Thanks to the generosity of a leading breeder and the courage of a Rogano gelding, Josh Brown could complete a racing fairy-tale on Sunday.
Born and bred in the Goldfields, Brown is hoping to make a big impact in the $100,000 Coolgardie Cup (1760m) with comeback horse, Sandalwood.
Previously with revered trainer, Fred Kersley, Sandalwood’s racing career looked all but finished when he bowed a tendon over 18 months ago.
But after being patiently nursed back to full fitness, Brown believes Sandalwood has the ability to bounce back and give the Coolgardie Cup a big shot.
A modest buy from Neville Duncan’s Oakland Park Stud, Brown is optimistic Sandalwood can cause an upset and hand him his biggest racing coup.
“Neville called and asked if I wanted to buy Sandalwood after he bowed a tendon,” Brown told The Races WA.
“He obviously has a lot of horses to look after and thought I would have the time to try and recuperate him.
“When it came time to signing the papers we hadn’t spoken about a price and he said ‘what about a dollar’.
“It’s been a long and slow process to get him back, but it was definitely a cheap purchase.”
Brown is confident if Sandalwood can reproduce his best form he can overcome his more favoured rivals in the Coolgardie Cup.
He points to Sandalwood’s earlier wins over performed middle distance stayers, At The Ready, Couleur Bizarre and Prying Tom.
His confidence levels rose after Sandalwood ran fourth to Fair Sonari in last Sunday week’s Tattersalls Club Cup (1606m).
On the quick seven day turnaround from his first-up run after a long layoff, he was winding up and doing his best work late.
“It wasn’t ideal backing up and I knew that was going to be his flat run,” Brown said.
“He was doing his best work over the final 50 metres and is looking for more ground.
“He has improved and thrived off that run.”
Brown, a hobby trainer for just the past 12-months, will play a dual role in the Coolgardie Cup.
Aside from Sandalwood, Brown is part-owner of Barry’s Rabbit, a seven-year-old prepared by his father Rod Brown.
Barry’s Rabbit took Esperance by storm last season when he won four races and Leading Horse of the Year honours.
The son of Blackfriars had a perfect tune up for the Coolgardie Cup when a strong second in the Tattersalls Club Cup.
“We bought him for $4000 thinking he might be a good Norseman-Pingrup type of horse,” Brown said.
“12-months on he’s in a Coolgardie Cup.
“He has definitely exceeded expectations.”
Sandalwood carries 54kg in the Coolgardie Cup, 5kg less than his most recent run. He has drawn barrier five and will be ridden by Peter Knuckey.
Kyra Yuill retains the ride on Barry’s Rabbit and has been approved to ride him 1kg overweight (55kg).
Barry’s Rabbit will start from the second widest gate in the field of 16.