The interminable bond between racing and Rugby League continues on Saturday on the big stage for both codes as highly consistent TAB Highway galloper Iron Will returns for an episode as strong as it gets at Royal Randwick.
Trained by series original Tash Burleigh at Goulburn, Iron Will is raced by a syndicate managed by New Zealand Warrior’s coach Andrew Webster, hot favourites at home against the Newcastle Knights later that same afternoon.
Iron Will opened a value $9 but is now into $8 on TAB.
That’s compared to the Warriors at $1.52 in just a two-horse race. But Karma could hardly be more positive in both camps.
Iron Will is a front-runner with consistency personified into a $120,000 Class 3, 1000m with 60kg for Billy Owen who has won all three races on him.
Meanwhile, Iron Will’s race is a support to another superlative day of Group 1 racing a headquarters.
And with barrier rise for the second event a few hours before the league kick-off in New Zealand, doubtless Webster will tune in.
Webster’s racing and syndicate links were formed early career when he was an assistant at the Wests Tigers and Penrith after playing in Balmain junior rep teams.
Iron Will was a bargain buy yearling for them at just under $5000 and with three wins, including a TAB Highway and two placings, the Panzer Division protégé has earned over $170,000.
And certainly, more to come with his genuine speed and tenacious consistency.
“Before Andrew moved over there to coach, he put together a syndicate of family and mates, hoping to get a country grade horse and go to bush meetings for a racing and a golf day,” Tash explained.
“Well for under five grand they certainly got far more than they’d bargained for. Some of them are from Wagga and Cowra.
“I’m not sure the time difference [NZ is 2 hours ahead of Sydney] but I’m sure Andrew will find a spare minute to watch the race – he loves him.
“Just so cool, they’ve got so many thrills and enjoyment, same as the trainer. He’s won three and more to come, just a tough tenacious little fella is “Derrick” (Iron Will).
“He’s got some tricks this boy, a Derrick by name and by nature,” Tash chuckled.
Aptly named is Iron Will, travelling as well as the Warriors this season with a home final.
“We love his heart and toughness, just 110% trier every time. We’ll get all of that that again Saturday.
“From the good draw, he leads or puts himself in the race with a sit.
“We thought about a claim when he got the 60kg but decided to stay with Billy (Owen), the loyalty factor, and because Billy knows him so well.
“Knows his quirks and tricks and gets him out and travelling.“
While Tash is outnumbered by the bigger Highway stables of Dunn, Crockett and Singleton, Iron Will is value.
On pace and taking bad luck or pilot error out of the equation. After drawing barrier 15 last start, Iron Will had to be used up wide, managed to find the lead and was beaten only in the last strides by the Danny Williams-trained Wizard of Oz.
Previously he led to win a Class 3 episode at headquarters with 56.kg.
The Cavanough impressive dual winner Once Again My Girl who contested a Listed race last prep is the $4 TAB favourite marginally ahead of Matthew Dunn’s Derry Grove at $4.20.
The latter securing a Kosciuszko start on the strength of a highly impressive Highway win last month with 59.5kg.
Derry Grove rises to 61kg from barrier 10 again with Nash Rawiller and could start favourite at barrier rise.
– Racing NSW