“YEAH he was a real wild child early on… A mean bugger.”
That’s the assessment of Len Hodgson, trainer of in-form gelding Asclpeius. The promising three-year-old has come along in leaps and bounds since his early Canberra days of 2009, when he galloped with a hasty temper and cheeky attitude. So far has he come, in fact, that he proved far too strong for a field of up-and-comers at Goulburn on Wednesday.
Ridden by the classy Kevin Sweeney, Asclpeius opened Hodgson’s day in ideal fashion, edging past the Terry Robinson trained Albana by a clear length. It’s been a remarkable transformation from temperamental foal to fully fledged runner.
“Mentally he’s progressed so much. He’ still strong willed but he’s finally learned what the racing caper is all about,” Hodgson explained.
The win began an afternoon of otherwise near misses for Sweeney, who rode Dubai Ruler to second for Nic Smith in race four and Alwaysavailable from the Phillip Courtney stable to third in the sixth of the afternoon. A modest albeit upbeat crowd converged on Goulburn for the eight-race fixture.
It proved a profitable afternoon for Warwick Farm trainer Guy Walter, who nabbed wins with Contemplation in race three and the Pastoral Care/Peter Robl duo not 30 minutes later in the fourth of the day.
Robl notched a second himself soon after, saluting onboard locally trained Riverwina Prince in a photo finish for Amanda Collins. Other winners on the afternoon included the Matthew Smith trained Canny Winsome, the John Grisdale ridden Bokarina and Luke Pepper’s Spirit Soul. Racing returns to Goulburn on April 29, before pausing for a month ahead of another meeting on June 1.
That month promises to be action-packed for the club, with meetings set down for June 1, 16 and 29.