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Jay and the pensioner get the chocolates

Jay Abernethy didn’t think his ‘pensioner squaregaiter’ Foxtrot Jack would ever walk again let alone line up in a C1-C3 Trot at Cambridge Raceway last Thursday night. The 13-year-old Chiola Hanover gelding had been off the scene for 15 months and it was a mighty training effort by Abernethy and owner Jackie Simons to even get a sulky back on him. “It’s been a long road back. He suffered a pelvic injury when he raced for us at Nelson in June last year. I knew there was something wrong because we finished a long last. “The injury might have been a hairline fracture but the vets couldn’t really diagnose the problem. “He was boxed for eight weeks in Blenheim and after Jackie jogged him up he went lame again. That was around Christmas time and it meant we lost another couple of months work with him,” Abernethy said. Foxtrot Jack had no workouts or trials going into his first race for 459 days yet he was still the $3.20 favourite in the seven horse field. “We just train him on the treadmill and like to keep him off the hard tracks as much as possible. It’s all about keeping him sound at his age. I thought he would have paid $8 or $10 but I guess he was a six-win horse taking on the three winners.” It was his eighth win in just 36 career starts since finishing fifth on debut for Richard Brosnan at Alexandra Park on December 12, 2008. “When I first got him I couldn’t get him to trot away. He’s much better now especially when he doesn’t have to stand alongside other horses. “I see his future in claiming races off a small handicaps at Cambridge and Manawatu meetings in fields of similar size to last week. That means he won’t have so many horses to go around,” Abernethy said. Foxtrot Jack is one of the last Chiola Hanovers racing. He is out of the six-win Yankee Reb mare, Rebel Shot.