The John Bateman-trained pair OUTAHAND and THE BLUESMOBILE will be out to highlight the virtues of patience when they race at Wagga on Saturday.
Most trainers would have given up hope on the lightly-raced geldings long before Bateman unlocked their potential.
Indeed, OUTAHAND didn’t have his first race start until he was five, but the wait was worth it for connections as he ran a bold third at odds of $101 at Goulburn last month.
By Bateman’s admission, OUTAHAND was simply unable to cope with the rigours of training as a younger horse.
“He was just too immature and couldn’t handle work,” Bateman said.
“He’d go off his tucker and lose weight as soon as we got him up to three-quarter pace.
“So the owners have been very patient.”
OUTAHAND’s race career was further delayed by serious illness but Bateman believes the gelding’s health is now as good as ever.
“He was a bit crook when he was young and its taken a long time to get him right but he’s certainly improving all the time,” Bateman said.
“I wouldn’t have started him the other day unless I thought he was going to race well.
“And I think he’s going to run another strong race on Saturday.”
Similarly, THE BLUESMOBILE has been a late bloomer for the stable. The son of RESET took until April of his three-year-old season to get to the races but showed steady to improvement to win at his fourth start.
Since returning from a winter spell, THE BLUESMOBILE has undergone a physical and mental transformation according to Bateman.
“He’s been different horse this time in. Ever since he came back into work he’s been more manageable, mature and stronger,” he said.
“He’s come to hand pretty quick, last time he was very fat and we couldn’t get the weight off him.
“He still can’t win a jumpout but he saves his best for raceday and I expect him to run a race a fresh.”
Bateman concedes that the 1300m trip will likely be too short for the four-year-old but has high hopes for him later in the campaign.
“I’m not sure if he can win but he’s pretty fit and will be doing his best work late,” he said.
“Ideally I will step him up to 1400m on his home track on November 2 and then target a mile highway race at Kembla on November 23.”
Kacie Adams rides both horses on Saturday.