An off-grid jumpout at Kerang, in which Return With Reward blasted from last to first “like they were standing still”, has Nathan Hobson spoiling for an upset in the Elvstroem Classic at Swan Hill.
As long as the unraced two-year-old, rated a $31 chance with TAB, makes it to the barriers – unlike namesake Reward With Return in the corresponding $100,000 feature five years ago.
Hobson tried to debut Reward With Return in the 2016 Elvstroem, but the gelding got rid of the jockey on the way to the barriers, jumped a fence and went “home to the stable”.
“Hopefully it doesn’t happen with Return With Reward,” Hobson laughed.
“That was his (Reward With Return’s) debut, in a $100,000 race, jumped the fence and went home.”
Local trainer Hobson has 18 runners slated for the three-day Swan Hill carnival, starting Friday, including the veteran Reward With Return in a Benchmark 64 on Sunday.
As confusing as it is having two similarly-named horses, Hobson felt obliged to pay homage to his top money-earner.
Reward With Return, a $20,000 buy, has banked more than $325,000 prizemoney with 12 wins – two at The Valley – and 21 minor placings from 86 starts.
“He’s been such a good horse to me … thought we’ll keep (the name) very similar,” Hobson said.
“It’s been very confusing, even at the (Kerang) jumpout the race caller had to do his recording again because he was calling him Reward With Return instead of Return With Reward.
“I even had (RV handicapper) Greg Carpenter ring me one day because I put Return With Reward in the nominations at The Valley … he called asking, ‘Is this correct?’
Hobson paid $28,000 for Return With Reward at the Inglis Melbourne Premier sale last year, six weeks before older half-brother Khoekhoe won the auction house-restricted $1m Showdown.
The gelding was second-last, beaten 2.7 lengths, in an official Tatura trial last month.
But the covert Kerang effort has Hobson optimistic.
“He came from last and went straight past them like they were standing still,” Hobson said. “We’re the only first starter so might be lacking a bit of race experience, but see how we go.”
All About Eve ($1.85) dominates the TAB market from Castile ($4.20) and Cardigan Queen ($4.60). The three-day carnival will be staged behind closed doors because of uncertainty over Covid restrictions.
Rielly putting polish on Diamonds
Boutique Caulfield trainer Gemma Rielly has made a habit of conditioning a nice horse from limited stock – and Diamonds is of no exception.
The Victorian-bred three-year-old filly, transferred to Rielly last year after six starts in Adelaide, will step out in Saturday grade for the first time at Sandown Hillside.
Apart from being a model of consistency, winning twice in four starts and finishing no worse than last-start fourth, the Rich Enuff filly has further enhanced Rielly’s strike rate with young horses, particularly fillies.
Stakes-placed La Belle Jude put Rielly on the map, winning seven of 36 starts, along with Tarcoola Diva previously, but the 33-year-old is most excited about her current crop spearheaded by Diamonds.
Gemma Rielly is excited about Diamonds’ prospects at Sandown. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“We definitely think she’s 100 per cent a Saturday class filly and we’ll attempt to get some black type with her along the line,” Rielly said.
“She’s a really, really tough filly and suits my stable perfectly … she’s a bit of a bloke, I guess, a lot of those tough fillies are. Jameka was very manly, Black Caviar was very manly … a little bit colt-like.
“You train them a lot harder than some of those delicate fillies, she’s a really quality horse.”
Rielly, a former apprentice jockey whose career was cut short because of injury, branched out on her own five years ago.
She learned the ropes from trainers Lindsey Smith, Simon Miller and Mick Price.
“Mick’s a brilliant trainer, I’m a little bit more conservative than him because I don’t have the numbers, but I train the most like him,” Rielly said.
“Train them hard, feed them hard, if they’re good enough they’ll win.”
Diamonds is likely to have another two starts before a spell and look at potential late-spring campaign.
Ginibi, who went around in the Blue Diamond Prelude (fifth) and the Blue Diamond Stakes (last), will resume in the next fortnight, either at Geelong or Moe.
Originally published asTongue twisters: Hobson duo a racecaller’s nightmare
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