out the Listed Galilee Stayers Final at Mornington in April last year.

Thought highly enough of to subsequently contest the VRC St Leger (fourth) and the South Australian Derby (ninth), Backbone did not have the best of luck in those races but he has come back a stronger, more mature horse.

"He has been very dumb!" Michael Kent said of Backbone's immaturity to date - noting that the addition of blinkers to the gelding's gear have improved his racing style.

"He was more switched on today and he has come back a much better horse," he said, adding that "he will get a mile-and-a-half plus."

Hoping that Backbone will sneak a run into the Mornington Cup next time out, Kent is confident that he can prove competitive - "he'd be a nice lightweight chance," he said.

The Adelaide Cup or the Cups in Tasmania are also possibilities for Backbone, a son of Mossman and the Group 3 winning At Talaq mare Fuss.

Jockey Brad Rawiller agreed with Kent that Backbone has improved this time in.

"Physically he is a much better horse," he said, adding that "he is not far away from being the full package."

"I was happy to ride him to his rhythm today," he continued, "and at the 700m I had a lap full of horse so I thought it would be better to let him slide forward."

"And geez he was good! When he got challenged late he kicked again."

A $NZ240,000 Ready To Run Sale graduate, Backbone is raced by Mark & Janine Casey, Douglas McLennan, Sean Duke, Jana Kadlckova, Tabitha & Mike Tauschek, Glen Barker, Sean Priestly and Dr Adam Gay.

Glen Barker was one of the happy owners on course and he was all praise for his horse.

"He is just a lovely horse," he enthused - "and a very tough horse. He has been a bit of unlucky a couple of times and probably could've won a couple more races."

A long time racing fan who has been involved in ownership for the last four years, Barker is well and truly hooked - " it is a great feeling," he said - "such a rush!"