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Prince of Prague: The story of a horse who hated wet tracks…or so we thought

June 21, 2011

As I’ve mentioned before, my stepdad used to own a couple of horses – he gave me the inspiration to get involved in horses. We were both in Royal Orchid, who has unfortunately been retired.

However, initially he was in two gallopers with Marc Conners at Warwick Farm, both who have now been sold.

STELLA COMMAND was a fantastic mare, so genuine and honest. She had 29 starts with Marc, winning five times and placing a further four times. She never ran a bad race.

I maintain that her best run was when she ran in a Class 6 at the Magic Millions meeting on the Gold Coast in January 2009.

She struck a very firm track, which was totally unsuitable, and she drew barrier 15 – at the Gold Coast, over 1200m, that’s almost the end of your chances.

But, despite being no closer than four wide the whole trip, she still fought on gamely to finish 7th, a mere 5.3L behind the winner.

And the winner wasn’t an ordinary horse – it was a three year old filly on the up, although she’s only reached her peak in the last week and a half!

It was Stradbroke third Zero Rock.

The owners were not breeders and it seemed easier to sell her to someone who may breed from her – hence she was sold in March last year.

Stella loved a wet track and it was no surprise to see her do well on Victoria’s rain affected tracks last winter for new trainer Luke Oliver.

That brings me to my stepdad’s other horse – PRINCE OF PRAGUE (have to say, he’s fantastically named, being by Beautiful Crown out of My Czech Chick).

A year younger than Stella, he was…well, he was an enigma.

He showed plenty of promise, so much so that he was given his chance in races like the Kindergarten Stakes and the Inglis Classic.

However, he seemed to be ungenuine. Even when he notched up his first win at Wyong, he seemed lucky to get there – as though he was in the right place at the right time.

The addition of blinkers made some difference but he still seemed to lack that killer blow.

He won three times for us – all three over the Wyong 1350m. I remember the third time he won, we went crazy in the yard because it was pretty unexpected.

However, he had his issues and he had become hard to place.

This was for one reason entirely – he seemed to hate wet tracks.

He was tried once on a heavy track – Easter Monday in 2009 at Randwick. For anyone who was there, they would remember that the deluge was so great that they almost had to abandon the meeting.

He was beaten turning for home and ran 13L last.

He was tried once more on a wet track and ran a disappointing 8th over his favourite course and distance (to that point) on a slow track.

The conclusion was made that he simply didn’t handle wet tracks.

When he lost all form, he was sold at the same Inglis sale as Stella Command.

He was bought for $8500 by Neil Godbolt on behalf of fellow trainer John Sprague.

He has since won close to $40000 for the new connections.

Of course, punters who would have looked at today’s Port Macquarie form will know that he is now generally regarded as a wet track specialist.

Since he moved up north, he has won two of his three starts on a slow track and two of his three starts on a heavy track.

His other run on a heavy track produced a third.

I can assure you, those of us who were associated with him in Sydney are gobsmacked to see him perform so well on wet tracks.

He’s aiming to build his good record on wet tracks in today’s Wauchope Cup (1518m), for which he is a $2.80 favourite.

Although we may not own him anymore, we still want to see him do well.

I’ll be cheering him home this afternoon.

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