This time two weeks ago Matamata trainer Andrew Scott was in Brisbane when he received the tragic news of the death in a traffic accident of his father, popular Horowhenua horseman Jack Scott.
Having joined his family in Foxton on Monday to farewell their 91-year-old patriarch, Scott headed back to Brisbane today hoping to honour his father in the best way possible.
The day after his father’s death, Scott saddled up Dark Destroyer, who he trains in partnership with Lance O’Sullivan, for second in the Gr.2 Queensland Guineas (1600m).
On Saturday the Proisir gelding steps up to a middle-distance in the Gr.3 Rough Habit Plate (2143m) in what will be his final lead-up to the Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) on May 28.
An hour earlier on this side of the Tasman, Scott will also have an eye on one his father’s last winners, Tramore, as he also bids to go one better than his last-start second when he lines up for new trainer Matt Dixon in the final race at Hawera.
That narrow Wanganui defeat was an emotion-charged occasion, just a day after Jack Scott’s death, and nothing would satisfy Andrew Scott and many others for one or both of (Saturday)’s starters to win.
“Tramore did Dad proud when he went so close at Wanganui and it would mean so much if he was to win this weekend,” Scott said.
“The same goes for Dark Destroyer, that would mean a lot to me personally.
“We were very happy with the way he hit the line in the Queensland Guineas and now the Rough Habit is the natural stepping stone to the Derby.
“But like everyone else heading that way, we hadn’t counted on the increase in distance (from 2000m) which has been forced by the transfer of the Doomben meeting to Eagle Farm.
“They did it for the right reasons, with the weather like it has been, and the good thing is that we’ll have a much better track across the road than we would have had at Doomben.
“He’s handled soft ground when he won the Bonecrusher Stakes at Matamata back in December, and it was just a shame that we had to miss the New Zealand Derby, so it’s good to have the chance at another one.”
The blue and white Archer Equine Investments colours will also be carried by the O’Sullivan/Scott-trained Amano in the Gr.3 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup (2200m).
“His last two runs have been a little below his best, but we’re happy with him and just hope that with way less weight on his back than he has been carrying lately, he’ll be hitting the line at the finish.”
The Scott family have taken immense satisfaction from the tributes that have flowed since his father’s death, recognising someone who was one or racing’s well-liked battlers.
“Dad was one the good, genuine guys of the racing game, he gave all of us kids stockmanship and horsemanship, which was the foundation to making our own way in the world.
“His funeral earlier this week was a celebration of someone who everyone liked; there was a great turnout of CD racing people and then the next day to see the whole front page of the Manawatu Standard dedicated to Dad, that was just great.”
Jack Scott was a later starter in training ranks, taking out his licence at age 60 after he had already stood a number of stallions at stud.
“He got involved in that side of the industry long before he got his trainer’s licence,” Scott said.
“Stallions he stood included the good local gallopers Flying Crest, Counsel and Ragham, plus the English-bred horse Retained.
“He sired Sirtain, who Maree Lyndon won the (1982) New Zealand Cup on, then there was the (1979) Doomben Cup winner Waitangirua and he was also the dam-sire of that very good jumper Rand.
“Dad might have been a late starter to training, but he had his successes, and to train something like 50 winners from age 60 to 91, I’d say he did pretty well.”
– NZ Racing Desk