Exiht strategy delayed at Belmont

Ihtiram continued his climb up the Sunspeed table with another winner at Belmont on Wednesday.

Only Bletchley Park (10 winners) is ahead of Ihtiram (6 winners) after his veteran gelding Exiht broke a 16 month drought in the Sky Racing Hcp (2100m).

Exiht (8g Ihtiram – Homesville Lass by Higginsville) is a homebred for owner-trainer Johnny McGuckin.  “I was ready to retire him after an unplaced run here a fortnight ago,” McGuckin revealed.  “But Shaun (McGruddy) said he didn’t get out and deserved another chance.

“He was happy in front today and fought back really well in the straight.  Looks like I’ll have to keep getting up in the morning with him!”

Harvey-based McGuckin has an affinity with the Ihtirams winning a Listed Jungle Dawn Classic with his mare Zanella and city races with Exiht’s younger sister Mirrannon.

Ihtiram (Ire) started stud life at Wayandah Stud with the late Ray Cochrane where he sired champion mare Miss Andretti.  A stint at Oakland Park followed before a further move to the Walkaway property of Don Hammarquist earlier this year.

He commenced the current season on a winning note with Miss Andretti’s five year-old sister Peggie’s Dream.  The unbeaten mare claimed a Bunbury maiden in March and then resumed for a running double at Belmont on August 1 and 11.

“She’s got plenty of ability,” trainer Bruce Watkins said.  “But she’s had a wind operation and is a day-by-day proposition.”

Miss Andretti was 2007 Australian Horse of the Year after winning Group 1 sprints at Flemington (3), Moonee Valley (2) and the G2 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.  She has been nominated for the WA Hall of Fame and the inductees will be named on November 24.

Don Hammarquist is a large-scale pastoralist and operates Mount Augustus Station which covers one million acres in the Upper Gasgoyne.  Ihtiram (Royal Academy) and Eternity Range (Majestic Light) stand at his Walkaway property just south of Geraldton.

Miss Andretti’s sister wins at Belmont