Despite being last during the early stages of the Grafton Gas and Plumbing Jacaranda Cup, locally trained mare Tara Jasmine was in front where it counted.
Following a dominant performance in the Jacaranda Prelude two weeks earlier, the four-year-old daughter of Cowboy Blue extended her perfect record to six wins from six starts on her home track when she claimed the 1100m feature event of the Clarence River Jockey Club’s (CRJC) race meeting on November 3.
Sent out the short-priced favourite and carrying the top weight of 61kg, Tara Jasmine broke slowly from the barriers and settled towards the rear of the seven-horse field as prominent speedster Bel Academy assumed the lead and kicked strongly as the horses entered the home straight.
Under the urging of regular jockey Ben Looker, Tara Jasmine was forced to chase hard as Bel Academy continued to find for Raymond Spokes inside the last furlong.
But the mare’s courage and determination proved too strong as she lunged at Bel Academy to deny the gallant gelding victory by a long neck on the line as punters celebrated her hard-fought success.
During a post-race interview, winning trainer John Shelton said despite mucking up the start, Tara Jasmine relaxed during the race and really hit the line well.
“He (Looker) rode her really good today, she’s a good mare and she loves racing at Grafton,” he said.
Shelton confirmed he has picked out a fillies and mares stakes race at the Gold Coast in a few weeks for Tara Jasmine’s next start, adding he would look to get some weight relief for his emerging stable star.
“We’ll see how she pulls up, but she’s entitled to have a crack at it,” he said.
While he admitted to being cautious with 61kg on her back, Looker said Tara Jasmine continually races well on her home track.
“I didn’t want to pop three deep any sooner than I wanted with that 61kg,” he revealed.
“And when I popped three deep on straightening, Raymond Spokes’ horse (Bel Academy) gave a good kick and he’s a very good horse in his own right.
“I was definitely a bit worried, but to her credit, she’s all guts and class and she picked herself up off the ground.”
When asked if Tara Jasmine was feeling the weight or looking for longer distances, Looker said he always felt the mare was a 1400-1600m horse.
“I think she’s wanting further now,” he confirmed.