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By Graham Potter | Friday, October 27, 2023

The addition of blinkers and a step up in distance did the trick for the David Vandyke trained, four-year-old gelding Never Give Up who hit the line with a vengeance to claim a Class 1 Handicap win over 1400m at the Sunshine Coast on October 27 … his second career victory.

Never Give Up had won on debut back in March 2023. He then had one more run in which he finished unplaced before being sent to the paddock, only resuming five-and-a-half months later.

His first two runs in this latest preparation produced a fourth and a fifth placed finish … both at long odds ($26 and $12), but the anticipated greater level of fitness gathered from having those two starts … as well the blinkers and increased distance factors … suggested a more forward showing would be forthcoming here.

This time the starting price would be $5 as the third favourite behind Better Yet who topped the betting boards at $3.70.

Jumping from barrier eight, Jimmy Orman was happy to allow the speed to go early and he settled Never Give Up in midfield dropping as much as just under six lengths off the leader as the field went down the back stretch … racing three lengths off the main fancy Better Yet.

Four wide on straightening, Never Give Up was still four lengths adrift with no less than six horses still ahead of him and, when the race started to go on in earnest, three of those kicked on strongly with Never Give Up also starting to go through his gears.

Coming through the 200m mark, Never Give Up had moved to within two lengths of Better Yet, who had hit the front but was working hard at that stage to try and fight off the serious challenge of the $8.50 chance Ultimate Outcome,

There would be no let-up with these three runners between the 200m and the 100m marks where they all charged home strongly … but, just inside the 100m, Ultimate Outcome weakened marginally … just enough to allow the battle over the concluding stages to become a spirited two way contest between Better Yet and Never Give Up with the latter digging deep late to score by a very narrow margin.

In the end, it was an inch perfect result with Orman’s expertise in the saddle and Never Give up’s willingness to be up for the fight contributing in equal parts to the son of Heroic Valour’s second win from only five career starts.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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