Two years on from a tendon injury that almost ended his career, Jacksstar scored a special home-track victory in today’s Gr. 2 City Of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup.
The Gary Vile-trained gelding suffered the injury in the closing stages of the 2017 Auckland Cup, in which he finished a gallant third. He had previously won the Gr. 3 Manawatu Cup and placed in the Wellington Cup and Marton Cup.
With a huge amount of time and effort, Vile and his team nursed Jacksstar back to health and brought him back to racing in November.
He has shown plenty of promise in his comeback campaign, headed by a strong-finishing sixth in the Manawatu Cup, third in the Marton Cup and fifth in the Avondale Cup, but has been thwarted by further setbacks.
“He pulled a shoe and pulled up sore when he was unplaced in the Wellington Cup, and then he had a bit of a knee complaint after his terrific run in the Avondale Cup,” Vile said. “It’s been a great effort by my vets and staff to get him here today.”
Jacksstar was back at the peak of his powers today. After sitting in midfield behind a keenly contested early pace, he surged into contention in the straight and fought off the quality galloper Sampson by a short neck. Outstanding veteran Authentic Paddy was another three-quarters of a length away in third.
“To get this horse back from where he was two years ago, and to do this, it’s unbelievable,” Vile said. “This is as good as it comes. I’m rapt – I really am.
“He’s a hard horse to train, but he’s one of the better ones. His work had been good leading into this, although Rock On’s had been better. But he’s just a true-blue stayer and loves a good track, and he got that today.
“He’ll carry on to the Hawke’s Bay Cup (April 13) and that’ll be it for him this season.”
Jacksstar completed a home-track Cup double for the season, having won the Gr. 3 Manawatu Cup in December with Rock On. That son of Road To Rock finished a close fifth in today’s race.