European stayer Lord Lumberjack has tasted his first success in Australian with a victory at Morphettville on Saturday.
The lightly raced six-year-old, started his career in France before coming to Melbourne and being trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.
On debut in Australia, the gelding by Kamsin finished second behind Aurum Spirit – in a dead-heat with Dodging Bullets – at Flemington and looked set for a big campaign, however he put in three disappointing performances after that run.
With those lacklustre performances, Lord Lumberjack was sent to South Australian-based trainer Michael Hickmott.
“The horse just wasn’t settling into the environment over in Melbourne,” Hickmott said.
“Credit to Trent Busuttin, Trent actually suggested to send the horse over to me and get him out of that environment.”
Hickmott looked at the program and decided that although an unconventional approach, the 1950m first-up appeared to be the right race to step out in.
“I had a good chat to my brother and he provided me with some good points about how to make the European horses race over 2000m first-up,” Hickmott reflected.
While Hickmott was confident that the six-year-old would put in a bold showing first-up, he also had to convince leading South Australian jockey Jamie Kah.
“I think Jamie was a bit worried about the 1950m first-up,” Hickmott said post-race.
“I said don’t panic, I’ll put the miles into his legs.”
Once accepting the ride, Hickmott could only praise the preparation put in by Kah and her ride on Saturday.
“She watched all of his French replays, which is why she’s the leading rider in South Australia,” he said.
“She knew how to ride him and it was a 10-out-of-10 performance by her once again.”
Hickmott put the staying contingency in South Australia on notice, saying that the six-year-old still has plenty of improvement to come.
“He’s not even half fit, we’ll aim towards the Adelaide Cup now.”
With the Adelaide Cup scheduled for March 12, Lord Lumberjack will have plenty of opportunities to impress over the summer.