There won’t be a dry eye in the house this Thursday night if Ride The Rails can salute in the Group One Hobart Thousand final.
Trained by Kelly Bravo, Ride The Rails is owned by Nadine Brown, the wife of popular trainer Darren Brown, who lost his father Peter in October. Darren Brown trained Ride The Rails until only recently, transferring him to Bravo after his father’s sad passing.
At his Hobart debut last week, Ride The Rails was ultra impressive, weaving his way through the field and drawing clear to salute in a handy 26.05. The victory booked his start in this week’s $75,000-to-the-winner final and was his 17th career win at start 48.
Brown said he was happy with Ride The Rails’ performance and was thankful for what Kelly and Brett Bravo had done with him.
“It was his first look at the track so he went well,” he said.
“I am very happy with how he is going and I appreciate everything Kelly and Brett have done, they took over training the dogs after my father passed away.
“Dad and I did everything together, every day. I learned a lot from him and I will never stop learning, that is something he always told me. He used to say, ‘eyes and ears open, mouth shut’, and, ‘you will never get into trouble for asking questions’.”
Impressively, Ride The Rails’ Hobart Thousand heat win was just his second start since fracturing a hock. At his first race back from injury under the care of Bravo he clocked a sizzling 29.23 at Sandown Park.
Brown is elated just to have made the final.
“It is a big thrill, especially with him coming back from a broken hock,” he said.
“It is a credit to Brett and Kelly for what they have done to get him back, he has come back as good as gold, and to Alistair Smith who did the operation at Sandown.”
The 34-kilogram sprinter is an October 2011 son of Cosmic Chief and Pearl Napoleon. Darren and Peter Brown raced his sire, a winner of the Sandown Shootout and Warrnambool Classic, before purchasing Ride The Rails as a pup.
“We bought him out of the TABform off Peter Stanford,” Brown said. ”They were in the paper for three or four weeks and no one wanted to buy them, there was three left in the litter for sale so we bought the three of them.
“We knew as soon as he broke in that he was going to be good. They have got to be able to run our times and he did that.”
A win in the Hobart Thousand would capture the elusive Group One victory that the Browns were not able to land with Cosmic Chief and simultaneously give that dog his first Group win as a sire.
Although Ride The Rails faces a tough task against quality sprinters such as Melbourne Cup winner Dyna Villa, Brown said he was drawn where he needed to be in the seven.
“Dyna Villa goes well but he [Ride The Rails] is where he wants to be, I would rather be out there than be in the squeeze box and he has enough pace to match it with them if he jumps,” he said.
“Once we put him in the boxes there is nothing else we can do for him, it is up in the lap of the gods when the lids open. Any of the eight dogs could win the race.”
And Brown summed up what it would mean to win Tassie’s most prestigious event in just one word:
He added: “It would give a happy end to what has been a sad year for the family. It could never bring back the old man, but it would just be good to win the race.”