Jockey Kayla Cross sums it up best: ‘He’s a fighter and doesn’t come second.’
Cross refers to Jelani Express, a six-year-old, who has thrived in his new environment in Broome.
After just one win from his first 21 starts in Perth, Jelani Express, like many horses before him, has found a new lease of life on the dirt track.
Now under the direction of Darryn Pateman, the son of Henny Hughes holds dazzling form and has yet to suffer a loss in Broome this year.
Since taking out his first Broome race by a whopping nine lengths, Jelani Express has a put together a hot streak of six straight victories.
Jelani Express’ next target and his biggest test to date will happen in the $50,000 Tabtouch-Broome Sprint (1300m) on Wednesday.
Cross, who has been Jelani Express’ constant companion this campaign, said she is confident the gelding can keep is unbeaten Broome record intact.
“He is going really well and is ready to go,” Cross told The Races WA.
“I’m trying not to get to excited because you can over complicate things.
“But I’m sure he will put his best foot forward.”
Jelani Express is the $2.40 Tabtouch favourite, easing from his opening quote of $2.10. From barrier five, the on pace runner should be in a prominent position.
“He doesn’t jump that quick, but once he hits the ground he musters speed,” Cross said.
“If something wants to go silly in front he can sit off them.
“He doesn’t have to lead.”
Pateman, chasing his fourth Broome Sprint, says Roger The Roman has the class edge and is the one horse he fears most, despite conceding Jelani Express a big weight advantage.
Jelani Express carries 55.5kg and Roger The Roman 63kg, a 7.5kg rise on his last-start second to Captain Punch in the Palmerston Sprint (1200m) in Darwin on August 3.
The eight-year-old, to be ridden by big race specialist Peter Hall, is the second favourite, firming from $5 to $4.
“He will be the hardest to beat, but Jelani Express carries the lightest weight since his first Broome run” Pateman said.
“He is going as good as ever, is fit and well and absolutely loves the joint.”
Jelani Express will be joined by Well Spoken Man to give Pateman two of the 11 Broome Sprint runners.
“Well Spoken Man is going real well, but has a sticky draw (9) and will find it hard to beat his stable mate,” Pateman said.
Pateman, a regular visitor to Broome for the past decade, won the Broome Sprint with Cognac Bay (2009) and Liquidation (2011-14).