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  • Provincial Racing NSW


HE carries the name of Iron Man, but Edward O’Rourke preferred to keep him in “cotton wool” and wait for another day.

Understandably given the fact it has been a lengthy process to get the lightly-raced and talented four-year-old fit again and back in winning form, the Hawkesbury trainer wasn’t going to risk him on heavy ground at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Following a successful return at Canterbury on June 19, Iron Man was withdrawn from the Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1200m), for which he was second favorite.

“Even though he won his Maiden as a three-year-old on a heavy track at Kembla Grange in April last year, his form flattened out after that,” O’Rourke said on Sunday.

“Now that we’ve got him back and in good form and he has taken nice improvement from his first-up win, I just wasn’t prepared to risk him at Randwick.

“It was a Heavy 9 in the morning when I scratched him 15 minutes before the 7.30am deadline.”

O’Rourke had hopes of Iron Man, who is the last foal of his now deceased dam, the Sequalo mare Sequential Charm (who won the 2007 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm, emulating her in Brisbane last winter.

But he wasn’t mature enough at the time, and it was discovered after he finished sixth in a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens in late September that his vocal chords were collapsing.

Iron Man’s breathing capacity was only 30 per cent, and he underwent surgery to rectify the problem and was given a lengthy spell.

O’Rourke now plans to trial the gelding over 900m at Rosehill on Tuesday morning, and is hoping for improving weather conditions so that he can race him again at that track on Saturday week (July 20).

He will nominate Iron Man for both a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1200m) against his own sex and Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1300m) before making a decision which race to contest.

Stablemate Barellan Bandit is a likely Royal Randwick runner on Saturday in a Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m).

O’Rourke took the seven-year-old to Gunnedah last Monday where he ran third with 61kg over 1400m at only his second run back after a lengthy spell.

“He ran well with the big weight, and will definitely be fitter for that run,” O’Rourke said.

Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup is undecided whether to nominate his smart four-year-old Jedibeel for Wednesday week’s $200,000 Ramornie Handicap (1200m) at Grafton.

Jedibeel maintained his consistent form when runner-up to One Destiny, conceding him 6kg, in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m) at the weekend Randwick meeting.

“They’re both four-year-olds, and the winner has had 30 more starts than our horse,” Widdup said.

“Jedibeel ran great again, but I’m not sure about the Grafton race.

“There are suitable races for him at Rosehill Gardens on July 20, and also at Randwick a week later.

“There’s every chance we will wait for one of those.”

Story John Curtis, July 7, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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