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By Graham Potter | Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Eagle Farm, March 20, 2010.
Track - Good 3. Rail - True.
1MW Handicap - 1000m. Time: 56.95. (Carrying 53kg).
1 Growsir; 2 Mazuka; 3 Tonkatsu.

The Ray McCall trained Growsir produced a storming finish to rekindle memories of the earlier good times in his career as he went to the line 1.80 lengths clear of Mazuka, who just edged out the early front-runner Tonkatzu for second spot.

The latter had been strongly supported in the betting and she went out to try and lay down the law at the head of affairs. The mare gave her all in the straight, but Growsir, who tracked the speed, was always full of running and, when apprentice jockey Owen Turpin gave the five-year-old more rein, Growsir extended on cue to post a powerful victory which underlined his current well-being.

This was Growsir’s fourth start since resuming from a lengthy, eight month, virus enforced layoff which put his career under threat (see trainer winner feedback).

Growsir’s performances early in his career promised much. He won his first three starts (a Maiden, a Class 1 and then a jump to a Class 6) back in 2007 and looked to be a good horse in the making. But racing, including the on-going well-being of individual racehorses, remains unpredictable and Growsir’s campaign, instead of flourishing, stuttered along (there were two more wins, well spaced apart, along the way) before it came to a full stop eight months ago.

Growsir’s win on Saturday and the authoritative manner in which it was achieved stands as a credit to the McCall stable for their perseverance and the way they have brought the gelding back to this level of competitiveness.

Whether he can make up for lost time is up for debate.

His next run will tell us more.

Natalie Hole (spokesperson for the ray McCall stable): “He showed promise early. Then we had a bit of trouble with him. He didn’t come back into form when we brought him back in. We had all sorts of tests done on him to try to find the problem, and he ended up having fungus in his lungs.

“We had a lot of trouble and dramas trying to get him fixed. We didn’t know whether he would even race again. So he’s come back now. He looked beautiful ... and it’s just taken those couple of runs to get fit because he is a little bit older now.

“He’s always been able to gallop. We were just scratching our heads why he hadn’t come up right. So it was great that we found out what was wrong and good to know that he has still got all of his ability.”

Jockey Owen Turpin: “He is a difficult horse to ride. He always seems to want to get off the track there.

“He is a stubborn horse. You’ve just got to go with the punches with the horse and let him do what he wants to do. He’s got a mind of his own.”

Winner (Growsir): 7.00 out to 10.00.
Favourite (Tonkatsu): 3.80 in to 3.30. Finished third.

Mazuka (T. Bell) was held up when unable to obtain clear running in the straight until near 200m, where Mazuka shifted in abruptly in order to improve and brushed Borcha's Warrior (J. Stanley).

C. Munce, ride of Ullandulla, was questioned regarding the performance of that gelding.

He explained that Ullandulla was held up in the early part of the straight, however after securing clear running approaching the 300m, Ullandulla failed to respond to his riding from that point and proved disappointing.

When questioned regarding the performance of Borcha's Warrior, J. Stanley explained that after being briefly tightened for room near the 200m, the gelding failed to finish the race off as expected.

He added that, in his opinion, Borcha's Warrior may be better suited over 1200m where the gelding would be able to lead and dictate the speed of the race.

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