Awesome Pluck threw down the gauntlet for the $500,000 NSW Country Championships with a significant victory at Port Macquarie on Friday.
Starting in the red, he literally turned the corner to mow down a Benchmark 68 field with something in hand. “He’s finally starting to relax and the drop back to 1000m helped,” local trainer Jenny Graham said. “He was up in grade but still had to carry 58.5kg – it’s very satisfying to see him settle off the speed and then finish it off.
Awesome Pluck had earned cheques at his last two runs when third and fourth at Randwick. “Hughie (Bowman) rode him down in Sydney and told us he was the sort of horse who needed cover. I gave him a solid gallop this week and kept filling up the feed-bin.”
The promising son of Vinery sire Pluck (USA) also impressed wily veteran Robert Thompson. “He jumped brilliant but I eased him back. I only needed to sneeze and he would have taken off – no risk.
“I actually had to give him a wake-up call to get going at the 400m. He’s still a big baby but there’s plenty of upside if he mends his ways.”
Awesome Pluck will be favoured when the first of 8 Country Championships heats is run at Port Macquarie on February 18. The first two home at his home track will be joined by fellow qualifiers at Goulburn, Mudgee, Wagga, Grafton, Scone, Dubbo & Muswellbrook in the $500,000 Final of the Country Championships at Randwick on April 7.
Wauchope businessman Dale Miller bought him for $68,000 from Vinery Stud at the 2016 Inglis Classic Sale. He’s the fourth and final winner from as many foals to race from Shackelite (Mossman).
Miller had knocked back offers from Hong Kong after Awesome Pluck’s runaway win on debut at Taree last June. Graham had plans to set him for the San Domenico Stakes-Gr.3 at Rosehill in August before he went off the boil.
Vinery sire Pluck (USA) is popular in Hong Kong with imports like last-start Challenge Cup winner Jade Theatre. And his top-class mare Life On The Wire will lead the locals in the Bow Mistress Trophy Gr.3 in Hobart this Friday night, February 9.
Pluck’s Hong Kong connection continues at the Inglis Classic Sale next weekend with his half-brother to recent HKJC Classic Mile Gr.1 winner Nothingilikemore (Lot 466). Vinery offers two Pluck fillies at the Classic Sale including a half-sister to Melbourne stakes winners Stokehouse and Malasun (Lot 513).