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By Graham Potter | Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Multiple Premiership winning trainer Tony Gollan likes to tell it as it is. If he is confident about the chances of one of his runners he says so. If he thinks there are obstacles one of his runners might have to overcome, he will tell you what he thinks they are.

Through all of that though, Gollan seldom gets ahead of himself … so when he gives a horse an extra plaudit which raises it above the norm … like saying, ’she is still up there as one of the best horses I have trained’ … it is worth paying attention.

Isotope has long since been given that hefty tick of approval from Gollan and we all saw why when the Deep Field mare made light work of her wide barrier draw before cruising home to a fine victory in the Magic Millions Snippets at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Gollan had pulled Isotope out of a scheduled run on January 1 in the Nudgee Stakes because of the heavy track, meaning that the four-year-old came into the race first-up off a nine months break.

Adding stress to that layoff was the fact that a good portion of Isotope’s time away was an enforced absence following what was, at very least, career threatening surgery following an attack of colic.

“What she had is called impaction colic. She got colic. There was a blockage and she required surgery to fix it,” Gollan said at the time.

Speaking just before the aborted Nudgee Stakes assignment, Gollan put Isotope’s progress at that time in perspective.

“She is a much happier horse now,” said Gollan. “I have had a beautiful prep with here. The time away has made her furnish into a really nice mare. She has done really well. I think she is still up there as one of the best horses I have trained. There is no reason, from what I am seeing post-op surgery, that is any different. She is actually a better horse now than she was.”

Gollan’s judgement call proved to be spot on. Taking all of the circumstances into account … Isotope’s win was exceptional.

Not only did Isotope return in stunning fashion, but she also set the record straight after the extreme disappointment the team suffered at the 2021 Magic Millions meeting when jockey Ryan Maloney was dislodged from Isotope just as she was looming into contention in that year’s edition of the Magic Millions Three-Year-Old Guineas.

Quite understandably then, Maloney rates Saturday’s win as one of the most satisfying of his career.

“One hundred percent, it was one of my most satisfying wins,” said Maloney. “Just the story behind her and the way she did it makes it one to savour, for sure.

‘It hasn’t been the kindest carnival to me (with the fall on Isotope and Alligator Blood being disqualified). “Of course, the fall couldn’t have been in a Maiden at Ipswich. It had to be on one of the main races on one of the biggest days … but the connections copped it like good sports and moved on pretty quickly.

‘Isotope was great in the Autumn … and for her to come back after a career/life threatening injury and do what she did on Saturday is quite amazing.

“It probably was a blessing in disguise in a way … giving her that time … because she certainly strengthened up mentally and physically and you saw the result on Saturday.

“It was pretty much a demolition job. As soon as I asked her for an effort she quickened up and put paid to them very quickly.

“She has got an X-Factor about her. She is just a pit-bull.

“She is a very professional racehorse. She doesn’t like affection. If you try to give her a hug she will try to bite you. She just wants to get on with the job. She is very intelligent. She knows what her job is … and she knows how to do it well.

“What she is doing, of course, is also a credit to Tony (Gollan). It shows just how good a trainer he is. He certainly knows his horses.”

And the last work from the trainer?

“She’s so special to our stable and all the connections,” said Gollan. “You’ll see her in Sydney in the autumn, I can’t wait to take her away again.

“She can do anything in this next year.”

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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