‘LIVIA DEGEROLSTEIN (2) sat behind the leader at Ballarat last start and didn’t finish too far from Bettor Give It, which followed a close up third to Justa Working Guy at Maryborough where she charged home along the pegs from an impossible position. She was a solid Geelong winner three back and draws to be an each way threat’.
Thus wrote an Australian tipster this morning …
It sounds nice, doesn’t it. Sounds just like the sort of horse one would like to own. Especially when one knows that the New Zealand-bred ‘Bettor Give It’ referred to is a filly who finished just behind the place-getters in Australia’s biggest two year-old race, the Breeders’ Crown, only last month.
Well, as all followers of this blog will know: we do own her, Wendy and I. And as a result, I was huddled over my computer this morning, listening to Radio Trackside, from the other side of the world.
Flashback two days. Scene: the Sissi restaurant. Paul and I taking our pre-concert supper. Paul has sort of become Livia’s European ‘godfather’, and the conversation turned to the forthcoming race. ‘She will come second’, he declared, with the air of a Cassandra. Strange: I had exactly the same unreasoning gut feeling.
The tipsters and the punters (7/1) thought she should come third. First was, barring accidents, out of the question, as the odds-on favourite was another Kiwi-bred horse, ‘It’s Dutch Courage’, which had run past Livia (which not many do) to pinch third in the ‘Bettor Give It’ race, and which had drawn the favoured number one slot at the start.
‘It’s Dutch Courage’ duly shot to the lead from the mobile gate and, as no-one was game to take her on, led the field through the first half of the race at a leisurely pace. Livia bided her time, nicely placed by driver Gavin Lang, in the one-one. With half a mile to go, the leader hotted up the pace noticeably and, as the horse in front of Livia began to weaken, Gavin was obliged – a little sooner than perhaps wished – to come off her back and steer three wide round the final turn. Into the straight, and the favourite was off and gone, but Livia – out in the middle of the track -- was coming with her usual stout finish, and although she only momentarily looked as if she might get close to the hotpot, she ran out her race nicely and – three lengths back -- held off the fast-finishing second favourite until the post.
Second! Maybe Paul and I should take up jobs as tipsters! Or Trojan oracles.
It is just five months since Livia first stepped on to a race-track and she has now run twelve times, for a win, a second, two thirds and four fourths (434475741352). Not against the very best, but not far behind horses like ‘Bettor Give It’ and ‘Dream Vacation’ who were capable, last month, of qualifying for the Crown final. Today, too, after that slow first half, the fillies ran home their last half in the neat time (for just-turned-three-year-olds) of 57.8 secs. So, even if she does not seem to have high speed, little Livia is no slouch.
It is going to be interesting, over the coming months, to see just how good ‘Bettor Give It’ and ‘It’s Dutch Courage’ turn out to be. Not to mention, of course, Livia. Who I would be interested to see running in a race where the pace is hot. And whom I am very, very glad that we own!