Sol Invictus and Jay Abernethy get the spoils at Alexandra Park. Photo: Trish Dunell.
A win at ‘headquarters’ seemed a million miles away for Sol Invictus just a couple of months ago.
In February it was approaching four years since the veteran square-gaiter had last won at a metro track and he was battling around Palmerston North for former trainer Michael House.
He was unable to win in eight starts at Manawatu for House – quite unbelievable given his remarkable record at that track this season.
But on Friday night, at Alexandra Park, that was forgotten when the son of Sundon got the measure of Galleons Victory in deep stretch to score a $17,000 race win.
He’s now trained and owned (on lease) by Papakura trainer Jay Abernethy, who says he took him home from Palmerston North in February when House virtually refused to take the horse back to Christchurch.
“He asked me if wanted to take him on a deal; I hadn’t really been looking for another horse but I’d just turned a few out, so I agreed.”
Some encouraging runs at the next Manawatu meeting, followed by two more at the next one off 60 and 70-metre handicaps, led to a grass win at Hawera and then a strong outing on premier night (April 20).
The key to his rejuvenation, Abernethy reckons, has been a bit of variety and a preference for running clockwise.
“He’s been on the hydro treadmill, raced in a few montes and bits and pieces.
“But he’s 100 times better right-handed.
“He doesn’t wear anywhere near as much as the gear he needs left-handed.”
Abernethy was fairly confident off the front mark this week, a legacy of only getting six rating points for the Hawera win.
“He’d been good in most of his races since I got him and I thought he went really good on premier night; he found the line well.”
It will get a whole later harder for the horse now as he was reassessed nine points up to 77 for the win.
“Being a $17,000 race, I’m picking they’ll give him a fair few points. The handicapper won’t be so kind to him.”