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By Graham Potter | Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Not given a place in the original field (he was an emergency acceptor), not particularly wanted in the betting when he did get into the race (he started at $10) ... and, not to mention being asked to jump from the worst of the draw ... well, all of those aspects proved to be just minor inconveniences for the Peter and Will Hulbert trained Kipling’s Journey who took out a BM70 Handicap over 1700m at the Gold Coast on November 30 by a clearcut 2.50 length margin.

The four-year-old son of Zoustar was racing second-up here and he clearly showed he had come on well since his first-up run two weeks earlier. On that occasion, which was Kipling’s Journey’s first taste of race action for five months, Kipling’s Journey had finished unplaced over the 1350m trip.

Now, up to a more preferred distance (Kipling’s Journey had, in fact, won up to 2040m) and with Mark Du Plessis taking the race ride for the fourth successive time (Du Plessis also rode him in his two trails in-between preparations) ... Kipling’s Journey and a jockey who knows him well were ready to show their worth.

Taken back from the draw by Du Plessis, Kipling’s Journey raced in last place, some six lengths off the lead as the field went down the back straight.

Du Plessis was happy to bide his time and hold his position there until halfway through the sweep to the home turn where he started to urge Kipling’s Journey forward in measured fashion.

He had work to do though and, now racing four wide, Du Plessis did have to get more active in the saddle approaching the home turn to ensure that Kipling’s Journey continued to build momentum, which he did to good effect to corner in fourth spot, now just three lengths back and angling even wider to take up at the clear run that was presenting itself down the centre of the track.

Early in the straight it was still a contest ... in fact at the 200m mark there were four runners spread across the track in the leading line ... but, inside the final 150m, Kipling’s Journey found another gear and none of his rivals could go with him over the concluding stages where he went on to score in decisive fashion.

Kipling’s Journey, who has won from 1350m to 2040m and has won on both good and soft going. is now a three-time winner from twelve starts, with Du Plessis having partnered him to two of those wins.

This was the second successive winner that Du Plessis has ridden for the Hulbert Training Partnership following their success with Hail Manhattan in the $150 000 Mooloolaba Cup on November 19. Hail Manhattan also won at double figure odds, a tasty $31.

In fact, if you are looking for a value jockey to follow, Du Plessis’s last three winners have saluted at odds of R21, $31 and $11.

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Kipling's Journey
Kipling's Journey
Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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